THE BUSINESS SAYING 'NO' TO WOOLWORTHS
Written on the 30 May 2014
CRAIG Jones (pictured) is rare in the business world.
The founder of natural skincare range MooGoo says he would never sell out for big bucks to the big supermarket chains if it meant hurting one of his smaller distributors.
Jones says he already has knocked back a lucrative deal in China because it involved animal testing.
But that hasn’t stopped MooGoo from experiencing rapid growth since the day Jones quit his day job as a pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force to develop dairy-farm udder cream whipped up on the kitchen stove.
Nine years later, his natural MooGoo skincare range is stocked in 1300 retailers and hospitals in Australia and is forging strong export growth in Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Korea, Philippines, Ireland and New Zealand.
The UK also presents as a green pasture with the Burleigh Heads based MooGoo on the eve of securing a trial run in one of the UK’s largest pharmacies – LloydsPharmacy, which boasts 1650 outlets.
“We don’t want to sell in supermarkets,” says Jones. “We don’t want to get too much bigger in Australia; we want to get bigger by exporting because it is a huge market out there,” says Jones.
“We don’t deal with the chains. I’m never going to sell out, and we will always deal one on one with the stockists.
“If a big chain came to me and said ‘we are going to put you in all of our stores’, if we have a smaller store that already stocks the product (close by) we will just knock back the whole thing.”
MooGoo was born when Jones’ mother was using an udder cream (which farmers use for cow’s chaffed udders) for her psoriasis.
The original formula was pasty and had a strong odour, so Jones reformulated the cream into a more ‘human friendly’ consistency and now has four Australian contract manufacturers producing MooGoo products for people with skin problems.
Despite rapid growth, MooGoo has stayed true to its founding values, putting customer service and stockists first.
This was evident when Terry White Chemists proposed to stock MooGoo products in all of its stores.
“There were about five stores that conflicted with our existing stockists and that was a deal breaker,” says Jones.
Making the tough calls to turn down big chains has dented revenue, but Jones says customer loyalty and store exclusivity makes the business a success.
“As a company we really enjoy working with the stockists individually; the staff know most of the stockists by name and it is much more satisfying from a company point of view to have good business friends than be all about money,” he says.
The company also knocked back a lucrative deal in China as the process included animal testing.
“China is the second biggest economy, we were going to go in to 15 hospitals, the opportunity there was going to be very valuable but we had to knock it back,” he says.
Australian hospitals are using MooGoo products with Roche Oncology distributing to hospitals including Pindara Hospital on the Gold Coast.
MooGoo has 12 staff and indirectly many more through contractors. The company recently secured a 3000 sqm office and warehouse in West Burleigh.