Wednesday, 17 February 2016
Tuesday, 16 February 2016
In the early 2000 my love of anything makeup or skincare was an expensive luxury. I would look at the prices in our local pharmacy and find all I could afford was a small sample pack of my favourite brand which was on special.
In the larger pharmacies or department store, a major brand would (and still does I believe) have their own expert. In those days, my favoured brand had a lovely young woman with perfect skin who gave me wonderful advice. However, the day she boasted about the commission she had made from sales was the day I decided to search for alternatives.
My search led me online, I found Strawberrynet. The product choices were quite limited in those days. However, I managed to find some of my favourite brand and a while later began to purchase online. One day I received a package in the mail, opened it and boasted to my husband about the amount of money I had saved which was substantial. I began to research local prices as opposed to web prices, the saving were amazing.
beautynet.co.nz was born. Glen (a high quality expert web designer we knew through an earlier life in the publishing industry) designed a state-of-the-art interactive website at an extremely affordable cost.
So began a journey.
I fell in love with Strawberrynet and wrote as much in an advertisement in the NZ Herald Saturday magazine first edition. We were inundated, our phone ran hot, being on dial up internet at the time, looking back, I wonder how we managed.
Back in 2004 the internet scene was very different from today. Many were suspicious of putting their credit cards on the internet. Hence we decided to offer phone orders.
We advertised in the Wellington Evening Post, NZ Herald and other provincial newspapers and attended many Women’s Lifestyle Exhibitions throughout the country. (Having a husband who is a journalist and marketing expert helped considerably.)
Telephone orders were a wonderful way to make contact with our customers. I can honestly say in all the time and all the customers mostly women we can proudly boast, you are honest, you are lovely, you are kind, you are patient, you are forgiving you love a fair price, you love cosmetics but are not prepared to pay over the odds for the privilege.
Thank you all you early customers you gave me a wonderful experience of humanity at it’s best, and fun on our mutual journey of discovery.
In the early days, a major brand became annoyed at our foray into the market place. A complaint to the Commerce Commission and NZ Customs ensued. They tried to stop us in our tracks. Parcels were investigated by Customs, I was investigated by Customs and asked to send a copy of my passport. The Commerce Commission investigated us. As an extremely small player in the marketplace threats of a fine of thousands of dollars was frightening. This came at holiday time one summer. After writing to the Commerce Commission and, I think, several of their workers testing us by purchasing from us we were in the clear. Fortunately women in the organisations were in exactly the same position as myself and welcomed being able to purchase cosmetics without the large markup which had been endured for so long.
Strawberrynet, based in HongKong, is an English company originally set up as a retail outlet. We visited Strawberrynet early on our journey and so began a relationship which has been amazing. They are an amazing company and I call myself fortunate to have had this experience spanning nearly fifteen years. Taking us at times through major turbulence such as an earthquake in China one year which took them offline for a period of time. The sudden withdrawing of perfume sales as Customs demanded that sending perfume by air posed a threat to aircraft. Prices being aligned to the US dollar having caused fluctuations at times detrimental to sales when our dollar plummeted against the US.
Several years ago Google changed their search engine options and announced they would no longer include websites in their searches which were not mobile friendly. Hence a scramble to become Google mobile friendly. In this business one cannot rest on one’s laurels as technology advances escalate.
The internet has, as everyone knows, changed dramatically. The way companies advertise has changed. Print advertising is only one of the advertising avenues, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, You Tube and others have become major players in the marketplace, companies which did not exist a few years ago when the internet as a major commercial portal was in it’s infancy. The beauty marketplace has changed.
I guess the one thing we can all be certain of is change, however, what an exciting world to live in.
Posted by Frances Ferrier at 19:06