Popov Leather

What started out as hobby for Ryan Popoff quickly grew into a successful business selling bespoke leather goods online. Demand for his quality handcrafted products was high and before he knew it, his company had 12 full-time employees and his sales showed no signs of stopping. Based out of Nelson, B.C., Ryan attributes a great deal of his success to his participation in Export Navigator.

“My advisor Michael Hoher was tremendously helpful. Not only did he provide a wealth of information, resources, and contacts, but he really took the time to understand my business,” says Ryan. “Having access to such a high-caliber and knowledgeable person has been invaluable to Popov Leather’s continued success and my own personal growth as a leader.”

Overcoming obstacles

With 85% of their sales exported out of Canada, understanding regulations for selling to another country can be complicated and have serious impacts if not done properly. Fortunately for Ryan, his Export Navigator Advisor helped him not only avoid these potential pitfalls but also think about how they could benefit his business.

“Michael helped direct me towards areas of focus that I would not have realized, such as taking into consideration cultural differences when approaching distant markets or foreign market requirements for importing goods, such as labeling,” says Ryan.

That guidance has helped Popov Leather continue to grow its presence in foreign markets.

Making connections

it’s rare to work with an advisor who is genuinely interested in your success and works hard to motivate your efforts

Knowing who to talk to and how to access the right opportunities can be one of the most challenging aspects of exporting. It’s also one of the main ways an experienced advisor with industry knowledge can help. Export Navigator introduced Ryan to a number of essential contacts, including potential lenders and manufacturing experts.

“In the e-commerce industry, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to work with other advisors and experts and it’s rare to work with an advisor who is genuinely interested in your success and works hard to motivate your efforts,” says Ryan.

Having a system of support is essential to any business owner’s success. For this very reason, Export Navigator brought together clients in the manufacturing sector in the Kootenays to connect with one another.

“I now have a resource of other business owners with companies of similar size and growth to connect with,” says Ryan. “A lot of business challenges are similar despite how different our products are, so finding common ground and an opportunity to connect was invaluable.”

Finding new opportunities

Ryan has no doubt that the support and advice he received and the contacts he made through Export Navigator have had a direct impact on his company’s revenue. Popov Leather’s most recent fiscal quarter shows a net profit growth of 170% year-over-year – a dramatic increase.

As international demand grows for its products, Popov Leather has already broken $1 million in sales for 2019-2020. To keep up with demand the company added two new full-time employees to its operations.

“Our business goals are to remain profitable, but not at the expense of product quality or customer experience. Export Navigator has helped us balance these goals through industry connections and advice backed by years of high-level manufacturing experience,” says Ryan. “I would absolutely recommend Export Navigator to other businesses.” 

Learn more about Popov Leather at popovleather.com.

Michael Hoher is an Export Navigator advisor specializing in businesses looking to export outside of B.C
Export Advisor

Michael Hoher