Image: Dakota Monk from Burst
After three years of trying, CUP O FLORA pots have landed on New Zealand store shelves. It has been a challenging journey, but perseverance paid off. Here is how it happened.
I started CUP O FLORA in 2014 and the take up was strong. Australian customers loved the planters, and big chains began to come on board, so it was time to expand to other markets. Short of a small retailer in LA, sales were confined to Australia.
New Zealand was always a natural market. Kiwis have a similar interest in indoor plants, the rules and regulations were not too different, and they speak the same language. I knew that the pots would be popular with Kiwis, but how do I get them there?
I had never exported before and didn’t know anything about NZ customs or taxes. Should I sell directly or use a local distributor? And most importantly, is it going to be cost-effective? I had no idea where to start.
I found little interest coming from New Zealand fulfilment centres due to the small scale of my business. They also didn’t want to deal with glass products fearing breakage. I also contacted a large chain to see if they wanted to stock the pots across their garden centres, but at the time they could not properly display our products in their shops.
In 2020 I was ready to give up, but my friend Christina had just moved back to NZ, so I asked her to see if the garden centre closest to her might be interested. It was a long shot, but I had nothing to lose. I never received a response from that centre, but after a few weeks an email arrived from their chain’s head office asking for more information. Then, while talking to this chain, an online search returned the details of a distributor that I thought could be a good partner.
I had an immediate connection with Annie from Auckland-based Willow Ave. She instinctively understood the product, and despite little experience with glass products, she was willing to give it a go. After a few phone and Zoom calls, she requested some samples, and she placed her first order in late 2020.
And so, after years of searching and months of preparation Flora & Co (Aus) and Willow Ave (NZ) are proud to present the CUP O FLORA® range of self-watering glass pots.
What I learned along the way was to always take a long term view, and that perseverance prevails! When hitting a brick wall, try a different direction until you find a clear path.
The pots are available through these four leading retailers.
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