How to get people begging to import your stuff

Going Global, growing, making Money, success | PlanHQ | 0 Comments

Trilogy Skincare is a local Wellington company, started by sisters Sarah and Catherine 4 1/2 years ago. In that time they have managed to get on the shelves of the worlds most luxurious retailers, outsell Garnier and Revlon skincare products in New Zealand, and build their $20,000 initial investment into a massively successful company.

How do they do it?

I was lucky enough to be part of their audience at the small business expo to find out how the accountant and the journalist went from having the idea of making natural, sustainable skincare to making it happen.

Outsource Everything

Sarah and Catherine ran Trilogy alone for the first 2 years. Everything from manufacturing to branding to sales were outsourced, and will continue to be outsourced until they grow large enough to slowly take it over. Trilogy are experts at Skincare, doing anything else should be done by someone else.

Be careful who you sell to

Trilogy had no less than 82 approaches last year to import their products… They only accepted one. They stuck to their plan of attacking the UK and Australian markets first and getting products into stores like Harrods. Their market is a small community, so it wasn’t long before 5th Avenue came knocking on their door - yes that’s right, no cold calls and long nights wondering how to get into the US market, Trilogy set themselves up so well the US market came to them.

Marketing with no Money

Trilogy are self funded and want to keep it that way. There was no room in their initial $20,000 budget to spend on advertising, so they relied on Catherines knowledge of the media to drum up free PR - which they now suspect has a total value of about $10 million. Featuring in magazines such as Marie Claire, Vogue, Elle and the Daily Express (which resulted in them getting totally out of stock) offers priceless publicity, and they got it for free. Their advice? If you’ve got an interesting story, tell it… And remember it’s not what you know, it’s who you know

They have no marketing department. Everyone who works at or for Trilogy, including their 11 fulltime and 7 parttime staff, the retailers and the sales agents, know the Trilogy brand inside out. Trilogy offer incentives such as free product and ensure they look after everyone in the loop well enough that everyone involved in the Trilogy brand loves it as much as they do.

Calculate your Pricing Backward

Trilogy initially work out what their customers would be willing to pay, then work backwards through the chain of sales and manufacturing to determine if that works for them. If it doesn’t they rethink what the market is after.

The 5 Minute Rule

Trilogy have had their fair share of muckups including their first Australian sales distributer going bust weeks into their contract. They have come to rely on a very scientific rule. If you don’t get the right vibe in 5 minutes, get out. Whether you’ve traveled half way around the world for the meeting or spent a lot of money on a deal, if you meet the people involved and don’t feel the connection, you probably never will.

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