Small business heroes: inspiring tales of hardship and success
The David Awards: Heroes in Small Business is the first national business award programme for small, micro and home businesses in New Zealand. We were delighted to hear that Leatherwise was placed as a Finalist in the David Awards for their new Solo Meo category.
For more information, see the Media Release.
"There's so much plastic in this culture that vinyl leopard skin is becoming an endangered synthetic."
Recently I received a call from the concerned owner of a black "leather" lounge suite who described it as having some scratches which were getting worse and could I please come and have a look. When I first arrived I was a little puzzled at their appearance until I made a closer inspection. The suite was not leather at all, but vinyl. This was quite a shock to my client, who told me the salesman at a large furniture retailer where she purchased it two years ago had assured her that it was leather.
Some furniture retailers have in the past got into trouble with the Commerce Commission for passing off synthetic "leather" products as the genuine article, and this has resulted in changes in advertising which is good news for the consumer. Fortunately, in the above instance the retailer was able to resolve the matter to our client's satisfaction. Always nice to see a happy ending!
The following advertorial appeared in the December 3, 2013, issue of the Wairarapa Midweek, and it seems to have struck a chord with its readers. Since its publication we've had a number of calls from people with leather furnishings in need of love and attention!
We've just received some great feedback from the judges of The David Awards: Heroes in Small Business, where Leatherwise attained Multiple Finalist status for the second year in a row, something that our little Wairarapa business is really proud of! — See Blog post of 09/10/2013.
Included in the feedback were the following comments about our approach to marketing:
"Andre, the judges believe you are a branding hero. You have embraced pretty much all the new age marketing platforms available to promote your services very effectively. Quite impressive, considering the traditional craft-based sector you operate in. You are a previous successful entrant in these awards -- and the judges were impressed by the extra progress you have made in your business.
"The judges in the adversity category were impressed with the way that you have built your business in spite of health issues that must make your work challenging. Your commitment to continued learning and development is very impressive. We were delighted to see you are being recognised for your expertise. You were a worthy finalist in this category."
This and other feedback received from the judges about the quality of our business start-up last year are a great boost to us and confirm that we are not only on the right track but heading in the right direction.
A big THANK YOU to all our clients, friends, and suppliers for your ongoing support. We really do appreciate it!
The David Awards: Heroes in Small Business is the first national business award programme for small, micro and home businesses in New Zealand. We were delighted to hear that Leatherwise was placed as a Finalist in the David Awards for not just one but THREE categories for the second year in a row!
Earlier in the month I received a call from one of the promoters of the annual Made in Wairarapa Expo inviting Leatherwise to be one of the exhibitors. The Made in Wairarapa Expo is a huge event held to promote local businesses. This was my first time ever to do this kind of thing so I was a little nervous but decided to go ahead as it would be good exposure. (Sites were only $100 for the weekend.)
With only two days to spare, I organised some sign banners (designed by my brother and printed by local sign company The Sign Factory at a very good rate – “expo special” prices!), prepared a large-screen PowerPoint slide presentation featuring the photos from my website and Facebook page, offered a prize draw to win a Pelle Master Kit, then pretty much it was just down to me setting up and being there.
I had just picked up an Victorian leather armchair and matching footstool from a client and got her permission to use it as an exhibit. Also, it gave me something to do during the day (cleaning it and preparing it for refinishing… masking off the upholstery nails etc.) A lot of people were interested in seeing something being worked on and it proved to be a good conversation starter. The local newspaper also photographed me at work. I had a lot of enquiries, plenty of business cards were taken, and a lot of people stopped to ask questions or just watch the slide presentation.
It was a great experience and my wife and I enjoyed the opportunity to meet more of our wonderful Wairarapa people, both exhibitors and visitors alike.
We would like to thank all our valued clients, local businesses, and Facebook Page fans for your wonderful support during 2012. It has been an exciting first year for us!
Thanks especially to Lisa Carruthers of Wairarapa Business magazine for her wonderful editorial about us in the 2012 winter issue. Thanks also to Barbara Gillham for featuring us in the Wairarapa Times-Age following our success in the 2012 David Awards. Both articles have helped us gain valuable increased exposure, which has been so important in helping us get the Leatherwise name out into the local community.
We've got more news to share, but we'll save that for the new year! Until then, please enjoy a safe and happy time together with your families over the vacation period, and we look forward to being of service to you in 2013.
Andre Mendes da Costa
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." — Aristotle
One of our core values at Leatherwise is IMPROVEMENT. I have never been one to rest on my laurels, thinking that I have sufficient knowledge and experience that I no longer need to keep learning. As products are improved and professional techniques are modified, improvement comes only through proper training and upskilling.
With this in mind, I attended a IICRC Leather Cleaning Technician course held at Cleaning Systems Ltd in Auckland on 30-31 October.
This was the first time that this course has been taught in New Zealand. Instructor Steve Poulos, one of only six instructors for this course in the world, had come from the USA and has been teaching this course for over 25 years. I was the only industry representative from the lower North Island in attendance.
Some of things addressed by this two-day course included leather identification and cleaning techniques for professional on-location cleaners, restoration and inspection service providers, as well as other related industries. Emphasis was placed on theory, practical application, proper identification of leather types, soiling conditions and proper professional solutions to the cleaning challenges faced by the individuals performing the work in the field.
As a result of attending this IICRC-LCT course I felt primed and better prepared to meet the ongoing challenges relevant to leather cleaning and restoration, and I also look forward to passing on the benefits of such training to all my valued current and future clients.
"Even if you are on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." — Will Rogers
We just received some great feedback from the judges of The David Awards: Heroes in Small Business, where Leatherwise attained Multiple Finalist status, something that our little Wairarapa business is really proud of! — See Blog post of 25/09/2012.
Included in the judges' feedback were the following comments about our approach to marketing:
"Excellent consistency, appropriate promotions, good use of budget and doing the new media stuff too — Leatherwise walks the talk in terms of professionalism, image, and communications. A very good example of a small business that demonstrates professionalism far beyond what most small businesses do, but which is also appropriate to a small business."
This and other feedback received from the judges about the quality of our business start-up are a great boost to us and confirm that we are not only on the right track but heading in the right direction.
Photo: Lynda Feringa / Wairarapa Times-Age
Times-Age news headline:
"Young company nabs three places as finalist"
Ok, so it's not quite as bad as it sounds, but it made you look, didn't it?
The above article came about as the result of a visit by Wairarapa Times-Age reporter Barbara Gillham and photographer Lynda Feringa who called in yesterday for an interview and photo opportunity after hearing that Leatherwise had been named as a finalist in three categories for the David Awards, New Zealand's first national business award programme for small, micro, and home businesses.
We were thrilled to be in the running, as Leatherwise was the only business from our region to reach finalist status.
The David Awards: Heroes in Small Business is the first national business award programme for small, micro and home businesses in New Zealand.
We were excited to hear that Leatherwise has been named as a Finalist in the 2012 David Awards for not just one but THREE categories!
Leatherwise has been named as an entrant in The David Awards: Heroes in Small Business for 2012.
The David Awards is New Zealand's first national business award programme for small, micro, and home businesses.
The purpose of The David Awards is to recognise the unsung heroes in home and small businesses throughout New Zealand whose tenacity, courage and ingenuity place them firmly at the forefront of entrepreneurship in this country.
We are pleased to be included among other New Zealand businesses being considered for recognition.
It's official! After months of waiting, we were finally notified by IPONZ today that our application for Leatherwise to become a registered trade mark in New Zealand has been approved!
CLICK TO READ MAGAZINE ONLINE
With a headline like that, you can't help but wonder what on earth we're up to!
Wairarapa Business magazine editor Lisa Carruthers chose the above headline as the title of an editorial about Leatherwise in the Winter 2012 issue, which was published earlier this week.
When I first saw the headline I was surprised. I expected to see the one which appears on the cover page (right). Then I remembered that "going hell for leather" is an English idiom which basically means you are going for it! And that's exactly what we've been doing. (Click on the image to read the article.)
Wairarapa Business was launched in April 2011 to showcase just what businesses in the Wairarapa region have to offer, and we were approached by Lisa a few months ago about being featured in an editorial as one of the region's new and promising business ventures. Needless to say, we were delighted at the prospect!
We have been very impressed with Wairarapa Business. Right from its start in April 2011, the magazine has featured informative and inspiring business profiles, giveaways, practical tips and business advice. In addition, they maintain an active Facebook page which is friendly and Wairarapa-focused.
We look forward to future issues of this great local business resource, and thank Lisa for her excellent article about Leatherwise.
Last week I received a call from someone in South Wairarapa who said that they used to have their leather lounge suite cleaned by a company in Wellington but were delighted to see from our weekly advertisement in the Wairarapa Midweek that there was now a leather care company permanently based in Masterton.
What does that mean for you? Simply put, if you live in the Wairarapa, we will come to you.
It doesn't matter whether you live in town, by the beach, or on a distant rural property; if your leather upholstery needs cleaning and protecting, we can do that in your home, in your garage, or on your business premises at a time that is convenient to you. If you like, we can even valet your leather car seats while your vehicle is parked at your place of work!
If your leather upholstery requires more specialised attention, such as repairs, refinishing, or recolouring, then we need to do that in our workshop, which is in Masterton. In that case, you have two options: transport it yourself, or we can help you with it. Either way, you win: it's a lot cheaper (not to mention closer) than taking it over the hill to Wellington or Palmerston North.
We love the Wairarapa, and we like to help people out no matter where they live. We have clients in Carterton, Featherston, Greytown, Martinborough, Castlepoint, and Riversdale, and if needed we are prepared to travel to Eketahuna, Pahiatua, Ngawi, Palliser Bay, and even Western Lake Road (hear that, Mr James Cameron?). :-)
Oh, and yes, some of our clients live in Wellington!