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GOLD! I Built A Worldwide Business From Broke.

Carol Jones

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Thank you for sharing this story, Carol. I hope you'll enjoy your new home. Please post some pictures when the house is ready! I'd love to see pictures of the land, too.

What are you going to use for electricity? Solar?

Are you going to keep manufacturing in NSW or are you looking to move it to Victoria, too?
G'day again @MTF,

We have to be totally off the grid. So it will be solar power. There are problems with that. Backup at night is by battery. And so far we can only find battery backup for 15Kw. More than that, and a diesel backup is required. The refrigerator is the problem. Finding one that's big enough. That won't drain the battery at night. So we will probably opt for battery and diesel backup.

There are larger refrigerators for solar available in the USA. But so far Australia doesn't have large ones. Only very small ones. And as we can't shop every day for fresh food. The tyranny of distance raising its head. It's going to be a challenge.

The manufacturing is absolutely staying with our sewing company. Who have been our partners for 25 years. 'Made with love and care in rural Australia by men and women who have a disability' is what opens peoples hearts to buying our products.

The downside is the time it takes for stock to arrive from NSW to Victoria. 5 working days. As opposed to overnight when we were in NSW.

We'll adjust. I just need to keep larger quantities of stock.

Thank you for being interested. I love that! ~Carol❤
 

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MTF

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We have to be totally off the grid. So it will be solar power. There are problems with that. Backup at night is by battery. And so far we can only find battery backup for 15Kw. More than that, and a diesel backup is required. The refrigerator is the problem. Finding one that's big enough. That won't drain the battery at night. So we will probably opt for battery and diesel backup.
How about Tesla Powerwalls? Tesla Powerwall You could buy two of them and have 26 kWh.

Here's an Australian case study: Living with the Tesla Powerwall: the first Australian case study
 

Carol Jones

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How about Tesla Powerwalls? Tesla Powerwall You could buy two of them and have 26 kWh.

Here's an Australian case study: Living with the Tesla Powerwall: the first Australian case study
G'day @MTF,

Thank you for this. Victor is very interested.

He's been talking to solar power installers and no one in this area has ever installed a Tesla battery. So no one recommends them. And no one will install one.

This is a very small area. The tradespeople come from 2 hours away. And many won't come here at all. (No one fixes washing machines. We have to put it on a courier truck. And courier it to the nearest Miele repair centre 3 hours away. Just did this!)

If Victor can read about an installation. And talk to someone about their experience. It will help him in his quest to find a qualified installer.

So. Once again, @MTF, your links are appreciated.

I don't know your gender. Or where you live. I clicked on your avatar. But was told I am unable to view your profile. So you're a complete mystery!

I'll keep you up to date on our quest for a superior solar backup battery. ~Carol❤
 

Sunni

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Wow! Wonderful thread. Thank you, Carol, for sharing your story and taking the time to answer questions.
 

JWM

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Love this thread. I always spot it when I jump onto the forum and I take a quick read through to get the juices flowing again. I'm based in Melbourne and I'm in the early days of my journey, which mostly feels like i'm neck deep in mud, but I'm pushing through! Congrats on the success and thanks for the all the info shared.

Josh
 

Carol Jones

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Love this thread. I always spot it when I jump onto the forum and I take a quick read through to get the juices flowing again. I'm based in Melbourne and I'm in the early days of my journey, which mostly feels like i'm neck deep in mud, but I'm pushing through! Congrats on the success and thanks for the all the info shared.

Josh
G'day @JWM,

Thank you so much! I love reading this.

I'm now closer to your part of Australia.

My partner, Victor Pleshev, the architect who designed the Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover for his mother, and I left NSW in December. With no fixed location in mind. Just a desire to start anew. Again reinvent ourselves. In another beautiful location.

We've just purchased 40 hectares ( 100 acres) in Swifts Creek, Victoria. Not far from Omeo. In the High Country of the Victorian Alps.

The property is very steep. And Victor will design and build a house for us at the very top. We have panoramic views of a valley of farms below. And are surrounded by the rugged - and beautiful - hills of the Victorian Alps. The views are truly sensational.

Regarding being stuck neck deep in mud. I'm not sure that ever goes away. Being successful doesn't mean you no longer have problems. You just have different problems. And one of the problems is being too complacent. Because you no longer need to hustle as hard as you did before.

That hustle is what motivates many people. And is one of the reasons we're doing what we're doing. At a time when many people our age are putting their feet up. Looking forward to a quieter life.

We still have our business. And will continue to grow it in our new location.

What are your dreams? I'd love to know. I hope to hear from you again. ~Carol❤
 

JWM

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G'day @JWM,

Thank you so much! I love reading this.

I'm now closer to your part of Australia.

My partner, Victor Pleshev, the architect who designed the Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover for his mother, and I left NSW in December. With no fixed location in mind. Just a desire to start anew. Again reinvent ourselves. In another beautiful location.

We've just purchased 40 hectares ( 100 acres) in Swifts Creek, Victoria. Not far from Omeo. In the High Country of the Victorian Alps.

The property is very steep. And Victor will design and build a house for us at the very top. We have panoramic views of a valley of farms below. And are surrounded by the rugged - and beautiful - hills of the Victorian Alps. The views are truly sensational.

Regarding being stuck neck deep in mud. I'm not sure that ever goes away. Being successful doesn't mean you no longer have problems. You just have different problems. And one of the problems is being too complacent. Because you no longer need to hustle as hard as you did before.

That hustle is what motivates many people. And is one of the reasons we're doing what we're doing. At a time when many people our age are putting their feet up. Looking forward to a quieter life.

We still have our business. And will continue to grow it in our new location.

What are your dreams? I'd love to know. I hope to hear from you again. ~Carol❤

Thanks for the reply Carol, really appreciate it.

Sounds like you're describing the dream with that location, that is incredible. The closest I've been to that area is Lakes Entrance and Marlo, of which I recommend.

I should have described the mud part a little better. I think it has more to do with so much happening but not getting a lot of those positive echoes (sales, strong interest etc.). It will be a different story once things are thriving a bit more. I enjoy the uncertainty of going after something new, but not for this amount of time.

As for my dreams, a family and working on a business that solves environmental issues, getting it going then moving on to the next problem.

To start with though, I am currently working on a couple of projects with my business partner which are starting to gain some interest with the right people. So we may have a busy few months on the way, fingers crossed. I am going to make a post about all this soon.

Then for those material dreams, a rural property maybe near the Otways (Great ocean road area, I need to be near the ocean, still need to learn to surf!) with a big workshop. I'm an Engineer and I need to use my hands, I must have a workshop. Being able to spend time on my hobbies to make things without relying on them for income. A Kingswood HZ, motorcycle and the freedom to fly where I want and when. Simple? Yes, but that's how I like it.

Thanks again for the reply, it's great to speak to someone local who has been through it all.

Josh
 

The-J

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G'day again @pkom79

I really appreciate all your information about online advertising. You've gone to a great deal of trouble to put together facts to support your belief in its value.

But you and I will have to agree to disagree on its value for my products.

I don't make that decision lightly. I am very erudite regarding digital marketing. I've been immersed in it for many years. And spend my hard earned $$$$ to keep learning about it. More than 99.99% of other people.

I also frequently attend webinars about the virtues of online advertising. Including Facebook advertising. Wanting to be convinced. I've not yet had one convince me it was worth spending my money on.

Perhaps it's because I strongly believe that personal communication is more powerful than online anonymity. I'm a big user of the telephone. All my joint ventures have been put together over the phone. I ring customers regularly just to say G'day. And learn about them. Which helps my marketing.

The biggest waste of time is to constantly seek new customers. The best use of time is to cultivate my existing customers. So I can discover how I can create new customers. From my existing customers.

I look for opportunities to move from online. To offline. That's where I excel. And I knock the socks off people who only depend on online conversions.

I'm sure there are many people on this forum who would leap at the opportunity to get help from you. And I appreciate your offer to me. If I change my mind, I'll let you know. ~Carol❤
Hi Carol:

I do a lot of digital marketing. And people who know me may be surprised at this, but I don't think paid advertising is a sustainable long term business model.

I might have said somewhere that your business is 'different' but it's not. At all. You sell a product that solves a problem and has a unique selling proposition and high salient benefit. That's literally every business that makes it work long term.

You, on the other hand, ARE different.

Paid advertising might work for your business. But it probably will not work for YOU. You don't roll that day. You care more about your customers proselytizing for you than you do about trying to acquire them with the new-fangled techniques of the 'pros'.

I have a rant about digital advertising but that's for some other day. Just know that I believe that organic growth is more indicative of the health of a business than increases in ROAS or ad spend or what have you.

JT
 

Carol Jones

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Hi Carol:

I do a lot of digital marketing. And people who know me may be surprised at this, but I don't think paid advertising is a sustainable long term business model.

I might have said somewhere that your business is 'different' but it's not. At all. You sell a product that solves a problem and has a unique selling proposition and high salient benefit. That's literally every business that makes it work long term.

You, on the other hand, ARE different.

Paid advertising might work for your business. But it probably will not work for YOU. You don't roll that day. You care more about your customers proselytizing for you than you do about trying to acquire them with the new-fangled techniques of the 'pros'.

I have a rant about digital advertising but that's for some other day. Just know that I believe that organic growth is more indicative of the health of a business than increases in ROAS or ad spend or what have you.

JT
G'day @The-J from Oz,

Wow! That's an unexpected response from a digital marketer.

Thank you!

I've often thought about putting on my website that I don't engage in predatory marketing activities.

Because this is my experience with digital marketers and paid advertising.

In 2015 my partner and I scoured the web for new chairs for our dining room. We looked at many sites before we made our decision.

It was then that I noticed that everywhere I went on the web, there were ads on sites I was visiting. From sites that I had visited for chairs.

I genuinely felt harassed. And was annoyed at being stalked.

To make matters worse, the company we purchased our chairs from stalked me relentlessly for weeks after our purchase.

I had no trouble making the decision that I would reward them for their efforts by never making another purchase from them again.

I then discovered AdBlocker. Which is now on every browser I use.

If I visit a site. And am blocked by the site from viewing its contents unless I turn off AdBlocker. I click off.

I've also noticed recently that the New York Times. For which I have a paid subscription. Is now asking me to disable AdBlocker. Which I refuse to do.

That's why I have a paid subscription. To stop being pursued by predatory marketers.

I also despise those popups from the side that tell me Joe from wherever has just purchased whatever I'm looking at. I hate them so much. I click off the site.

I don't need to be bludgeoned into making a buying decision. I'm intelligent enough to know how to collect information. Assess it. And make a decision.

I assume that my customers are also intelligent enough to make a buying decision. Or not. After they assess whatever it is I've provided in the way of information about my products.

The last thing I want is for someone to regret purchasing one of my products.

I assume that I don't make as many sales as a snake oil salesperson. But nor do I want to. I want solid customers. Who love what they spent their hard earned cash on. And who also love the way they are treated with courtesy. Dignity. And respect. And who come back again and again. And introduce me to their family. And friends.

These are the people who send me postcards from their trips. Email me when they're sick to keep me up to date. Or to share a happy event. Or when they change addresses. Or just to drop in to say G'day.

Over 26 years, this is how I've built my business to where it is today.

We are all a product of our experiences.

When I was 13 years old, I got my first job. Working Saturdays in a department store. It's a job I kept until I left for university when I was 17.

I learned a great deal about how to treat customers from that Saturday job.

That some customers are aloof. And want no help.

That others love it when a sales assistant helps them make a buying decision that they're struggling with.

I also learned that no one likes to be stalked. That is. Followed around the store. And leapt upon if they pick something up to look at it.

I've seen sales assistants do this. And I've seen people leave the store because of it.

This is what digital advertising is. Stalking people. And leaping on them when they pause for a moment to look at something.

In my day, these people were called pests. Today. I call them online marketing predators.

I've disengaged Messenger from all my Facebook pages because I can't stand the mindless approaches made by people who know nothing about me. Asking me to buy something I'm not at all interested in.

It's refreshing to read your opinion, JT. Which isn't shared by the majority of online marketers. I'm almost always shouted down when I tell people I do no online advertising.

Thank you for taking the time to drop in. Say G'day. And share your opinion with me. ~Carol❤
 

Carol Jones

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Wow! Wonderful thread. Thank you, Carol, for sharing your story and taking the time to answer questions.
G'day @Sunni from rural Australia,

I was positive I responded to your lovely comment. So forgive me for my tardiness in saying thank you so much.

And welcome to The Fastlane Forum. You'll find so many people here who are willing to help you. Share information. Give free advice.

I wish you well on your journey to being whatever you want to be. And thank you for taking the time to read my thread. ~Carol❤
 

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Carol Jones

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Thanks for the reply Carol, really appreciate it.

Sounds like you're describing the dream with that location, that is incredible. The closest I've been to that area is Lakes Entrance and Marlo, of which I recommend.

I should have described the mud part a little better. I think it has more to do with so much happening but not getting a lot of those positive echoes (sales, strong interest etc.). It will be a different story once things are thriving a bit more. I enjoy the uncertainty of going after something new, but not for this amount of time.

As for my dreams, a family and working on a business that solves environmental issues, getting it going then moving on to the next problem.

To start with though, I am currently working on a couple of projects with my business partner which are starting to gain some interest with the right people. So we may have a busy few months on the way, fingers crossed. I am going to make a post about all this soon.

Then for those material dreams, a rural property maybe near the Otways (Great ocean road area, I need to be near the ocean, still need to learn to surf!) with a big workshop. I'm an Engineer and I need to use my hands, I must have a workshop. Being able to spend time on my hobbies to make things without relying on them for income. A Kingswood HZ, motorcycle and the freedom to fly where I want and when. Simple? Yes, but that's how I like it.

Thanks again for the reply, it's great to speak to someone local who has been through it all.

Josh
G'day @JWM,

LOVE your dreams! Both material. And professional.

You've identified several things that are so important to you personally. Your need to work with your hands. Have a workshop. And have hobbies that aren't connected to being a source of income.

Too many people don't take the time to identify their needs. And feel frustrated and unfulfilled throughout much of their life. Because they don't really know what's missing.

They drift through life. Hoping that one day, happiness will find them. Instead. It's our obligation to identify. Find. And indulge in. The things that make us happy. And fulfilled in life.

I love motorbikes. So can appreciate your enthusiasm for having one.

Your freedom to fly where and when. Is part of your vision owning your own plane? Do you have a pilot's licence?

A Kingswood HZ. That brings back memories. Of the late 1970's and early 1980's. They are a very big car! Parking spaces today are so small. Do they fit into one?

This is a link on Wikipedia to photos of the village Swifts Creek. Where we will be living this time next year.

Swifts Creek - Wikipedia

I think living along The Great Ocean Road would be as lovely as living along The Great Alpine Road. There is much about Victoria that's truly beautiful.

I love staying in touch. And hope I hear from you again. ~Carol❤
 

Tanu1234

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Good morning from rural Australia,

In a nutshell, my partner and I design and make textile products that are simple solutions for difficult problems. We have 400,000 customers in 30 countries around the world who think our products are the best thing since sliced bread. The icing on the cake is that all our products are made with love and care in rural Australia by men and women who have a disability. We are renown for our simple solutions that work. When others don't.

That's the event.

The process is this.

In 1992, my partner and I lost everything in Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating's 'recession we had to have'. We closed down two businesses. My partner's 12 year old architectural practice. My market research consultancy. We farewelled 16 loyal and supportive staff. We sold our home of 22 years. Two cars. And our personal possessions. To pay off what debt we could. And made a scheme of arrangement with our creditors to pay off the remaining debt.

Poor as church mice. We left the city lights of Sydney Australia. For a rural life in a remote village with no internet access. No email. Not even call waiting. But it met our most important criteria. We could live in a farmhouse whose rent we could afford to pay. The village was heavily affected by a severe drought. And the house was not a desirable place to live. But it was our safety net.

We made a decision to find our way back by utilising simple solutions. Our skills were in design. And research. So we reinvented ourselves as designers and makers of textile products. Our first product didn't capture the hearts of the marketplace. But our second product did. We redesigned the humble ironing board cover utilising a low tech solution to make sure it was firmly anchored to an ironing board. So it never moved. Which is what makes people hate ironing.

If you make one good product. Customers want more. So we designed 6 more textile products. And today we have more than 400,000 customers in 30 countries. Without any retail distribution. And all done online today. But in the beginning, it was all mail order.

We've been down dark alleys. Wondered if we were certifiably mad to keep doing what we were doing when ironing board covers are not top of mind with most people.

But we discovered they are very top of mind with men and women who must iron.

Even though the subject is not sexy, our products, and our story, have been written about in every major publication in Australia.

We've been featured on mainstream TV. Interviewed on radio. Included in two books. The latest being 'Hunch' by international best selling author Bernadette Jiwa. I'm the 'Ironing Whisperer' on page 73.

The process of working every day is what got us to where we are today.

We did what everyone said we couldn't do. We built a worldwide business from broke. On a remote rural property. Before the internet and email came to our rural village.

I'm here to mix with like minded men and women. I have 35 years of business experience to share. I've done the hard yards. And would love to be of help to those of you who can't see the light at the end of the tunnel.

And. I want to travel further along the road to wealth.

It will be a pleasure to meet you. ~Carol[emoji173]
Really amazing!

You turned adversity into prosperity.

How do you handle competition?

Generally everyone is copying idea.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Carol Jones

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Really amazing!

You turned adversity into prosperity.

How do you handle competition?

Generally everyone is copying idea.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Good morning @Tanu1234 from Oz,

Thank you for your very kind words.

How do we handle competition?

When I key in the search term ironing board cover/s into Google Australia, I'm told there are 19 million results that answer to the search term.

I have always operated in a very intensely competitive marketplace. Anyone can make an ironing board cover. And then sell it.

I have several advantages over everyone else in my market niche.

I have a background in direct marketing. So deeply understand the value of a database.

Because I worked Saturdays as a sales assistant in a department store from the age of 13 until the age of 17, when I left for university, I also intuitively understand that the customer I have in hand. And nurture as a friend and ally. Is more valuable to me than a customer who orders once. And never hears from me again except to ask them to buy again.

From the first sales I made in 1994 for my Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover. Either from mailorder ads in newspapers and magazines. Or from the 60,000kms a year we travelled for 14 years exhibiting at shows. I collected. And saved. Addresses. And later. Email addresses.

Using Australia Post. We mailed direct to customers until 2009. Frequently. And we made so many friends with my chatty newsletters. Brochures. And just plain down home messages to them that we love you and want to stay in touch.

In 2009, I stopped mailing because of the expense. And started emailing. The same messages. With the same frequency.

I developed a loyal customer base because I had the desire. And the skills. To devote to this labour intensive activity. I am not aware of anyone else in my industry doing this to the finite degree that I do. People want to do less work. Not more. In their business.

I also am a BIG user of the telephone. I am always struck by the surprise - and delight - I receive from customers/prospects who email me questions. And telephone them with the answers. No one uses the phone anymore other than to text. But to me. There is no replacement for the human voice in consolidating relationships.

Why don't people copy us?

There are several reasons why.

People copy a product because they think they can make it cheaper. And reap bigger profits by offering a copy at a lower price.

Our ironing board cover is difficult to make. And labour intensive. It's made with love and care in rural Australia by men and women who have a disability.

It can't be made cheaper in China. I've had people tell me they've priced it in China. And can't get a price low enough to compete with us.

We also keep our profit margins low. So it's not economically feasible to copy us. And make a bigger profit. Which is the main reason to copy a product.

When we started, we were thrown out of 3 sewing companies which employed able-bodied staff. To sum it up. The cover was a pain to make. Fiddly. We were too demanding. And no one wanted to work with us.

Why doesn't a competitor take it to another company who employs people with a disability? Because of the time it takes to train a person with a disability to do one task well. And only one task.

There are about 14 different men and women who have a disability who work on our products. Each person doing only one task. And then handing it over to the next person who's trained to do the next task.

We also have the slogan "Made with love and care in rural Australia by men and women who have a disability" locked up tight.

Our story - with our slogan - has been written about in every major publication in Australia. We've been featured on TV programs. Radio programs. In several countries. And will be featured on an international lifestyle program sometime in 2019. Filming was in September 2018.

Ironing board covers are a commodity product. No one thinks about them as anything important. You pop one into your shopping cart in the supermarket. Put it on your board. Complain about it. But go back and buy another cheapie.

We've dragged the humble ironing board cover out of the commodity bracket. And firmly placed it into the cult status bracket. For about a half a million people. All done with love. And care. For my customers.

There are roughly about 4 million ironing board covers sold every year in Australia. I don't want all those customers. I want the chosen few who appreciate quality. Are prepared to pay for it. And superb service. And who want to develop a relationship with me!

So I'm not encroaching on the territory of the cheap. I'm happy to let them have that market all to themselves. Therefore, I'm not seen as a threat to them.

To be truthful. Ironing board covers are low tech. Not glamourous. Associated with drudgery. Ironing is a hated chore. There are other market segments which are much more attractive to enter.

People still shake their heads in wonder that I can make a living out of ironing board covers.

Not many people are prepared to put in the labour of love that I do to create a thriving business out of something people hate doing.

I hope this answers your question @Tanu1234. And thank you for reading my story. And being interested in what we do.

I wish you all the best. And hope to hear from you again. ~Carol❤
 

Tanu1234

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Aug 4, 2018
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Good morning @Tanu1234 from Oz,

Thank you for your very kind words.

How do we handle competition?

When I key in the search term ironing board cover/s into Google Australia, I'm told there are 19 million results that answer to the search term.

I have always operated in a very intensely competitive marketplace. Anyone can make an ironing board cover. And then sell it.

I have several advantages over everyone else in my market niche.

I have a background in direct marketing. So deeply understand the value of a database.

Because I worked Saturdays as a sales assistant in a department store from the age of 13 until the age of 17, when I left for university, I also intuitively understand that the customer I have in hand. And nurture as a friend and ally. Is more valuable to me than a customer who orders once. And never hears from me again except to ask them to buy again.

From the first sales I made in 1994 for my Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover. Either from mailorder ads in newspapers and magazines. Or from the 60,000kms a year we travelled for 14 years exhibiting at shows. I collected. And saved. Addresses. And later. Email addresses.

Using Australia Post. We mailed direct to customers until 2009. Frequently. And we made so many friends with my chatty newsletters. Brochures. And just plain down home messages to them that we love you and want to stay in touch.

In 2009, I stopped mailing because of the expense. And started emailing. The same messages. With the same frequency.

I developed a loyal customer base because I had the desire. And the skills. To devote to this labour intensive activity. I am not aware of anyone else in my industry doing this to the finite degree that I do. People want to do less work. Not more. In their business.

I also am a BIG user of the telephone. I am always struck by the surprise - and delight - I receive from customers/prospects who email me questions. And telephone them with the answers. No one uses the phone anymore other than to text. But to me. There is no replacement for the human voice in consolidating relationships.

Why don't people copy us?

There are several reasons why.

People copy a product because they think they can make it cheaper. And reap bigger profits by offering a copy at a lower price.

Our ironing board cover is difficult to make. And labour intensive. It's made with love and care in rural Australia by men and women who have a disability.

It can't be made cheaper in China. I've had people tell me they've priced it in China. And can't get a price low enough to compete with us.

We also keep our profit margins low. So it's not economically feasible to copy us. And make a bigger profit. Which is the main reason to copy a product.

When we started, we were thrown out of 3 sewing companies which employed able-bodied staff. To sum it up. The cover was a pain to make. Fiddly. We were too demanding. And no one wanted to work with us.

Why doesn't a competitor take it to another company who employs people with a disability? Because of the time it takes to train a person with a disability to do one task well. And only one task.

There are about 14 different men and women who have a disability who work on our products. Each person doing only one task. And then handing it over to the next person who's trained to do the next task.

We also have the slogan "Made with love and care in rural Australia by men and women who have a disability" locked up tight.

Our story - with our slogan - has been written about in every major publication in Australia. We've been featured on TV programs. Radio programs. In several countries. And will be featured on an international lifestyle program sometime in 2019. Filming was in September 2018.

Ironing board covers are a commodity product. No one thinks about them as anything important. You pop one into your shopping cart in the supermarket. Put it on your board. Complain about it. But go back and buy another cheapie.

We've dragged the humble ironing board cover out of the commodity bracket. And firmly placed it into the cult status bracket. For about a half a million people. All done with love. And care. For my customers.

There are roughly about 4 million ironing board covers sold every year in Australia. I don't want all those customers. I want the chosen few who appreciate quality. Are prepared to pay for it. And superb service. And who want to develop a relationship with me!

So I'm not encroaching on the territory of the cheap. I'm happy to let them have that market all to themselves. Therefore, I'm not seen as a threat to them.

To be truthful. Ironing board covers are low tech. Not glamourous. Associated with drudgery. Ironing is a hated chore. There are other market segments which are much more attractive to enter.

People still shake their heads in wonder that I can make a living out of ironing board covers.

Not many people are prepared to put in the labour of love that I do to create a thriving business out of something people hate doing.

I hope this answers your question @Tanu1234. And thank you for reading my story. And being interested in what we do.

I wish you all the best. And hope to hear from you again. ~Carol❤
Me too like human voice than text... But friends generally do text only o_O

I think having good intention is secret of your success. :clap:::clap::

Before 6 years, when I started business, I was thinking " money is everything" but then realized that we cant get satisfaction in work by merely making money. Customer satisfaction, employees happiness, human connection and our good intention - all are necessary to stay in business in long run. Entrepreneurs like you remind us these things.:smile2::smile2:
 

LinorCG

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Ironing board covers are a commodity product. No one thinks about them as anything important. You pop one into your shopping cart in the supermarket. Put it on your board. Complain about it. But go back and buy another cheapie.
G'day from Melbourne! :)

I believe it's because people get used to the thinking of the bigger crowd..."this is how it works and I should get used to it."

Got really inspired with your story, congratulations and more success to you!
 

Carol Jones

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G'day from Melbourne! :)

I believe it's because people get used to the thinking of the bigger crowd..."this is how it works and I should get used to it."

Got really inspired with your story, congratulations and more success to you!
And G'day to you @LinorCG!

We all fall into that pattern, don't we? We know something should be better. But it isn't. And the energy required to find an alternative. Or create an alternative. May not be how we want to spend our time.

I have a long list of . . . "I wonder if the manufacturer has ever tried to open/use their product?"

Included in that list are:

Ring top pulls on cans. Which break before you start.

Ditto for the pull strip on containers of cream.

Soft drink bottles that can't be opened.

Vitamin pill bottles with inner seals that can't be removed without a jackhammer.

Cardboard wine casks which aren't held together with enough glue to keep the ends from separating.

Wine casks with a perforation so tight. You can't pull the nozzle of the wine cask out without destroying the cardboard.

Tissues in boxes that DON'T pull out one at a time.

Childproof caps that are adult proof as well.

Et al.

We're almost near neighbours. Only 5 hours (400+kms) separate us!

What do you do? What do you hope to do?

Thank you for your kind words. It's also a privilege to meet you. And I look forward to you dropping in to say G'day again. ~Carol❤
 

LinorCG

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And G'day to you @LinorCGThank you for your kind words. It's also a privilege to meet you. And I look forward to you dropping in to say G'day again. ~Carol❤
Indeed, those simple things that we encounter in our daily lives but we don't even bother to think about. I think you have already shifted your thinking to a "Problem Solver", which is my goal too. :)

Currently, I'm in IT, I was very lucky I was granted a PR and I'm now saving as much as I can to restart my dream (after the big mess I did with my hard earned cash while I was in my native country - poor investment decisions). I also sell some things in Amazon, we have to start somewhere, learning the ropes on how to sell to an audience. 'Coz later on, I would like to create my own product just like what you did.

Thanks for the reply and maybe someday I can say G'day personally. Have a good one.
 

VIVEKSINGHJADONS

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Your story is truly inspiring. It is really appreciating that you answer each and every post and that too genuinely and with a pure heart and real words. Thanks again.
 

Vangoue

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And G'day to you @LinorCG!

We all fall into that pattern, don't we? We know something should be better. But it isn't. And the energy required to find an alternative. Or create an alternative. May not be how we want to spend our time.

I have a long list of . . . "I wonder if the manufacturer has ever tried to open/use their product?"

Included in that list are:

Ring top pulls on cans. Which break before you start.

Ditto for the pull strip on containers of cream.

Soft drink bottles that can't be opened.

Vitamin pill bottles with inner seals that can't be removed without a jackhammer.

Cardboard wine casks which aren't held together with enough glue to keep the ends from separating.

Wine casks with a perforation so tight. You can't pull the nozzle of the wine cask out without destroying the cardboard.

Tissues in boxes that DON'T pull out one at a time.

Childproof caps that are adult proof as well.

Et al.

We're almost near neighbours. Only 5 hours (400+kms) separate us!

What do you do? What do you hope to do?

Thank you for your kind words. It's also a privilege to meet you. And I look forward to you dropping in to say G'day again. ~Carol❤
Hi Carol, I'm a newbie to this forum reading articles for inspiration which cause me to stumble on your story. The way your mind works is truly quite intriguing "Tissues in boxes that DON'T pull out one at a time". I don't have an exact business idea yet, I've been selling used computers on eBay for small sustenance as well as practice with ad copy. what were your thoughts at the moment you knew that iron board covers were the niche to take an educated leap in?
 

Carol Jones

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Indeed, those simple things that we encounter in our daily lives but we don't even bother to think about. I think you have already shifted your thinking to a "Problem Solver", which is my goal too. :)

Currently, I'm in IT, I was very lucky I was granted a PR and I'm now saving as much as I can to restart my dream (after the big mess I did with my hard earned cash while I was in my native country - poor investment decisions). I also sell some things in Amazon, we have to start somewhere, learning the ropes on how to sell to an audience. 'Coz later on, I would like to create my own product just like what you did.

Thanks for the reply and maybe someday I can say G'day personally. Have a good one.
G'day again @LinorCG,

We all make bad decisions. And we all lose money.

It's more tragic when that happens when you don't have any money to lose.

When Kerry Packer was Austalia's wealthiest man. And our first billionaire. He was an intrepid gambler. He lost more at the gaming tables than he won. But he was so rich, it didn't matter.

He also made bad business decisions. Lost money. But never enough to put a dent into his enormous wealth. Until James invested in One-Tel. And lost half the Packer fortune.

I'm not a fan of starting a business on Amazon. For two reasons.

You're using a mogul's real estate. Who can change the rules at any time to suit his own purposes. Without any thought as to how it affects you.

And because of the shoddy way staff are treated. I care about that.

On the other hand.

I agree with you. We all have to start somewhere. And honing your skills relating to how to sell to an audience is very forward thinking. Obviously, Amazon is not the end game. But the start. When all the chess pieces are still on the board.

A personal G'day will always be welcome. And best wishes on the road to more experience. Learning is one of the most exciting parts of being in business. ~Carol❤
 

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Carol Jones

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Your story is truly inspiring. It is really appreciating that you answer each and every post and that too genuinely and with a pure heart and real words. Thanks again.
G'day @VIVEKSINGHJADONS from Oz,

Thank you. I LOVE reading this.

Your time is valuable. And if you take time out of your day to write to me. It's remiss of me to not reply.

I also love meeting you. And hope to get to know you better.

Best wishes on your road to entrepreneurship. It's a bumpy ride. But an exhilarating one. ~Carol❤
 

Carol Jones

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Hi Carol, I'm a newbie to this forum reading articles for inspiration which cause me to stumble on your story. The way your mind works is truly quite intriguing "Tissues in boxes that DON'T pull out one at a time". I don't have an exact business idea yet, I've been selling used computers on eBay for small sustenance as well as practice with ad copy. what were your thoughts at the moment you knew that iron board covers were the niche to take an educated leap in?
G'day @Vangoue from Oz,

I should have been an engineer! But it wasn't a career choice for a gal like me when I was starting out in my adult life.

My thoughts when we knew ironing board covers could be a business?

I thought: "How bizarre that people could care about something as mundane as an ironing board cover fitting on their board properly."

We were as amazed as everyone who constantly asks us in disbelief. How can we make a living out of ironing board covers?

This wasn't the market niche we had envisaged when we reinvented ourselves. We were aiming for something more glamourous. More trendy. Sexier. Something off the wall we could write home about. All the things we all hope our business will be. Because that's what attracts publicity. Word of mouth. Et al.

But. When we listened to the people who were clamouring for our ironing board cover. We realised it would be a BIG mistake to ditch this product in favour of something very pie in the sky.

We were dirt poor after losing everything in Australia's 1992 'recession we had to have'. Bills needed to be paid. And here were people throwing money at us for something they valued.

It would have been irresponsible of us not to pursue this need in the marketplace. And fill it.

This product was a true light bulb moment for us. I don't know how often it happens to other people. But the recognition that we had designed and developed something that was truly wanted by other people is truly electrifying.

Every week I have people who purchased a cover years ago ring and tell me how happy they are that we're still in business. That in itself makes what we do very rewarding.

Because of our story. And how we developed our product. And how we chose to have it made with love and care in rural Australia by men and women who have a disability. We have been able to attract the publicity every business craves.

Decisions made early in our business life centred around us being a caring company. It's how we want to be known. And all decisions made since then are influenced by that desire.

From the feedback we receive from customers. And what's written about us. We know that we're faithful to our ideology.

I hope I've answered your question @Vangoue.

Finding your niche is sometimes not easy. But perhaps you'll be lucky like us. It will just jump out in front of you.

Welcome to The Fastlane Forum. It's a privilege to meet you. And I hope you find your path sooner. Rather than later! ~Carol❤
 

fishgodeep

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Wow absolutely loved reading this. Thanks for writing this and for all of your in depth response @Carol Jones. Reading a story like yours and seeing your level of positive engagement with people reminds me I need to be nicer to people.

There should be a picture of yourself and husband in the dictionary next to word 'Integrity' :)
 

Gtas

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This is how you just don't allow anything to become an obstacle in mind! Congratulations.
 

Carol Jones

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Wow absolutely loved reading this. Thanks for writing this and for all of your in depth response @Carol Jones. Reading a story like yours and seeing your level of positive engagement with people reminds me I need to be nicer to people.

There should be a picture of yourself and husband in the dictionary next to word 'Integrity' :)
G'day @fishgodeep from Oz,

Thank you so much for reading this thread. And for leaving such a lovely thought. I read it out to Victor. He was speechless.

You've certainly made a fabulous first impression!

Business is all about engaging with people.

Even in the anonymity of online. People seek to engage with the owners of the business. When they can't. They don't develop the loyalty that business owners crave.

Humans are social beings. Just like dogs. They like to see. Touch. Feel. Smell. And engage. When those senses are in play. And activated. Most people are happy.

Some people do prefer to be aloof. And that's to be respected. But most like to feel a part of the community that the business serves.

Which is why you're here!

It always pays to be polite. And charming. It makes you memorable.

Thank you for dropping in. And I hope we engage again. ~Carol❤
 

Carol Jones

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great read! when you first started how did you find some customers? locally or international. thanks :D
G'day @trafalgar_law from Oz,

Thank you so much for reading this thread.

Our first customers came from word of mouth. From the Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover we made for Victor's mother.

After that. When we realised this was going to be a business. We hit the road. We drove 60,000kms. Every year. For 14 years. Exhibiting at any event where we could spruik our wares.

It's hard work. But it's how most people start. At markets. Face to face events.

It's how you learn to talk to your potential customers. Ask them why they're interested in your products. What they currently use. Why they want to change.

You then learn how to sell to them!

This is also how we created a mailing list. Starting with 250 names. It grew into the tens of thousands.

We just asked people at events. Whether they made a purchase or not. If they would like to go onto our mailing list. So many said yes.

By the time we started our online business, we had such a good feel for what customers wanted to hear. Today. We have close to 500,000 customers. In 30 countries. Gained ~ One. Customer. At. A. Time.

I don't depend on Google. Or social media. I just nurture my customers. Who tell their friends.

Although. I am still on page one of Google. For my best search term. And have been there for 18 years. Without paying a cent. This is because I post something to my website almost every day. That's helpful. And interesting. For my potential customers

I hope this helps you. If I can give you more information, please let me know. ~Carol❤
 

Carol Jones

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This is how you just don't allow anything to become an obstacle in mind! Congratulations.
G'day @Gtas from Oz,

Welcome to The Fastlane Forum!

Thank you for your kind words.

We all face obstacles. Sometimes many times in one day. But it's how we respond to them that makes a difference in our lives.

We're all different. And we all have different thresholds for pain and suffering.

Success in anything. Whether it be sport. Business. Learning a craft. Or a trade. Is about how much pain and suffering we're prepared to endure. To get to where we want to go.

What? And how much? Are we prepared to give up? To earn the right to live our dream.

Every road that leads to living our dream is littered with the debris of sharp nails. Broken glass. Boulders. That need to be circumnavigated in order to reach the pot of gold at the end of our rainbow.

Not everyone has the tenacity. Or the will. Or the desire. To grab that brass ring. And run with it.

Some of us settle for less than we deserve. And for some that's OK. They know their limitations. And don't complain about the decisions they've made to be where they are.

Others just want to be there at the top. And will endure anything to get there.

We can't all be Queen Bees. Some of us have to be worker bees. Who keep the hive healthy.

The ones who complain about their lot in life. That they've 'been robbed'. Have no one to blame but themselves.

Opportunities are everywhere. For everyone.

We either step up to the plate and make things happen. Or we drift through life. Hoping something happens to us.

Those are two simple choices. One makes us. The other breaks us.

It's a pleasure to meet you @Gtas. I hope you love every minute of your time here. And that you learn what you need to go forward and conquer your part of the world. ~Carol❤
 

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