Home' Border Enterprise : Summer-Autumn 2011-2012 Contents enterprise
Vol 5. Summer/Autumn
WHEN it comes to marketing
it is important to have the
right mix and a good rule of
thumb is the 'Four Ps' - the
right Product, sold at the
right Price, in the right Place, using the most
A local business that is proving successful in
a niche market using these techniques is Little
Nest in Albury.
Owner Alison Viney took the plunge in May
last year and opened her boutique store which
specialises in homewares, distinctive stationery,
travel accessories, toys and other exclusive
gifts. Little Nest also stocks an increasingly
popular range of decorative framed prints.
"The idea for my business came to me on
a visit to Tasmania," Ms Viney said. "There
were a lot of little shops with unique items that
appealed to me and I realised that there was a
niche for such a store in Albury-Wodonga."
Ms Viney, 31, had spent the previous six years
as an administrative assistant but decided that
running her own business was for her.
"I expected it to take about a year for me to
do my homework, find suitable premises, get
my financing and set the whole thing up but
after six months the opportunity came up for me
to rent the Dean Street store, which is an ideal
location. It was too good to pass up."
Ms Viney had already gathered information
on how to start a business, mainly from the
internet. She made a list of items that she
wanted to sell by scouring specialty magazines,
online and various blogs -- something she
continues to do to stay abreast of current
trends. She also identified the price range she
wanted to sell in, admitting that it was a "bit
of a guesstimate" as to what the market was
prepared to pay.
Ms Viney contacted numerous companies
to obtain various product samples and then
armed with a business plan, self-prepared sales
forecasts and a degree of confidence she went
to her bank of 25 years for the all-important
money. It wasn't interested.
"I was a bit disappointed. They told me to
save more money," she recalled. "I went to
another bank and they were very co-operative
so I was in business."
Ms Viney said that she used a combination of
marketing mediums, starting with advertising in
the cinema across the street from her shop. She
then broadened her coverage with a successful
print campaign in The Border Mail supported
by entries in the Albury-Wodonga visitors' guide
and tourism brochures. She also gains exposure
for her wares with donations to local schools
and leaflet drops at hotel receptions.
Ms Viney said that that establishing a
presence in cyberspace in May was a natural
progression in her marketing.
"I incorporated an online store on the website
and I also maintain a blog," she said. "The online
turnover is less than 10 per cent of our trade but
it has great potential.
"I don't believe that it will replace our physical
store though because people like to come in
and actually see and touch the items."
Little Nest has built a healthy customer base
in a short time and Ms Viney said it was also
important to keep a fresh look.
"I try and revitalise the shop every three
months and introduce new products every
couple of weeks," she explained. "If I'm getting
sick of it the customers probably are too!"
Ms Viney also likes to provide that something
extra for her customers and offers free
gift wrapping in her self-designed paper.
"It is a great branding tool and is instantly
recognisable," she said.
"I'm also about to introduce a gift register
which will entitle the recipients to a rewards
voucher for 10 per cent of the total purchases."
Ms Viney said that the growth of the business
had exceeded her expectations. She had
planned a 10 per cent build-up of custom in the
first 18 months but this had been closer to 40
per cent, allowing her to employ a casual and
double her loan repayments.
Her advice to anyone contemplating starting
their own business is to sit down and really
think about what it entails and whether they are
committed to it.
"Also, make sure you have an emergency
fund, don't overextend on credit and don't be
afraid to ask for advice," she added.
"I was anxious when I started but I thought
'what's the worst thing that could happen -- I
close down, get a job and get on with life'. That
gave me the courage to go forward."
feathers the nest
owner, Alison Viney.
Links Archive Autumn-Winter 2011 May 2012 Navigation Previous Page Next Page