Business ideas for 2013: Premium products

Don’t be fooled into thinking a triple dip recession will put an end to all expensive outlays. High quality products or services will remain in-demand this year

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The UK’s ponderous economic performance is extremely old news. First recessionary indicators appeared at the tail end of 2007 and in the last quarter of 2012 growth weighed in at minus 0.3%, according to first estimates by government geeks.

This pervading malaise has been peppered lightly with good news, but not enough to give even the most hopeful government ministers an opportunity to talk optimistically about the future. Meanwhile, the pessimists (or realists?) talk about a ‘lost generation’.

But wait: 20 years of slow growth is a form of stability, which gives people in business scope to predict trends and plan ahead with an element of certainty. And before you hare off to launch a pound shop, one word of caution: ‘cheap’ is not necessarily the new normal.

Among the high profile corporate collapses of the last 12 months were many that catered to price-conscious customers. Meanwhile demand for luxury goods remains relatively strong, with global brands Burberry, Tiffany and Ralph Lauren all posting big profits recently.

In the slightly smaller business space Tyrrells Crisps is looking to build on a record year. The premium crisps brand, which recently expanded into popcorn and other snacks, saw demand for British produce overseas rise considerably,

The company recorded growth of 43% for the last financial year and is predicting that 50% of its sales will be from overseas markets after signing a major distribution deal in the US.

And in Oldham, 120-year-old The English Mattress Company has launched its first new business in its history, producing branded and made-to-measure luxury mattresses for direct sale online for a global audience. ‘Made in Britain’ still means a great deal.

Furthermore, you only have to look at how the horse-for-beef scandal sent sales of organic meat rocketing. And in fashion there’s Honest By, the Belgian company claiming to be the first in the world with 100% transparency about where every element of every garment is sourced.

Customers can access all the information on the background of every fabric, button or belt clip. So, true craftsmen and women or those with an idea for how to cater for expensive tastes, this could be your year.

Published Mar 2013

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