Last weekend, I had the pleasure of travelling to Cologne (Germany) for the Kind und Jugend trade show. This is probably the largest trade show for the nursery/early years sector in the world, with 850 exhibitors from Europe and beyond.

Some British businesses in the sector have made it to Latin America. For example, Natures Purest are expanding into Brazil and Chile. Mothercare are due to open stores in Colombia and Panama.

What are the advantages of British brands in Latin America? I would sum up it up in two words: quality and service. British businesses in the sector moving into Latin America tend to be already experienced in other export markets, and can apply what they have learnt to these new markets.

It was interesting to see how different businesses at the show played on their Britishness in different ways. For example, Babymel London had some very cute pictures of London buses around the stall, and Storsak had Union Jack cushions and even an afternoon tea set. Other brands like The Gro Company or Bababing, although emphasising the company’s British design and credentials, were not visually promoting their Britishness that intensely.

I personally found all the British stallholders very knowledgeable, polite, helpful and clearly happy to be there. The actual products were of amazing quality and beautifully presented. Most of them had a contagious enthusiasm and pride for what they were doing. The great majority did not speak another language, which can be a disadvantage. For example, a stallholder exhibiting some beautiful baby and children’s clothes was telling me that a Spanish-speaking distributor had come to see them but the managing director didn’t speak English, and they were not happy with the work of the translator hired for the conversation – she thought it was clearly a missed opportunity. This is strikingly different from similar-size European stores, where one or two members of staff can easily speak combined anything between 3 and 8 languages.

So it sounds like British businesses in the nursery sector have huge potential in Latin America – so why are not more of them there already?

We will explore the main obstacles businesses in this sector face when expanding into Latin America in our next blog post – so keep coming back! You can also follow us on twitter @UKLatinAmerica and facebook @sunnyskysolutions – we will send an alert when the new blog post is out.