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Debra Hall

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    Hi there Morg – I don’t think you’re “overthinking” this… these are exactly the things you should be thinking about. Your test market should reflect the market that you’re targeting, which as you have suggested is not necessarily the case using the NZ market as a test for a product bound for Asia.
    When I worked in market research (some years back), even the big NZ F&B companies had this exact problem – one of the ways to address this, esp in the early evolution of the product development, was to find a group of people here who were sufficiently new to NZ to still have some of their residual tastes and market knowledge from their home countries. Sometimes we’d even test products with tourists visiting from those countries (sadly not possible just right now). However, you may well find some relatively new arrivals from Asia to be your crash test dummies… be sure you ask them lots of questions…
    – what would this drink compete with, what would people who like this drink be drinking now (ie. what are you replacing in their repertoire)
    – is this a drinking out or drinking at home drink, everyday use or special occasion
    – and what is the price range for these types of drinks
    Also worth asking them to describe (in as much detail as possible) the type of person in their home country who would find this drink most appealing, and when and where and with whom they would drink it
    They could also help you with flavour variants, and preferred packaging formats, for example.
    Hope that helps – you’re entering a crowded market, so it will be critical to really stand out in some way that is uniquely appealing to your market (before they’ve tasted the drink, you have to get them to buy it to try it!)
    Good luck!

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    Hi there

    Have you checked out the information at https://www.business.govt.nz/starting-a-business/
    There are some really helpful notes and also a 10 point checklist on how to start a business.
    In New Zealand, it’s really really easy to register a company, which has the advantage of keeping your business affairs separate from your personal affairs in a legal sense. However, if what you want to do can easily be done as a sole practitioner, it’s probably even easier to just start as a self-employed person, and see how it goes.

    Either way, you still need to keep your financials in order, making sure you keep good records of all income and outgoing costs, so you can pay the right taxes, and so on. There’s a threshold of income over which you must register for GST. The IRD website is also very helpful about what to do.

    Hope that helps, and good luck. Starting a business is one of the most exciting, challenging and rewarding things you can do.
    All the best.

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    Hi there Louis – I can feel your passion for this exciting project. While I can’t personally help, I may be able to connect you with some people who can. If you would like to drop me an email to debra.hallnz@gmail.com, with a bit more detail about what you’re looking for, I’ll try to make some useful connections for you. Debra

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    Hi there – well done on recognising that you need to regather yourself. It’s really hard to care for others when you’re not caring for yourself. I think taking the time to heal yourself, mentally and physically, and then deciding whether or not you WANT to come back with version 2 of your business, is sensible, based on what you’ve told us. It’s never too late to start again! Go well, stay well.

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    Hi there – key question is what’s wrong with your current name? Changing your name is a big call, as it means you go back to ground zero in terms of customer awareness… and you spend a lot of money changing everything you have that presents you to the market. By all means, refresh your brand look and feel, but unless there’s something seriously wrong with your current name, changing it may not be the best idea.
    Cheers Debra

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    Hi there – well done on getting to this point.

    The issue here is that there is not a clearly defined market, with established competitors, as I understand it. Virgin territory, so to speak…. but there is ALWAYS data available. The people you’re targeting already exist, they already have the problem you’re solving, and they’re hopefully looking for a solution (because, if they’re not, you don’t really have a market at all).

    The key to your marketing strategy is to understand what they’re currently doing to solve the pain of the problem (which may be the “do nothing, live with it” solution, which is fine). Then you need to discover what will make the time, effort and potentially cost of your solution less painful to them than their current solution, and why they should care enough to take the time, make the effort and pay the cost of using your solution.

    And therein lies your marketing strategy…
    I’m happy to help guide you to the data you need, but I’ll need more information about who your target is, and what ‘virgin territory’ you’re planning to occupy. You’re welcome to email me on debra.hallnz@gmail.com

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    Hi there Linda, and well done on what you’ve achieved so far.
    I don’t have the “magic bullet” for you, but I do have a few suggestions:
    – have you tried paying small amounts to boost your posts on Facebook – it really does work, and you can create a highly targeted audience
    – more visual content of people actually wearing the clothing would help enormously to create engagements (and also to give people a sense of what type of bodyshapes and styles your clothing suits best)
    – I’m not sure that you’re doing yourself any favours leading with “womens” clothing… I would position the women’s skirts as being for the mum who think their daughter looks SO CUTE in the skirt that they want one for themselves (Mummy and Me type positioning)….
    – in my view your sweet spot is little girls clothing, and I’d focus on that… your stuff is super-cute, and you need to target mums with a similar aesthetic to yours (identify other brands that they may have liked or followed on Facebook to build an audience)
    – you need to get your engagement up in social media – maybe run some promotions which get people to post photos of their kids in your gear… have a “photo of the week” who gets a voucher or even a free accessory to match what they were wearing (maybe if you’re feeling generous, and the customer is keen, a matching mummy skirt)
    – realise this is not scaleable beyond your immediate geography, but have you thought about hosting little girls’ parties where they dress us in your clothes, eat fairy bread and have LOTS of photos taken for your social media?
    – On the website, I found it most disconcerting that every single colourway is listed as a separate product, without any curation – I’m not sure what platform you’re using (not a tech person myself), but is it possible to group them in colourways so I could click on a blue button to see all the blue-toned skirts, or a yellow button to see all the yellow ones…
    – your BUTTONS are amazing!!! I’m assuming from the price point that they are not hand-painted (if they are, you’re not charging enough) but oh my goodness, they are gorgeous – have you looked at supplying them to craft / quilting shops? have a look at what some of the speciality buttons are priced at – I reckon you could get $5 a button for the big round ones.
    Anyway, a random selection of thoughts … hope there’s something in there that’s useful.
    Good luck!

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    Hi there
    Can you give us a sense of what your business does, and what you know about your target market? Initial thoughts are about some sort of content related promotions, such as blogs or vlogs… but there are many other options depending on what you’re selling / who you need to reach.
    Cheers
    Debra

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    Hi there – I’m from Rose & Thorne, and yes indeed happy to talk.
    We have looked for NZ manufacturing options for lingerie, but there’s literally nothing suitable (that we’ve been able to find). The advice we’ve had from old industry hands is that it would require a massive investment in imported equipment, and serious upskilling of the workforce, to re-establish bra manufacturing at a reasonable scale (and then highly unlikely to meet our requirement for affordability). But if your swimwear is at a premium price point, you may find someone to make it for you here.
    There is a company called Emkay Girl Ltd, in Levin, that was reported as having a team of machinists here making their bras, which they sold in specialist lingerie stores. They don’t appear to be currently active – but the company is still live so could be worth seeking them out to see if you could collaborate with them.
    You’re welcome to contact me on debra@roseandthorne.com – we are definitely not a competitor, as swimwear is NOT on our roadmap, and very happy to talk.

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    Hi there – well done on getting your business up and running.
    I’m afraid I don’t have a “magic bullet” for you, just a few observations to think about.

    In my e-comm businesses, I’ve found that we need to really dig in and try to understand the social channels ourselves, because no one really cares as much about your digital footprint as you do. It’s hard – my CEO says it feels like everyday we go into battle with Facebook and Google, because they change so often that literally no one is a real expert.

    Also, your site is lovely, but I was seriously confused about the robes? Is this an attempt to offer something that is easier to fit than shoes?

    Shoes are a really challenging category, especially given that you don’t (and probably can’t) offer free returns. You need to offer some more guidance on fit – have you looked at Strutfit (they’re a startup that has a plug in for people to use to find their shoe size on your site)?

    I’m struggling with your price points – they don’t seem high enough to justify the claim that my shoes will be made specifically for me after I order them, but too high to be buying from an existing range that you’re tapping into – but that’s just my view.

    Mostly I don’t feel there’s a strong story of your brand – my advice would be to start telling your story more strongly, highlighting your point of difference from other online shoe offerings… what is it that makes you unique, what’s your advantage over your competitors. Engaging with your existing customers can be extremely powerful – will they talk on behalf of your brand on social media, have they bought again, will they refer you to their friends?

    Sorry, a bit of a ramble – but this is an incredibly difficult category, absolutely possible to see online, but difficult nevertheless. Maybe someone else can offer some more specific ideas.

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    Hi there – well done on getting your business up and running.
    I’m afraid I don’t have a “magic bullet” for you, just a few observations to think about.

    In my e-comm businesses, I’ve found that we need to really dig in and try to understand the social channels ourselves, because no one really cares as much about your digital footprint as you do. It’s hard – my CEO says it feels like everyday we go into battle with Facebook and Google, because they change so often that literally no one is a real expert.

    Also, your site is lovely, but I was seriously confused about the robes? Is this an attempt to offer something that is easier to fit than shoes?

    Shoes are a really challenging category, especially given that you don’t (and probably can’t) offer free returns. You need to offer some more guidance on fit – have you looked at Strutfit (they’re a startup that has a plug in for people to use to find their shoe size on your site)?

    I’m struggling with your price points – they don’t seem high enough to justify the claim that my shoes will be made specifically for me after I order them, but too high to be buying from an existing range that you’re tapping into – but that’s just my view.

    Mostly I don’t feel there’s a strong story of your brand – my advice would be to start telling your story more strongly, highlighting your point of difference from other online shoe offerings… what is it that makes you unique, what’s your advantage over your competitors. Engaging with your existing customers can be extremely powerful – will they talk on behalf of your brand on social media, have they bought again, will they refer you to their friends?

    Sorry, a bit of a ramble – but this is an incredibly difficult category, absolutely possible to see online, but difficult nevertheless. Maybe someone else can offer some more specific ideas.

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    Hi there
    If you’d like to email me a bit more information about your business, your location, and what you’re looking for from a mentor / adviser, I can try to help you find the right person.
    Also, there is currently free advice available, I believe,as part of the government’s small business support package, through your local economic development agency. Business Mentors NZ is also worth a look – though they may not be sufficiently “startup” specific for your need.
    My email is debra.hallnz@gmail.com

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    Hi again – can I suggest you seek out a digitally-savvy teenager in your local community who is interested in help you with your website? Your local highschool probably has an IT class, or something like that, and may even have an afterschool computer club. Polytechs are also a great source of young talent, who know this stuff and could be incredibly grateful for a small amount of pay AND the opportunity to work on a real life site. Just an idea.

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    Hi there

    I’ve had a quick look at your website and it appears impossible for search for what I’m looking for in any way at all. I’ve entered a book title, an author’s name or a genre into the search bar, and literally nothing happens.

    I suspect that people visit secondhand bookstores online not to browse, but rather looking for specific books or authors / genres of interest. Unless you can make this happen, it seems unlikely the site will generate any sales at all.

    Selling stuff online is all about understanding why people are seeking to buy online – maybe you could talk to your existing in-person clientele to understand how they would use an online secondhand bookstore?

    Hope that helps…
    Cheers
    Debra