Mena has moved – onwards and up!


Just two weeks ago, Mena, the Pacific fashion label moved into its new offices in Auckland’s upmarket Grey Lynn.<!--more--><a href=""><img class="size-full wp-image-6808 alignleft" style="margin: 10px;" alt="rsz_img_0006" src="" width="138" height="104" /></a>

It’s the perfect location for MENA business partners/sisters Agnes, Gina, Jackie and Charlene Loheni who were using Agnes’ West Auckland home as their base over the past year. The new offices are airy, spacious and big enough for an office, studio and a work room equipped with sewing machines and small kitchen at the rear.

The move is all part of diversifying, says Agnes Loheni, Director of Export Sales and Marketing. Two years ago Mena opened Tapa, a home &amp; living gift store in Samoa, selling tablecloths, runners, jewellery, items that are not mass produced, a little different and more authentic.  The store has been so successful they are now exploring Mena branded soft furnishings, gifts, bags, accessories and jewellery.

It’s a whole different part of the market, obviously higher prices, aimed at professional people and a wider international market audience --but it’s still in the early stages, says Agnes.  Although it’s still a long way off, they are thinking of a skincare range, local soaps, scented candles and tropical and floral prints in furnishing.

Despite the new direction they are focused on the “bread &amp; butter” -- producing quality fashion garments.

Mena moved the manufacturing side of the business from Samoa to Fiji over a year ago. It was a tough decision to make, but one that freed the sisters from the production side of the business, allowing them focus more on design, strategy and exploring different clothing and non-clothing lines.

It raised concerns from their Samoan audience but, “…it was a decision we really had to make to make enough to supply and be sustainable,” says Agnes.

Fiji has a long standing history in the garment industry with factories that are well established. The move means they are now able to turn out more units and bringing pricing down by 10-20 per cent.  Their look has also changed and evolved but, “…keeps its essence and reflects where we come from in the Pacific.”

Sister Jackie Loheni opened the first Mena store in Samoa and registered the company with her mother and three sisters in 2000.  Since then, Mena has grown and flourished.

Mena now has stockists in Australia and Hawaii but it’s the online e-commerce store that is the fastest growing, with on-line sales from Australia, America and Hawaii. With more than 100,000 Likes on its Facebook page they’re keen to try and translate that to sales.

Fiji and PNG are big followers with some 15,000 likes from PNG. But there are challenges with having customers in places like PNG, where infrastructure, communications, credit cards and deliveries are challenging.

Mena’s e-commerce success was reaffirmed when the company was ranked one of the top two finalists from 12 competitors in the e-Commerce Exporter of the Year at Export New Zealand’s Auckland Export Awards 2014. Although it missed out on the top slot, Mena made it to the final based on the success of their e-commerce sales, strategy and applying family values to their business values.

For more information email Eleanor Ikinofo Email: <a href=""></a>