Site visits are part of Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) New Zealand’s successful Pasifika Path to Market programme following Auckland’s Pasifika Festival.
This year a group of more than 35 businesses from 11 Pacific Island countries showcased their products at the inaugural Pasifika Business Market. The countries included the Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Cook Islands and French Polynesia.
PTI NZ has run the Pasifika Path to Market programme for the past three years but this was the first time a market place branded ‘Pasifika Business Market’ was allocated in Auckland’s Pasifika Festival grounds.
The Path to Market programmes starts with PTI NZ working closely with in-country counterparts to organise a Path to Market workshop. Potential exporters are identified and invited to attend Auckland’s Pasifika Festival as part of the Path to Market programme. This includes pre and post Pasifika seminars, business site visits and one-to-one meetings.
For SSAB Auckland – Sei Oriana Gift Shop in Mangere, the site visits were timely. Sei Oriana sells a range of products from books to accessories and handicrafts and they were looking for new suppliers. For the jewellery and gift ware producers they could practice their ‘elevator pitch’, meet the Managing Director Melisa Stanley-Van Horn and hopefully impress enough to secure a long-term buyer to supply.
“Our CEO, Fiti Leunga Wai’s main motivation for setting Sei Oriana in NZ was to open up an export market for our local producers of handicrafts, clothing and food in Samoa to expand their products to, and at the same time making them accessible to consumers in this country.
“One thing that sets Sei Oriana apart is collaborating with like-minded Pacific entrepreneurs to position their products in other areas of the city, in our case, South Auckland, where the majority of PI’s reside,” Mrs Stanley-Van Horn said.
“This allows for the convenience to the customers and additional exposure of their products in different locations. We are not restricted to one product classification, but stock a range of goods from Pacific Islands from Jewellery, Clothing, Footwear, Books and Handicrafts. We have also sent our products as far away as Germany and South Korea, and we credit that to an active Social Media presence.
“We understand that there are a lot of unique and beautiful products being produced by our island neighbours, such as PNG, Solomon Islands, Palau, Fiji and the Marshal Islands that the world doesn’t get to see. We also understand that we are in a position to provide a platform to showcase those amazing talents, in turn assisting the economies of those sole traders which will help in building the wealth in their families and villages,” she added.
Social Media is an important medium that SMEs should capitalise on given that it costs nothing to advertise on these platforms and all that requires really is your time, Mr Melisa Stanley-Van Horn added.
“I know that for a country like Samoa, Samoans being our target market almost everyone has a FB page, so having that presence on FB allows us more exposure and its functionalities are super easy and user friendly. So, updating your SM (social media) is very important and focus on uploading a post that advertises a product every other day,” suggested Mrs Stanley-Van Horn.
In terms of online purchasing facilities, Mrs Stanley-Van Horn did not personally trust FB payment facilities for international customers.
“To be on the safe side I always prefer that they do Paypal or direct credit into our NZ bank accounts. This safeguards us but especially the customer. You will find that the well-known money transfer facilities like PayPal that have a good profile and reputation world-wide is a better format for international payments,” she said.
For more information on the Path to Market programme contact Ian Furlong, PTI NZ Trade Development Manager on firstname.lastname@example.org