How Creating The Perfect Teddy Bear Made A Small Business Millions
We visited Neil Cope from Cooee Brands to discuss how perfecting the face of a Teddy bear and tapping into a niche market he created a hugely successful business.
See video & transcript below.
We are probably one of Australia’s leading toy designers, wholesalers, importers. We manufacturer in over 30 factories in China with our own designs, we do designs that are exclusive to companies and are branded product and obviously we do our own brand which is Teddy and Friends. Then there is the souvenir business that supplies souvenir retailers where we again do bespoke design. We want to provide solutions to retailers, we’re calling this celebrations, within Australia we’ve done this for Australia Day – where we have consolidated product from 12 different factories, manufactured a display stand and then we merchandise the display stand, this has been delivered into Australia’s largest retailer, it’s in over 800 stores on Australia day, it delivers a significant profit to their bottom line. And where we have differentiated ourselves from our competition is that we’re providing a solution. Anybody can go to china and buy a stubby holder, its how we package the offer and solve the problem for the retailer on a one off celebration – it can be in the united states the fourth of July, in France on bastille day, we can celebrate anything.
So finally the teddy and friends range is as you say key stone, we pride ourselves on the quality, we spend a lot of time in China and Indonesia working with the factories that manufacture these products, we design the products and then we believe you can get quality at not an additional price, by being in the factories, by insisting they use greater density fabrics, longer fabrics, we’re putting beans in the bears and making sure they’re symmetric, every beautiful model has a perfectly symmetric face, so every beautiful teddy bear has to have a perfectly symmetrical face, and we work very hard to make sure that happens so we deliver a better product, a better quality product at a better price than all our opposition and as a result the product sells quicker of the retailer shelves. So everybody’s happy.
You’ve always got to be challenging your self, you’ve always got to be looking to go that extra mile, you’ve got to stay ahead of your competition and the competition includes the retailers, all major retailers have buying offices in china, so we’ve got to be thinking how we can do a better job than those major retailers, to be able to be sell to those major retailers, we’ve got to buy the product and sell to them a better product for a lower price and you can only do that through perseverance, being there and being the best in your field.
You know the most important thing and you provide it as part of your service as well, you’ve got to make sure what your importing is what you initially set out to buy so that is why we try to inspect every shipment that comes to us cause once its arrived in the point of destination whether it be Australia or anywhere else in the world. If the fabrics been downgraded, if the flags the wrong size you cant do anything about it.
Like with every business it’s the 80/20 rule we get 80% of our sales from 20% of our lines, so range rationalization is critical and as part of range rationalization your looking at stock turn, use of working capital, I would like to dramatically improve our stock turn.
Third one I would say is staying creative, we’ve got to be looking at offering new products that are better, in every sense and when I say in quality, design, price.
When you’re a relatively small business which we are and you are dealing with major retailers if you get a large order, it’s the funding of that – needing seven figure numbers in working capital. Trade finance provides a solution. Now we’ve got it up and running its highlighted to us that that is an area we can really grow our business quite effectively without requiring additional funds. I can now go out and get providing its within our limits, we can go out and get multi million dollar orders that we just couldn’t have done before.