Big little company Natures Sway are still proudly and obstinately New Zealand made and sometimes it feels real tough manufacturing in this somewhat remote paradise! We spoke to Kate Hornblow, Founding director at Natures Sway, to find out what’s new in their world.
During my 23 years establishing this business I cannot count the number of times and people I have spoken to, or who have given their unsolicited advice to get products made in China or Indonesia, etc. While I remain open and informed, I still maintain that our products can and will be made in New Zealand and that they will wear the inherent and implied labels of top quality and natural products because of our values and our reputation.
Lucky for us we have a fabulous distributor in Northern Europe which keeps our volumes viable and our GST returns as refunds. Did you know our profit margins are just as tight as your local cafe – and we all know how tough it is to survive in that line!
Also fortunate for us is the intense love we get from the fans of our all natural baby hammock and various soft structure carriers. Keeping the brand awareness relevant to new parents is our main challenge these days and thanks to social media, the power of word of mouth, which seems to be the single most powerful form of advertising, is enhanced to an international level!
As a woman in business, and as someone who is dedicated to using wholesome and natural ingredients, I have found it quite challenging to operate in the commercial environment. It is also a privilege to have the opportunity to get amongst the many small industries in NZ and to hopefully contribute to the move towards sustainability and a bottom line that’s not just about the bucks. How we network, who leads you to whom, who is being disruptive, who can give you the fairest price, what they can and can’t do these days, how much is now imported or done with new technology…it is all changing so fast.
Back to the day-to-day joys of cut-make-trim for the team at Natures Sway. We have always outsourced the sewing to local out-workers more passionate about quality than quantity, and when I finally gave up trying to do everything else myself and pushed past the fear of becoming an employer, the resulting team of part-time staff in-house is amazing! We all love to do something we can feel passionate about and I think the work environment has to be friendly and flexible.