Exporting is a challenging wicket, as ex-Black Cap Dion Nash discovered when he entered the game with his skincare range. But his brand is scoring big globally.
Starting a men’s skincare business might seem a far cry for former Black Cap Dion Nash, but his company Triumph & Disaster (T&D) is making waves internationally.
Nash admits an impressive international career spanning almost ten years (93 test wickets) doesn’t compare to the challenge of running his own business.
“I found business harder to begin with, as there is just so much to do and lots of it is out of your hands – whereas with sport you can focus on just your role.
“Sport tends to be lots of peaks and intense short periods that you then get to back away from and relax, whereas business is more sustained and long-term challenges and stress.”
After retiring from cricket, Nash went on to work in broadcasting and as a selector for the Black Caps. He also got involved with an up-and-coming vodka company called 42Below, where he was guided by Business Bakery’s Geoff Ross, Steve Sinclair and Grant Baker.
After three years, 42Below was sold to Bacardi for $138 million, prompting Nash to start his own company in 2011.
Since then, T&D has had steady growth in all its key markets and “significant” growth in Asia, Nash says. The business, which is 80 percent export, is competing against some of the world’s biggest skincare brands.
His products are now sold in approximately 800 stores globally. New Zealand makes up 20 percent of the business’s sales, Australia 24 percent, and the US, Asia and UK each make up about 14 to 15 percent.
Nash says he is proud to have established strong brand loyalty with customers – a factor that inspires him to keep delivering great customer experiences.
The name ‘Triumph & Disaster’ defines his injury-hampered cricketing career, which many suggest was cut short in his prime. Like cricket, running T&D hasn’t been all plain sailing.
He says the biggest challenge he has faced has been finding the right channels to sell the brand in and the right partners globally to help build sales and brand profile.
“We are striving to do better in this regard. We are competing against global corporates with huge budgets, so it’s always a battle. But it only takes one great partner who believes in you and the brand, and who has the capabilities to promote and sell, and you can achieve a huge amount together.”
A time to hustle
Nash has seen all the benefits of being a Kiwi operating in international markets.
“Kiwis are well liked, and we still have a strong green story which helps. But beyond that we are a small nation that no one really cares about, so you need to hustle.”
He says his best piece of advice for budding entrepreneurs and exporters would be to take the first step. “If you are an entrepreneur, start. If you are an exporter, get on a plane.”
He’s had a bold vision for T&D since day one, and says he has some “very aggressive” growth targets for the next year.
“But always you need to make sure your fundamentals are in place for growth. It’s easy for the wheels to get wobbly if you don’t.
“We aim to continue our growth curve and consolidate our systems so that we can increase profitability and, in turn, spend more to grow the brand.”
This article first appeared in the September 2019 issue of NZBusiness. Supplied by Catherine Beard, executive dirtector of ExportNZ and ManufacturingNZ.