When Andrew Curnow made that phone call to Royal Doulton in 2006 to see if he could determine whether he would be able to use the name to manufacture high quality home fragrance products under license in Australia, little did he know it would change his career forever.
Curnow started in the industry as a wholesale distributor of several brands and now his company, Nest Inspirations is a multi-million dollar enterprise and one of Australia's leading home fragrance makers.
Experience and exposure to the industry proved invaluable when it came to sound strategic planning that saw the business flourish and expand, he says.
“After submitting a business plan [to Royal Doulton], I was offered a global contract and I used my knowledge of the wholesale industry to set up the fragrance business,” he explains.
“What began as one man operation from a garage now boasts a busy online store (www.royaldoultonfragrances.com.au) and over 2,000 stockists in addition to exporting the range to Singapore, UK, Canada, US, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and parts of the Middle East.”
While Curnow had a stronghold on wholesale, he had to learn the granular detail of the fragrance industry from scratch. This meant a steep learning curve that included handing out a collection of unbranded samples to all the neighbours in his street with an attached swing card for each to return with honest feedback to help shape the debut range. However, by the time the company launched at the Melbourne Reed Gift fair in August 2007 he was inundated with stockists and struggled to keep up with the strong demand.
“Another trade fair six weeks later in Hong Kong proved additionally successful, signing distribution agreements of the Royal Doulton range with five countries on the spot and securing retail space in every major department chain in the Asia Pacific region within 12 months. In Australia alone, we distributed the range through over 4,500 retail stores,” he says.
In a marketplace filled with plenty of competing brands, Nest Inspirations was one of the very first companies in Australia to introduce reed diffusers, which formed the backbone of the company’s initial success. As a constantly evolving business, the company expanded to include its own brand, and due to its strong reputation in the industry has offered a full turnkey service to many other fashion and homewares companies wanting to enter the home fragrance market under their own brand name.
While Nest Inspirations took a bit of a downturn a few years ago due to the difficult retail environment, the past two years has seen the company get back on track with several projects in the pipeline and further expansion into both the domestic and international markets.
“We have recently launched the beautiful Wedgwood Home Fragrance range that will be exported to New Zealand, Singapore, Japan and the UK, plus distributors or major retailers from a few other countries are in discussions to launch the range,” says Curnow.
“Additionally, Nest Inspirations has secured rights to another exciting brand―a fun bath and body range aimed at a 20+ market―and has also been approached to design and distribute another brand that has a strong household name in Australia and another 30 countries that will fit well into its existing distribution channels as well as opening up some new ones.”