Over the last few years exports have been firmly on the mind of the founder of MooGoo, Craig Jones.
The Gold Coast-based skincare company has taken off overseas, thanks primarily to its status as a natural remedy for skin problems like eczema and psoriasis.
But for Jones the export game can be summed up neatly by Coldplay's Chris Martin: 'Nobody said it was easy. No one ever said it would be this hard."
Export can be challenging. Language barriers, cultural discrepancies and local red tape are some hurdles few businesses manage to overcome.
This is especially true in a country like China where undertakings like animal testing are expressly required to receive certification for sale, and broadly speaking exporting into Asia where being able to translate marketing material can prove problematic.
These are just some of the roadblocks faced by Jones as his business MooGoo, founded 14 years ago in Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast, becomes an internationally renowned skincare brand.
"English-speaking markets like the UK, US and New Zealand are receptive to MooGoo because we can do it our way there because we speak the language. It's that simple," says Jones.
"In other markets we've burned a few times with people that promise a lot but because you don't speak the language, you can't read the language, you aren't sure what they're actually doing. What they're doing is things that are either useless or they're not doing anything at all."
While these problems are relatively common to most Australians attempting to export overseas, MooGoo and other skincare brands share a problem in common when it comes to China: animal testing.
As a result, Craig says he's had to find alternative routes into the massive market via things like Daigou.
"Our future in China will be online only, because we have a lot of Chinese Australians that like MooGoo. But we haven't broken through properly into the Daigou market, though we do between $300,000 and $400,000 in the Daigou market, but when you compare it to how A2 Milk does with export to China it isn't that much," laughs Craig.
At the heart of the brand's success in its major markets is of course its dedication to selling a natural remedy. But Craig says just slapping "natural" on the bottle and calling it a day is not enough for consumers these days; the product needs to work.
"What we're about is making a product using ingredients that I'm happy to use, I'm happy to give it to my children, and it works," says Craig.
"What we're trying to do is make something that's healthy for you, and not try and exploit that 'natural' trend."
This month MooGoo is ramping up its eco efforts and offering discounted refills of most of its products to celebrate Plastic Free July.
Visitors to the company's carbon neutral facility, which already uses solar power and recycles its own water, can not only get refills but prizes and giveaways are up for grabs too.
"Usually MooGoo has a Refill Event once a month and so far we have saved 2,935 plastic bottles - that's 147kg of plastic that has been reused," says Craig.
At MooGoo we're planet lovers and we just don't say it because is cool now - we actually try to support that claim in every way we can. We know we can't go 100 per cent plastic free but we try our best."
"One of those ways is trying to reduce the amount of plastic bottles we use and encourage our customers to do it as well. That's why we have our Refill Events, and we also launched our one litre sizes and five litres sizes to encourage our customers to buy bulk and refill."
"Our tubes are made with 30 per cent post-consumer recycled (PCR) and are recyclable at end of life, and we make our bottles with plastic that would have otherwise gone to landfill, and we're make our products in Australia, reducing our carbon footprint."
As for the future of MooGoo, Craig says it is sometimes impossible to predict which way the tide will take the business but he is more than proud of what he's already built.
"The difficulty is, things change so quickly that you have to be reactive to some extent," says Craig.
"You never know which way things are going to go. Three or four years ago, Chemist Warehouse was just a blip on the radar."
"All I want now is not just for me to be happy in my job, but my colleagues to be happy too. My aim is just job satisfaction. We are not on the lookout for stock market listing or anything in particular right now I just want to be satisfied, which I am."
Business News Australia
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