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Reply To: Hi there,We are a small bespoke manufacturing business in the Bay or Islands that make quality wooden children’s furniture primarily for the Early Childhood sector but also primary schools and private homes.Our products have always been in the higher price bracket due to them being made well, with care with good quality materials.  Thankfully our products are known and loved but those that have purchased them but we have found gaining new business slow, especially tapping into the new build market for ECE centres to do full fit outs.We are in really competitive market and have found business a struggle even before Covid-19.  Now we are more concerned that the education sector, especially the many privately owned businesses, will be very stretched financially and that choosing NZ made quality products will be a hard choice over other needs in the business.  We would be very grateful to hear any advice, business strategies to keep up interest, promoting sales and generally how keep our business afloat in these tough times.Many thanks,SianHebe Natural Children’s Furniture(09) 4025020   info@hebe.kiwi.nz    hebe.kiwi.nz

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Thanks for your reply John!
We have trouble with converting sales at times to be honest, I do usually ask if I can for feedback and it is often down to pricing. There are competitors that are cheaper and are a much lesser quality but the sector is feeling the pinch, even before covid-19. We do push that a quality item is better economically in the long run but understand this isn’t always a viable option in the now for businesses.
Freight around NZ is a killer also which makes it often uneconomical for people interested in the South Islands where we are in the Far North.
Also finding information about new builds at the right time is difficult for us. There are paid subscriptions for this information but we often found the information out of date or lacking proper contact info while being a high cost subscription for a small business like ours to shoulder. There is a definite bubble of architects, consultancies and suppliers working well together to tackle this market, we have tried to make allegiances but people are pretty loyal and I don’t blame them as they are good providers.
One other aspect we are seeing more with new builds, where we used to get offered to do most of the furniture is that businesses are getting very savvy around cherry-picking different products and brands, the furniture market sees new suppliers to appear regularly and again I can’t find fault in people looking for bargains and variety.
That said we are immensely proud of our products and will keep going.
Just looking for ways to find information at key times for upcoming new builds. How to encourage more sales. And how to convert quotes to sales where price is a factor. And how to promote ourselves in such a competitive market better.

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