Skip to main content
By Glenn Baker.
As a rule, New Zealand food and beverage brands are trialled in the domestic market before being launched offshore. With nakd, however, the reverse applied.
The business was set up in July 2013 with a view to supplying a high end ultra-pure New Zealand bottled water offering in Singapore, explains the founder and CEO of nakd, Jamie Gripton. “The company founders happened to all be based in Singapore where we saw a gap in the market. However, we had such a huge response from [other] overseas markets that we decided to explore those opportunities [before launching in New Zealand]. 
“Our business has grown pretty organically and it wasn’t an intentional move to not be in New Zealand until now, says Jamie. “It was more about making sure we had the right partner to manage the brand. 
“When Lion said they wanted to distribute nakd in New Zealand and the Pacific Islands it was a pretty easy decision to bring nakd home,” he says. 
A great deal of thought went into the creation of the nakd brand.
“Our mission was to create a lifestyle brand of water that was not only incredible tasting, superior in purity and mineral DNA, but also had personality and didn’t take itself so seriously,” explains Jamie. “The brand is inclusive not exclusive, and we wanted it to be accessible to everyone, not just the elitist few. 
“I think this has been our key to success; not trying to be anything more than we are, which is a beautiful and pure New Zealand artesian water. 
“We wanted people to engage with the brand and for people to be able to see it as an extension of their personality or what they want from life. Simple, pure, natural and stylish. Our mantra is that ‘less is more’, he says.  
“The star of the show was always going to be the water,” continues Jamie, “but the incredible quality needed to be mirrored by the bottle it was served in. We engaged Thomas Finn from Juice 3D to help create a bottle that was simple yet sexy. Elegance, yet with practicality for serving and drinking easily. 
“We also came up with having Braille on the bottle with the idea that drinking water could be an experience, and that you don’t have to see to enjoy beauty.” 
The strategy has paid off big-time for the company. It is growing at a reasonably fast pace and it is predicted that there’ll be substantially more growth in Asia and Middle East over the next 18 months. 
“Our biggest markets, however, will continue to be South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore for now,” says Jamie. “But our goal is to be the most accessible premium New Zealand water brand in Asia by 2018.”
The water opportunity
Currently bottled water is growing double digits worldwide year on year. Demand for high quality natural water brands such as Nakd is continuing to grow due to the buying behaviours of a more discerning consumer, says Jamie.
“New Zealand exports less than one percent of available water as bottled water, with most of the water allocation being used for dairy and agriculture, so there is capacity to make New Zealand a major exporter of water if more transparency and accurate reporting on the industry is available. “Right now we are limited by capacity and cost to produce, so there will be a ceiling for New Zealand waters on the global stage unless more support is provided. 
“The demand is there and it’s growing. As a country we should be getting behind bottled water manufacturing. It could be one of the biggest export opportunities; one that not only brings money in but creates jobs too,” he says.
In terms of challenges in building the nakd business since 2013, somewhat surprisingly Jamie believes the biggest one was around supply chain in New Zealand. 
“It’s twice as expensive for us to create the same product here as it would be in Europe, for example, and, as we use 100 percent New Zealand-made products such as bottles, cartons and labels we are reliant on a very small supplier network. 
“The challenge is then getting the customer to understand the benefits of drinking our boutique water, and why the price that’s attached to it is higher than a mass produced cheap water coming out of a country like France, for example, which is highly industrialised and nowhere near as pure as New Zealand.” 
It’s early days yet to gauge the success of the nakd brand on the domestic market – but meanwhile it’s not stopping Jamie’s intention to grow the business globally and secure investment to allow nakd to expand its product range. 
It’s a case of pure, nakd export ambition.
Glenn Baker is editor of NZBusiness and Exporter.
Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


Dishing up export possibilities

Exporter Today Editorial TeamExporter Today Editorial TeamApril 16, 2012

What’s mine is not yours

Exporter Today Editorial TeamExporter Today Editorial TeamApril 16, 2012

25 countries… and counting

Exporter Today Editorial TeamExporter Today Editorial TeamApril 16, 2012