Nautilus Books and Gifts is one of Honiara’s premium retail outlets in the Solomon Islands. The business is owned by Naomi Tazaka who will be showcasing her products at the Path to the Pacific Trade Show at The Cloud on April 6. Ms Tozaka is part of the Solomon Islands delegation of five businesses and a representative of the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce. In Auckland, they will join the 40+ Pacific Islands based business from 10 countries participating in Pacific Trade Invest (PTI) NZ’s Path to Market multi-stage programme. The programme assists Pacific Island businesses gain a better understanding of the New Zealand market.

Nautilus Books and Gifts offers a wide range of products made from natural materials, including mats, shell jewellery, weavings, carvings and paintings.  Each of the unique wooden carvings are based on totems related to the various provinces and tribal war carvings like canoes, shields and spears.  They are made from ebony, rosewood, kou or kerosene wood and often in-laid with mother of pearl made from the shells of dead nautilus washed up onto the shores.  The Nautilus is a pelagic marine mollusc.

In an interview for the Solomon Women Newspaper (July 25, 2016 Business Woman of the Year), Ms Tozaka said selling arts and crafts required a different business model to other types of retail.

“…it is not an easy business to run,” she said. Most of her customers are tourists and sales can vary dramatically from day-to-day, but she is not discouraged.

“The products I sell have their own stories.  I have to convince my customers what they are before they purchase them,” she said.

Ms Tozaka won the Solomon Islands Women in Business Association’s Business Woman of the Year in 2016.  She says compared to machinery made carvings, the hand made crafts from local resources were unique in quality.

Another highlight from that year was attending the 2016 Artisan Resources Trade Show in New York funded by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC).  It was great exposure for Solomon Islands handicrafts and Ms Tokada and she was secured new markets for her business.

PTI NZ works in association with local economic and business agencies to run the Path to Market in-country workshops. The next stages are held in Auckland starting with pre-event seminars. The Path to the Pacific Trade Show is followed by the post event analysis, site visits and one-to-one business meetings.

For more information please contact Ian Furlong, PTI NZ Trade Development Manager on ian.f@pacifictradeinvest.co.nz

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