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Reply To: When markets closed we where deep in negotiations to bring investors into our business we are a Natural Skin Care and Fragrance business. As of today one has pulled back as their market was Asia and the other is in wait and see what happens mode having verbally agreed in January to commit.I am going to be brutally honest. It had been a hard year before I swallowed my pride and went back to working the night markets around Auckland in November. This swallowing of pride was at the encouragement of good friends and that my wife is due to have our first baby in early June and I needed to do something other than do what was failing which was work online with no budget.We had always had the framework to build a solid business but never the fuel in the engine to get it to where it needed to be and had good interest from industry leading business to work with us before they sold.Before the shutdown of events and markets started happening in March we were starting to make progress and were feeling confident with what 2020 was presenting for us both domestically and internationally. Post lockdown we have driven off a cliff with 2 or 3 sales. We got consent to sell some not all of our products as essential service last Thursday but have been nervous to start marketing due to negative reactions we have seen with other companies in the same category.In the last 3 weeks pivoted to an area I have good knowledge and expertise in the food sector and have seen building demand domestically and internationally for specific Ketogenic  products and both me and our business partner have significantly more experience and ability to execute at scale. We started working on this 18 months ago while my biz partner was living in the USA running another Ketogenic food business he owns there. The food sector is where I cut my business teeth first bringing Virgin Coconut Oil into New Zealand in 2012 from Papua New Guinea.I have two questions 1. How do we communicate we are open as an essential business with out blowing a hole in the side of our business by looking opportunistic. We sell toiletries and skincare so fit with in category. We have limited runway with Govt wage subsidy barley touching the sides though we are grateful for it  no end and my wife starting maternity leave from her job mid May. Her wage pays our rent and keeps our lights on.2.Is it worth it or should we use the opportunity to pivot into a sector we know has fast growth , low to no cost of entry due to existing market relationships and demand and come back pick up the pieces when we have the capital to fund the growth. Or can we run both concurrently? 

Thank you for your response Brianna,

It is very helpful it has really helped to confirm my gut feeling on what we should be doing and have been endeavouring to undertake. We have a small announcement banner on our website saying we are open but have resisted making announcements on social. We have been posting light and informative info on our social platform as we did not want to come across as you have stated out of touch. My wife is doing video blogs that have taken a little longer to get up and using Instagram stories of training and working at home.

Yes, I 100% agree skincare is an incredibly saturated market as we have learnt the hard way after coming out of the blocks hard we foundered due to the ability to support growth. In regards to doing both businesses, I have always been more comfortable in the food sector the beauty space is my wife’s expertise as a trained music teacher, makeup artist and performer. We partnered with good friend and business partner James Ehau who already had the fragrances and another food business who we were working within our wholesale of Virgin Coconut oil and Spices of Papua New Guinea. For the last three years, my wife Rebekah and I have been running Native Rituals on our own back here while continuing to support James and his Keto business in the USA with content creation when has needed it.

The jump into retail or B2C food is one we have long wanted to do but had been unable to as would have stood on the toes of retail partners we where supplying wholesale to. This is now no longer an issue as we pulled back from wholesale supply 12 months ago.

Our original drive into business was two-pronged one was to support Rebekah’s whanau on Misima Island in Papua New Guinea in bringing their agricultural product to market changing the perception of the country through food and to help the fight against type 2 diabetes within Aotearoa a preventable disease that has had a direct impact on my whanau with my Papa dying from diabetes complications in 1981 and a number of my whanau who have it and battle daily with this preventable disease today. The aim was at the start and still is to help reshape the NZ food sector and dietary guidelines so they are not operating from a harmful basis.

I think we can build the digital side of Native Rituals and the new Keto food biz giving us a chance to in some ways reshape our narrative for the new world that will emerge on the other side of Lockdown. Thank you for your reassuring advise. Appreciate your time and consideration