How a Sydney startup managed to corner the Chinese market in months
Written on the 23 April 2018 by David Simmons
Koala Eco only launched in 2017, but already the brand has found its place in the coveted Chinese market.
Founded by husband and wife team Jessica Bragdon and Paul Davidson, Koala Eco is a 100 per cent Australian made line of eco-friendly cleaning products. Emblazoned with Australian flora and fauna, Koala Eco products are safe for the environment and for the home.
Bragdon says inspiration for the line came when she couldn't find any cleaning products that she felt comfortable using around her children.
"I remember I was cleaning the bathroom and was watching glass cleaner mist all over the kids' toothbrushes, I thought there had to be a better option," says Bragdon.
The Koala Eco cleaning products are made with powerful yet non-toxic formulas and are infused with Australian essential oils.
Bragdon says the brand's quality and attention to detail is the reason for its success in China.
"Australian products have a strong reputation in China in general," says Bragdon.
"There's 400 million middle class people in China alone seeking out high quality premium foreign goods. Our aim has always been to create an incredible Australian product and brand that would resonate not only in Australia but in other countries too."
However, when Bragdon and Davidson first set out on their journey they had no idea how the brand would fare in China.
"It was only a few years ago that the idea of exporting to China was an impossible dream for many Aussie small to medium sized businesses like us," says Bragdon.
"The costs associates with entry, set up, distribution and management were so high that it was only the bigger end of town that could afford the initial investment and ongoing financial commitment."
Thanks to the emergence of 'hyper-social' media platforms in China like WeChat and Weibo, the online retail and import game has changed significantly.
"The social media we use for marketing in Australia (Instagram, Facebook, etc.) is completely different to what is used in China," says Bragdon.
"But Daigou Sales helped us promote our brand across the most popular Chinese social media platforms like WeChat and Weibo, and that's something that is a completely new navigation from a small business perspective. To have a body that you can speak to that helps you formulate a strategy to get into China is really important for small businesses starting out."
"DaigouSales.com is based in Sydney. We simply send our products to their warehouse and when a Daigou shopper in Australia purchases our products from our estore on DaigouSales.com the items are automatically shipped directly to the end user in China from the warehouse in Sydney."
"It is an ideal way to introduce our product to mainland Chinese and get traction in the market which can then lead to more and more direct sales and even physical stockist arrangements."
As for the future of Koala Eco, Bragdon and Davidson hope to be in more international markets soon.
"The future of the brand is to continue to stay true to what we've been doing, which is to create affordable, all natural, amazing products," says Bragdon.
"We want to continue to grow internationally we're now in Korea, Japan, and the UK. We're setting up manufacturing and distribution in the US by the end of this year. We just want to keep doing what we're doing."
Business News Australia
Author: David Simmons