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Alister Gates

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    Hi Jenna, you are doing it all right, and I know the process can be slow and frustrating. It is really important to find the right supplier, not just the right product but someone who you can work with and has a strong interest in your requirements. Alibaba is the right place, when I have done a similar exercise I usually find 3-4 companies I am interested in, start a chat conversation. If that doesn’t seem to go well I move on, take that as an early warning sign. I always buy samples, get them shipped down and review and test them. All this takes time but worth it. Most places will do customisation but then you are looking at MOQ’s in the thousands. I am sure quality is important to you, the cheapest will be just that. When you are looking at a supplier also check out their other products, reviews etc. Also make sure they are the manufacturer, not an agent, sometimes that is hard to tell. When you have selected a supplier there are 3rd party services in China to check the quality before they are sent to NZ. I have contacts in China and NZ that would be happy to help as well, shout out if you need more support.
    Alister

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    Kia ora Trina. You are doing really well to have your socials working for you already. Most startups come to that later and wonder why they aren’t getting sales, so you are already looking at this the right way. When it comes to websites, I have worked with all the content management systems, SquareSpace, Shopify, WordPress etc. They all have their own strengths and weaknesses. In the end, it comes down to how much hands-on you want to do with the website yourself. If you are doing custom made products, then you want something really easy to jump in, add a product and then hide it. You also sound like you have a story to tell, while the website is a tool, and you want all the technical bits to hook together, it’s also your shopfront as well, so it’s important to have a welcoming story that leads your customer on a journey. A lot of e-commerce sites fail because they are just pages of products.
    I am happy to jump on a call with you if you want to have a chat about your options.
    All the best.

    Alister

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    Kia ora Nick, I have taken a quick look at your website and products, they look great, needed and a massively important direction for our world. I think the challenge you are facing is solvable, just needs some tweaking. Your home page isn’t taking people on a journey and needs a bit more structure to lead people to buy or at least get their information so you can start a conversation. Schools are hard, they usually have no money. But this is a cool idea, so how to make it a no brainer to get them into schools. I wonder if there is a way to get a local business to sponsor a unit into a school? They get a little plaque with their name on, feel good they are doing a community service. I am happy to have a further chat.

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    Hey, I know what it is like to be right at the beginning, it can be really daunting. I have developed hundreds of websites, businesses and marketing plans for clients and am happy to have a confidential chat on the phone or online to see if I can point you in the right direction.

    Nga mihi
    Alister

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    Kia ora, sounds like you have an idea and passion for something. All good (social) businesses start here and I congratulate you on the first step and also asking for help. Maybe if you could give an idea (without giving your plan away) about what business area you are looking at so the right mentor can reach out. Is it Food, beverage, health, tourism etc.

    Nga mihi
    Alister

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    The above two responses are spot on and a great place to start. My only other bit of advice is to choose one market to get into to start with. It is so tempting to try and launch this into multiple places, but, and I have learned this the hard way, when you are working on limited resources focus, focus, focus on one country. Leverage contacts and don’t give up! Also, look at an online play while the world is sorting out travel etc. I can give you some more advice if amazon.com is on your radar.

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    I am happy to have a chat. I can call you tomorrow.
    Alister

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    Hi Marissa, your products look beautiful. Living in the most isolated country in the world has its benefits, but as you have found there is a downside, super expensive to ship anything anywhere. There aren’t too many cheaper solutions for courier. I would suggest hooking up with an international courier so you can negotiate, NZ Post always seems expensive at the PostShop. Also, GoSweetSpot can sometimes have better international pricing, check them to compare as they bulk buy. I would also suggest you laser target your international markets. If you are finding you are selling most of your stuff into the US for example get a small amount of stock up there into a 3PL warehouse. That may be impossible for one-offs but there is such a sales advantage to next day delivery, it can often help to close a sale.

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    Hi Michelle, I know this can be disheartening, especially at this early stage, this has happened to me a number of times. First, thing is don’t give up, figure out your unique USP. I have worked with a number of Manuka honey companies. On an overseas trip, we went to the NZTE office in Shanghai and the trade commissioner said “Welcome, you are the 179th Manuka honey company to visit us, what is different about you?” Ouch. We went away with our tail between our legs but took this as a real opportunity to find that point of difference. Despite this setback, we built a very successful brand and business. It just took more than putting a pretty label on a jar and really working at what made us different. Competition is validation. You just need to find a way to do it better.