Health drinks company No Ugly is riding the wave of New Zealand’s new-found popularity.
The Auckland-based company has recently signed distribution deals with Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates, Australia and China.
It was already exporting to the United States and Venezuela and has Singapore, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam lined up for further distribution deals next year.
No Ugly co-founder Aaron Taylor said the newly signed deals were an incredible feat after what had been a challenging year with disruption from Covid-19.
The wellness tonics and beverage firm has spent much of the year fielding enquiries from international distributors from 14 different markets. Taylor said distribution into Dubai and Abu Dhabi opened up distribution for the greater Middle East – a big opportunity for growth.
Taylor said the spotlight was currently on New Zealand, having managed the pandemic so well, and international distributors were increasingly looking to stock brands from Aotearoa.
“When there’s adversity there’s opportunity,” Taylor told the Herald.
“It’s an exciting time; taking an awful situation and turning it into a good one.”
The business is now busier than ever, and had recently ramped up its manufacturing capacity from making between 5-10,000 litres of product every three months to now producing 100,000 litres – an additional 400,000 bottles each quarter.
When New Zealand went into lockdown in April, Taylor was scared for what the future would mean for his business. But come June, July things were looking up.
“We had steady growth right up until the lockdown, but it wasn’t setting our hair on fire – it was nothing like what’s happening now,” said Taylor.
The three-year-old company is forecast to hit $5 million in revenue by the end of 2021, and to break even and be profitable from March.
Taylor only recently started taking a salary about three months ago.
“We’ve gone from just me and my wife moonlighting, and a few other people helping out, to a staff book of eight, with great team culture and everybody’s excited because you can see the growth every month.”
The strategy for No Ugly is to secure more international markets for distribution to establish itself as a global export company, before it branches out into new categories including focusing on creating skincare and topical products.
It is also developing a natural chewing gum product.
“Brand New Zealand is incredibly strong right now so we’d be mad not to capitalise on that.
“I would encourage other brands that have the capability or desire to export to get stuck into it,” he said. “It’s a freaky situation, whether you liked it or not, the way our Government locked us down is going to pay off in international stakes big time.”
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