A pioneering Lancashire business is all set to go global – after establishing a distribution deal in South America.
Wrea Green-based ArthroVite Ltd, manufacturer of collagen supplements for the health and beauty industry, has opened up a trading base in Ecuador and is also hopeful of extending into Chile. “It is a very exciting development for us,” said Keith Allum, managing director at ArthroVite. “We have supplied products – particularly those related to arthritis and mobility issues – to many overseas customers down the years, but this represents our first international distribution deal.”
The company has given Pablo Ponce Hermann the license to be its Ecuadorian distributor and orders are already being processed.
“The signs are certainly promising and Pablo is confident that he can not only establish a flourishing agency in Ecuador but also spread into Chile.”
Pablo, 56, who lives in Ibarra, owns an import company and first became aware of Collagen Plus – ArthroVite’s best-selling product – 15 years ago when his wife’s grandfather Manuel experienced serious walking problems. “Manuel suffered from a severe arthrosis in his knees. Doctors recommended a knee replacement operation, but because of his age (78 at the time) he decided against it. “We had an English friend, David Bayne, who was a distributor of ArthroVite products in Dorset and he suggested trying Collagen Plus. The response was amazing, the knee problems eased almost immediately and for 10 years up to his death Manuel regained 100% mobility.
“We had other family members taking Collagen Plus too, but a couple of years ago we experienced difficulties when the postal system was unable to clear imports and the Customs people imposed a 75% tax. We tried all manner of options, including going via Miami, but the only answer was for us to set up our own import business.
“We contacted Keith (Allum) and met up in London. Keith was so welcoming and encouraging and he offered us the license for Ecuador distribution of ArthroVite products. He provided the documentation required by the Ecuadorian government to legalise importation and we have since worked successfully to satisfy the Ecuadorian health ministry’s requirements for the importation of foreign products. This process generally takes up to a year but we were able to obtain the required documents in record time – three months!”
Pablo believes Collagen Plus will make great strides in Ecuador and is embarking on a major marketing initiative to spread the word. “An assessment of similar products here concluded that Collagen Plus is the most complete nutritional supplement available. The high concentration of active ingredients and its purity make Collagen Plus a vastly superior product. We now have our own sales team and sub-distributors located throughout Ecuador and have printed brochures displayed in medical surgeries and physiotherapy centres.”
ArthroVite was responsible for introducing collagen – the most abundant protein found in the human body – to the UK back in 1995. The company is renowned for pure collagen products which help to relieve joint pain, but it also recently expanded into the beauty market.
“Taking a collagen supplement assists with mobility issues and that’s a well-known fact, but it can also enhance skin, hair and nails and general well-being,” added Keith. “We have come a long way over the past 25 years and are always looking to develop, both in distribution and product range. To get this opportunity in Ecuador is a real chance to grow the business overseas. Chile could be next … so who knows where else it might lead?”