A Midlands textile designer, who creates retro-style aprons using her own hand-drawn fabric designs, is cooking up the next stage of growth after her initial export success. Gaena Martin, who launched The SundayGirl Company with her partner from her Kidderminster home nearly three years ago, is also set to launch her own dress collection after the retail success of her kitsch 1950s-style aprons.

The textile designer has worked with the Department for International Trade (DIT) team in Worcestershire for more than two years to develop contacts overseas, learn about exporting, set up her website for international sales and to source distributors.

Now with 40 per cent of The SundayGirl Company sales going overseas – mainly through her website to individual customers but also via stockists in Europe and a distributor in New Zealand – Gaena is stepping up her strategic plans for growth both at home and abroad.

She said: “We’ve been working very closely with the DIT team and their help has been invaluable to us. It has given us the confidence to keep going and to think big.

“The business is doing well, and while we sell to individuals all over the world, we are now in a fantastic position to step up our plans and work with distributors so that we can sell our goods in more overseas stores.

“We are also well ahead with our plans to launch a dress collection, with our own unique hand-drawn fabric prints, in the first half of next year, which is an exciting development for us. We always had plans to diversify but when customers started asking us to design dresses, we knew it was something we had to do.”

Gaena plans to use the same mill in Pakistan that produces the high quality cotton drill from its raw state, and who then screenprints it and makes the aprons to her exacting specification for her dress fabric. The SundayGirl Company is also hoping to move its business to a warehouse early next year to cope with the increasing demand for their designs.

Christine Hamilton, interim regional director of the Department for International Trade West Midlands, said Gaena’s example proved that even microbusinesses can achieve global success.

She said: “The Exporting is GREAT campaign is helping to encourages all businesses to be ambitious and grow their brands both at home and overseas. We work with businesses of all sizes, helping them to achieve their dreams of selling their goods and services abroad. There is a huge demand for British goods and The SundayGirl Company demonstrates that even the smallest of entrepreneurial enterprises can set their sights high.”