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LETS GET DOWN TO BUSINESS.

Question :
Hey Business Brains!I started Westcoast Stoneware one year ago. My first ever business adventure. Things have been okay until Covid. We have been slower lately but hoping for things to pick up. I don’t have any specific questions but looking for advice or opinions as i have have hit a brick wall with where to take the business and the best way to grow/expand. let me tell you about what we do.My best friend is a potter and i’m a graphic/web designer. We live together and naturally i started selling his pottery. We are sustainable eco-conscious humans so we started out with Reusable coffee cups as our main product. Rid the use of single use coffee products and promote a brighter future. From here we have expanded into custom orders and wholesale supply to retail and cafes. Over covid we started our online store which has been great for our profit per product as we can get retail price instead of wholesale. But now our wholesale accounts don’t like this as it takes away from them. We currently work from home, transformed garage into the studio, spare room as storage and lounge as packing area. We want to get out and rent somewhere which means we would need to produce more product or sell at higher cost which is a tension. Since its only two of us and we rented a bigger space to produce more we would have to employee someone else to help out and that requires special skills which cost more. Pretty much I am unsure of what we can afford if we jump in the deep end. Also is there any grants to help companies which are doing good positive changes to the world to help grow and expand???Thanks so muchBeach – Westcoast Stoneware

Question submitted 18/05/20 @ 08:35am
Industry: Business Growth
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  • I love what you are doing here… and I’m not sure if I’m supposed to use the platform to talk backing you guys, but can you get in touch – 021 825753 jonathan.cameron@elevatecp.co.nz
    This is an awesome offering around the disposable cup idea, but you also have a very contemporary offering across the other product range that you could put into, and extend across other retail outlets… kitsch kiwi stores, contemporary art/kiwiana stores… and bespoke offerings as regions start to kick-start something local…
    Also joining other unique on-line marketplace stores that have a natural fit with your product or not (i.e. more commercial via the marketplace)…
    But please, get in touch as keen to chat and I’d love to get involved…!

    also… as a young pre-schooler many mons ago, my mum took me to all her pottery classes, so this is very nostalgic, but she passed on a very creative gene that has intertwined with my commercial and strategy brain… hence my enthusiasm to help!

    Hi there
    Great to get that offer of help from Jonathan!! Definitely take him up on it!

    You could check out akina.org.nz they help connect social impact businesses with funding.

    I was oogling over pottery keep cups through a café window yesterday on the Kāpiti Coast. Not sure if they are yours? Such a cool concept.

    In terms of growing your team my sense is that there would be plenty of potters (many may be retired or semi-retired) keen to help on a casual basis…that way you don’t have to commit to a salary. Perhaps use a community kiln? How cool would it be to have the story of all the different potters on the website and you could somehow trace back who made yours. You could replicate the production model in pottery communities around the country. What a lovely community impact that would make. I am getting carried away now 🙂

    Who else can you partner with (outside of wholesalers) to help funnel regular sales through.

    Have you posted on the NZ Products page on FB? Could be a good place to look for collabs.

    If you would like any tips on publicity or marketing, cause led business is my jam, so I am more than happy to have a chat.

    All the best!
    Bee

    Hi! Love the products. Truly beautiful and unique. Definitely connect with Jonathon as he can give you some great business growth pointers…so I’ll focus more on the marketing side of things; it is perfect timing to connect your values with how an increasing number of people want to shop; local, authentic, more sustainable, unique.
    – your products lend themselves really nicely to PR. A simple campaign of getting samples and a great press release out to influencers and media would be sure to get you some coverage,
    – maybe there is an opportunity to collaborate with a brand with the same values…either to pool marketing resources or for you to supply them as a giveaway. Imagine if Mercury Energy gave your cups to their staff as Christmas gifts for example…amazing order, plus recipients would share the gift and grow your brand….
    – over time you can then expand the range so that shoppers who love the cups come back for more items
    – as Bee has suggested social media also has some great options where you can expose your products to more consumers and shoppers to build sales. I am not sure if you are active on social media at the moment but there have been some great posts with suggestions on how to build sales via social media as well.

    Interested to see where you go from here!

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