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Manufacturer presented with Queen's Award

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 25, 2012

Lord Lieutenant of Devon Eric Dancer, presents the Queen's Award for International Trade to Vi-Spring managing director Mike Meehan

Lord Lieutenant of Devon Eric Dancer, presents the Queen's Award for International Trade to Vi-Spring managing director Mike Meehan

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The Lord Lieutenant of Devon Eric Dancer visited the Ernsettle base of Plymouth manufacturer V-Spring yesterday, to present staff with the Queen's Award for Enterprise in International Trade.

Vi-Spring hand-makes 500 luxury divans and mattresses every week and has seen its overseas sales increase by 64 per cent since 2008, with overseas sales accounting for a third of its £35 million turnover in 2011.

"The export market is creating real value and real jobs," said managing director Mike Meehan.

He said that the company had been bolstered through the downturn through its focus on a core clientele of select retailers, serving customers seeking products with "integrity," adding: "Buying habits have changed, but people are willing to spend, if they see the right thing.

"We believe that key to our ongoing success is our determination to avoid mass-production techniques."

The company – which is privately owned by a Spanish family – relocated to the Westcountry in the early 1970's where it employs 193 staff.

Hand-made from natural fibres and pocket-sprung – a method which the company pioneered – its beds retail from between £2,000 and £30,000, with celebrity clients including the Beckhams, Paris Hilton and Tom Daley.

Vi-Spring has established a market in mainland Europe and also building upon its distributor leads established in North America over the past three years. Earlier this year, it appointed a 'country manager' in Beijing, with a focus on establishing strong leads into the city and also Shanghai and Hong Kong; the three cities that account for the highest consumer spend in China.

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