Mailelani’s trailblazing growth in NZ
The first Mailelani organic coconut soap was released in the year 2000. Since then the company owners, Kitiona and Sylvie Salanoa have expanded their skincare product range to include organic coconut oil, body lotions, body scrubs, and facial products. After achieving its first major export order in 2014, Mailelani products are now stocked in nine specialty retail stores including Wise Cicada, Eco Store and Huckleberry Farms.<!--more-->
[caption id="attachment_6970" align="aligncenter" width="540"]<a href="https://pacifictradeinvest.com/PTI/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Mailelani-Gift-Box-1.jpg"><img class="size-full wp-image-6970" alt="Mailelani Gift Box - 1" src="https://pacifictradeinvest.com/PTI/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Mailelani-Gift-Box-1.jpg" width="540" height="346" /></a> Caption: New promotion packaging created for the Mailelani by Designstein.[/caption]
All its products are handmade in Samoa, using organic virgin coconut oil that is ethically sourced from farmers and villages in Samoa.
In 2014, PT&I helped Mailelani develop a retail promotion campaign to boost sales and create brand impact during the festive season. Special Mailelani gift boxes and point of display material were created to share the afola from Samoa with New Zealand shoppers. The bespoke wooden box with a sliding lid was customisable with a choice of Mailelani’s products and came with a classic card. The lettering and text on the box was redolent of the traditional art of gifting. It was handcrafted, natural and friendly staying true to the Mailelani brand.
With PT&I’s assistance, Mailelani has achieved retail sales and online sales have increased by about 50 percent. Mailelani’s New Zealand distributor, Mrs Kathy Johnston said, “The use of the gift boxes helped promote Mailelani on Facebook and our website and has helped increase the brand’s profile in the New Zealand market. We have received a lot of positive feedback regarding the wooden gift boxes.”
The campaign has generated significant brand impact. In a single Facebook giveaway promotion, the company received 1,269 likes and 322 comments but more importantly it generated 1,273 shares. Mailelani was also profiled on Canterbury Television on their 'Canterbury Live' morning show which featured the gift box.
Mrs Johnston who is at the forefront of promotion and sales in New Zealand said, “The point of display material was extremely helpful in the retail shops. I like to think it gave us an edge over the competition. It certainly helped Mailelani to stand out on the retail shelves and lifted the Mailelani brand up a notch or two to be able to compete in the New Zealand market.”
Summing up PT&I’s role in Mailelani’s growth in New Zealand, Mrs Salanoa said, “You have helped us in every area -- not only finance but the technical advice, guidance, suggestions, know-how, follow up. It has been a ‘partnership’.”
“We started as a soap factory we are now a skin care manufacturer exporting to New Zealand.” Mrs Salanoa is pleased with their progress in the New Zealand market. Success in the New Zealand market has not only contributed to an increased demand in the domestic and export markets, it has had a positive impact on the local communities.
“Because of the increase in wholesale distribution, our demand to the farmers for coconut oil, fruits, avocado oil, fetau oil has also increased. We also have hired two more permanent employees and we do have temporary workers at times,” says Mrs. Salanoa. “We also work at times with Senese and Loto Taumafai Society for People with Disabilities for packaging needs.”
Mrs Salanoa is grateful to the hard work of the Samoan community in producing Mailelani’s quality range of products. She acknowledges the determination of the dedicated staff and their painstaking work in producing the range with virgin coconut oil and other natural ingredients. “That has encouraged us not giving up even in the worst of situations,” she says. “The support from our communities as well as other parts of the world has been wonderful.”
And now it’s great to see the local New Zealand community “adopt” Mailelani, she says.
For more information on Mailelani and its products, please email: Joe Fuavao, PT&I's Trade Development Manager at <span style="text-decoration: underline;"></span>