Small businesses play a vital role in Australia's economy. In fact, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, most exporters are SMEs, although export revenue is dominated by larger companies.
If you are first embarking on your export journey, it can be overwhelming and challenging, especially if you are a small business.
Truth is, if you’ve done your homework, chances are that those so-called challenges could be easily transformed into international opportunities.
I had the opportunity to meet with Julia Christie, the innovator and designer of the multi-award-winning baby nail trimmer – the Nail Snail.
After providing safer nail care to countless parents of toddlers, babies and newborns across Australia and selling over 20,000 nail trimmers since launching in 2017, going global was naturally the next step. She shared her personal story and business insights with me on how she took the Nail Snail global.
From pain to profit
After accidentally cutting her newborn with conventional nail clippers, Julia searched high and low for a baby nail care tool that she could trust and one that would avoid altogether the chances of injuring her baby. However, her endless quest of finding safer baby nail clippers remain fruitless.
Discouraged and devastated by the quality and design of existing products on the market, she thought there had to be a better and safer solution. It was then, that she knew she had to take matters into her own hands.
Little did Julia know that after conceptualising the prototype and launching a successful Kickstarter Campaign, that her winning design – the Nail Snail – would reach national and now international recognition.
Leaping towards global opportunities
In just over one year, the Nail Snail had been featured in numerous publications and had gained thousands of social media followers causing it to being regularly sold out at baby-related expos and events.
It made it obvious to Julia, that there were many more parents out there facing similar challenges involving baby nail care.
And, after winning the prestigious Australian Good Design & the Big Innovation Award as well as the AusMumpreneur Product Innovation Award, she was even featured on Channel 10’s Australia By Design program. Essentially, it also meant that demand was growing and Julia needed to take the Nail Snail abroad.
“It has been an amazing journey so far and I can still remember my first Nail Snail shipment overseas. Getting to understand the export industry, market and the different technologies used in the process, were all part of a big learning curve,” Julia said.
All-in for global growth
For small business owners like Julia Christie, introducing their product to the global market can impact positively on their business and turnover, but requires making considerable adjustments to their day to day operations. Innovation in areas such as transport, logistics and timely deliveries have enabled Julie to not only grow her customer base but give her business a presence in brand new markets.
According to Julia, taking your product outside of Australia is a different game altogether. And, while it can be a worthwhile step to take, it is not to be taken lightly. However, meeting the right people, contacts and distributors played a big part in her breaking into markets such as the UK, US, New Zealand and Asia.
“Sometimes you cannot plan these things – they just happen,” Julia says.
“For me, while I was actively pursuing exporting to these countries, it was these seeming chance encounters at expos and even online that opened the doors to these countries for me and the Nail Snail.”
Done right, exporting can be the best thing for your business. Julia’s journey proves that you don’t have to be a large company or massive producer – a mother’s intuition, the right advice, thorough market research and a tad of luck can create the ripple effect it takes to lead your product to international success.
To learn more about Nail Snail baby nail trimmers visit: www.nail-snail.com.
Erik Bigalk - founder of Smart Solutions