5 Minutes With...
Name: Mindi Chisholm
Company: Zafino Pty Ltd
Years exhibiting with Reed Gift Fairs: 12
Your brand/business in one word: Zafino
What inspires you to innovate? Where do you look for trends and inspiration?
My inspiration and purpose always been to create gorgeous jewellery that is not only is on trend but does not cost a fortune. My brand tagline is “Every woman deserves beautiful” and I truly want my jewellery to be affordable for every woman. My greatest pleasure is to research what’s happening with trends and this is all done mostly online! Instagram, Pinterest, fashion blogs etc. These are all rich with ideas and my creative direction just flows from there.
Do you have any advice for anyone in a creative block/something that gets you out of a design rut?
Overseas trade shows have always been essential for connecting with suppliers but in recent years I’ve used trade shows to get me out of my comfort zone and get me inspired.
I’ve missed this during Covid but as soon as possible I’ll be back out there looking at all the new innovations.
How do you know you’re onto a winner when creating/sourcing a new product?
Honestly my gut instinct is always my best guide! And my failsafe is showing my key retailers new collection ideas while they are still in design stage. My retailers are my best barometer for success. They are at the front lines of knowing what consumers love, so it makes sense to me for involve them throughout the process.
Describe what a typical working day looks like? and how that changed for you over the past year?
I’m lucky that my showroom is walking distance from my home so typically I walk to work & this is my calm before craziness of the office. We always start our day with a team meeting from 9-10am with coffee from our favourite café which happens to be just down the street! This is a great time for all our team to chat about whats ahead for the day including our packers, social media team, designers & management. Often, we end up talking about non-work-related life stuff, but I think this is so important. We are truly one big family, and we love it that way!
From 10-6pm it’s a hectic combination of everything. I look after the wholesale side of the business, new product direction, export, and business opportunities so I’m generally sitting at my computer or on the phone all day.
I have a great team, so I try to let them take care of the detail.
Did you have to migrate your business online/or if you were already online, how did this impact the way you do business with your customers?
Covid was the best thing to happen to my business because it made us stop and consider what we could do differently and how we could improve. It was April 2020 when all our stockists had to close and that’s when we realised, we had time to focus on our brand. At the time we had a successful wholesale business with over 600 stores, but we had never focussed properly on our brand positioning. We re-designed our website and for the first time started to promote ourselves on Instagram. Over the past 2 years our business has grown considerably, and our retailers have confirmed to us that the marketing we are doing online and on socials are driving sales in store which is very encouraging
Customers love your business because...
Our customers love our wide range and great price point. With over 600 products and multiple product releases a year our retailers know they can cover a variety of age demographics with Zafino. And at the average price point of $39.95 our products sell fast enabling retailers to keep their range fresh and new.
Zafino also supply our retailers with a large range of visual merchandising displays so that the Zafino brand always looks fabulous on the shelf. We also offer individual branded jewellery pouches with all our products so the whole end of end experience for the consumer is special.
Something we might not know, but will be glad found out about your business:
We are a 2nd generation company. Zara my eldest daughter now heads up our brand as the marketing manager and is also responsible for product development. Paris my younger daughter is also an integral part looking after photography, electronic marketing and is also admin support. Having both my daughters in the business full time brings me great joy and wonderful succession planning.
We’ve got a time-machine, you can go forward, back, or stay in the present – thinking about your time in business, where do you choose to visit and why?
I would LOVE to travel back in time and know what I know now!! But we are LOVING the present too watching our brand come to life and become first choice for so many retailers. But honestly, I would LOVE to jump forward a few years because I know there will have been some amazing things happening in Zafino!
What feedback have you got from your customers on how it is to be in retail right now?
My retailers have done remarkedly well considering what they have faced these past few years. Here in Melbourne, I’m hearing that they are just thankful to be open again and are looking forward to doing great trade leading into Christmas.
What is the beauty of aligning your business with face-to-face trade events like Reed Gift Fairs?
We have reps on the road who get to see our customers but for me its all about relationships and I love seeing customers face to face!
What’s one piece of business advice you’d give to yourself 10 years ago?
1) Focus - Try not to spread yourself too thin.
2) Build your team - don’t get pulled into the day-to-day detail.
3) Set big goals – make sure everything you do supports that goal.
What’s one piece of business advice you’d give anyone wanting to start their business?
A very wise accountant told me when I started my business is that make sure you have enough margin. Without it you cannot scale, you won’t be able to afford staff and you won’t grow. Also understand that it takes time to build a business. I was 5 years before I really felt I had consistent revenue.
What do the next 12 months look like for you?
We launch into the UK at the end of this year and other international markets will follow. I know we will continue to grow here in Australia, but I believe our export market will be an exciting addition to our business.
What’s the biggest lesson/takeaway for you from what we’ve just endured over the past two years?
Covid has taught me that anything is possible with hard work, commitment, and focus. Plus, our love for our customers underpins everything we do. Without customers we are nothing, so we treasure our retail partners.
Share with us the bestselling products we need to know about
Right now, we launched our letter necklaces, and they are selling so well. Priced at $39.95 they come individually packaged for gifting and are displayed in their own shelf unit. Perfect for gifting year round.
What product/range are you personally most excited about right now?
I’m loving our Artisan Collection. Handcrafted in India using semi-precious stones making each piece so beautiful.
Do have any teasers for what we can expect to see from you in the future?
We are launching “Sorrento Summer” to our stockists in February. This collection is focused on a younger demographic which is new for us which makes it so exciting.
Can you tell us your secret to keeping your customers returning for more?
I think our secret is putting our customers first. They are our reason for being and everything we do is for them.