Paper maker James Cropper already makes products for customers all over the world.

However, the company - which is based in Burneside, near Kendal - is in the process of growing its global reach even further as brands increasingly look to use paper to replace plastic.

In November, Tricia Hartmann joined the company as its first global luxury packaging lead for speciality papers.

Before taking up the role, she previously spent 10 years driving business development in luxury packaging across Europe and Asia for Arjowiggins Creative Papers.

As well as producing paper for use in luxury packaging, James Cropper Plc also makes Colourform moulded paper packaging.

Its Technical Fibre Products arm also makes highly specified non-paper materials for use in a wide range of sectors and applications.

Tricia’s work will include further promoting James Cropper’s Tailor Made service, which colour matches papers to meet brands’ specific needs, with a focus on using sustainable fibres and incorporating features such as embossing, varnishing and laminating.

Richard Bracewell, the company’s marketing and technical director, said Tricia’s job would involve building relationships with global brands to sit alongside those it already has with the likes of Burberry and crystal maker Swarovski.

“We are definitely a global business and at group level about 60 per cent of our business is overseas,” he said.

“We export to about 55 countries and we have had people working overseas on the sales side for a long time.”

One of the biggest growth opportunities globally was in packaging, he said, especially as brands were increasingly looking for alternative materials to plastic.

Tricia will be based in France, but will travel to work with the heads of brands all over the world.

“In the premium packaging business, some of the key decision makers are based in cities like Paris, Milan and London,” said Richard.

“The luxury goods market is growing significantly at about six per cent per year.

“A lot of those brands are looking at their packaging and looking to move to more sustainable materials. We have been growing in this area for a number of years and we recognise the opportunity to grow faster. We have an ambition to be very much the best paper maker in the world, that is our clear vision.”

James Cropper currently has a total of around 100 people working overseas, with many of them working at Technical Fibre Products’ manufacturing facility in the United States, while six work in sales.

“We are still a relatively small paper mill in terms of overall volumes,” said Richard.

“But we would be looking to deal with top premium brands all over the world and expand our share in this area. Tricia has people reporting to her from a number of different countries.” We are opening up a lot of new opportunities. These projects can take a lot of years, but we are definitely seeing very good progression. Tricia brings an awful lot of experience and contacts.”