An Interview with Stuart Facey – International Trade Advisor

We caught up with Steve Rapley, an International Trade Advisor here at Newable who worked with 3D Life Prints to get exporting to the Middle East.

Hi Stuart – could you tell us what an ITA is and what you do?

I am an International Trade Advisor, in the Department for International Trade London Food & Drink, consumer retail team. An ITA is a person whose role is to help companies become successful internationally. They help companies to export by saving them time, minimising costs and maximising export opportunities whilst remaining impartial. It can be an advantage to have prior export experience and be able to work collaboratively with a wide range of personalities and cultures

I work with a number of diverse companies within the 33 London boroughs who are can be manufacturers and or retailers of consumer products and services across my specialist sectors. This entails working with household names such as Birds Eye, Unilever, foods through to new unknown start-up companies. My role is to help London-based companies in this sector access export support, opportunities and expert advice through the Department for International Trade network and translate this into export wins for the client’s business and the UK economy.

This could be helping to identify export readiness of a business, conducting market research, identifying which export markets to target, identifying contacts in their export markets via our commercial colleagues overseas. In other cases, companies need helping to register their trademark or patent, raising finance to develop their capacity, an understanding of cultural aspects when entering a new market. Importantly we advise companies on export documentation, highlighting overseas business opportunities, how to ensure they are paid and supporting companies when visiting an international market, either individually or through a trade mission

What is the relationship with Newable?

The Department for International Trade work around the UK with delivery partners and Newable is the DP for London and the South East. The advisors employed by Newable are experienced business people and this is of great benefit to our clients as London cover seven different business sectors which is unique in the UK.

How did you start working with Little Sports Star?

It is almost 2 years since I met with Nick Farnsworth, the founder and director of Little Sport Star. He had struck upon the idea of sports themed soft toys when his first child was born. With his wife a doctor and his job in danger of redundancy, they decided Nick should stay at home. Not wanting to stop working Nick decided to combine his love of Sports and his new born child to invent a sports themed toy for his kid, a decision which spurred him to become a ‘Dadpreneur’, a stay at home Dad and entrepreneur!  His story and his export journey impressed me greatly and however he was in need of funds to visit the New York Toy Fair in February 2016 and was looking for support to travel. He then signed a licensing agreement with the Preferred Partners company to distribute his products in the US, Canada, Germany and other territories. He has since focused on the brand development side of the company and looking for Distributor/Licensing routes to market.

What did you do to help Little Sports Star?

We provided ‘matched funding ‘to enable Nick and Little Sport Star attend a prestigious Toy Fair in New York and put his products in front of very influential figures in the trade. We have also provided Nick with advice to enable him to consider China and India as follow up markets to the USA via our partners China British Business Council as well as UK India British Council. As Little Sport Star is growing rapidly in the USA across Babies R US, Barnes & Noble and Walmart and recently Nick has requested for additional support with referrals to US based Intellectual property lawyers.

Little Sport Star being started as a start-up 6 years ago and getting the brand known is a continuing challenge. To help Nick with this task I have encouraged him to tell his story via case study to the Department for International Trade and more recently via Newable to be then diffused on their respective social media channels, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Being able to help people realise their ambitions to export using the international network of the Department for International Trade alongside my knowledge and experience.

How can I work with you?

International Trade Advisors give their impartial advice mostly free of charge (unless where specified) and are available through enquiry using our website or by contacting Newable directly by emailing