Adam Blackwell is a career marketer and advertising creative and he knows absolutely nothing about bicycles. In 2015, he decided to launch a retail business that was designed to help customers achieve a healthy cycling lifestyle dream, with very little resemblance to a traditional bicycle store.
Blackwell and Sons, based in beautiful Greytown in the South Wairarapa, is enjoying 300% growth year on year, and is set to become a Franchise in NZ over the next 18 months.
“It’s easy to forget how reliant our business is on importing our British handmade Pashley bicycles from Stratford Upon Avon in England, and many of our high quality accessories from Europe and the US,” says Adam. “I say that because it happens so seamlessly. I’m sure a lot of small businesses that have been started on the concept of imported products have found the whole process challenging and frustrating; but I have been fortunate enough to start from scratch with Tig and his team at This Way Up. They’re there and responsive, when I need them.”
“I want to be focused on product selection, pricing, cashflow and marketing. Running the business. The whole idea of having to deal with freight, customs and delivery is daunting, so I don’t. The Way Up takes care of it completely. I just let them know when my order is ready. Then I look forward to delivery. That’s it.”
This Way Up moves around four containers of products between the UK or the US and NZ every year for Blackwell and Sons, by sea, air, international courier and road. And if the lifestyle cycling business continues its growth, that looks set to multiply quickly.
Lex Jocelyn, father of This Way Up’s CEO Tig Jocelyn, is a man of the land. Fishing. Hunting. Rugby. Farming. And caravanning. There is a bit of Barry Crump in Lex. But when it comes to life’s finer accommodation options, Lex is more predisposed to the latest British and European caravans than a drafty hut in the bush.
“The freedom of towing your accommodation behind you is growing more popular than ever,” suggests Lex. “It’s not only the best and most convenient way to see the country, but the comfort and technology of the newer British and European caravans is keeping kiwi demands for luxury on the road well sorted.”
Lex saw a market opportunity two years ago for importing British and European caravans as a means of broadening the range for NZ customers. There are minor changes to the electrics and gas to make the caravans compiant with NZ requirements. So Lex did the numbers with freight included, courtesy of This Way Up. Purchase plus paperwork plus freight plus compliance plus delivery was still, in most cases, competitive with buying locally.
Demand has now developed to the point where customers approach This Way Up with their unique caravan requirements, plus any accessories or added equipment they are looking for like portable satellite dishes. Tig’s team selects, inspects and delivers caravans to a UK port, handle all legal requirements in NZ and Lex tows them, holiday-ready, to the customer’s driveway. It’s a complete door to door service.
“Kiwis love having choice. Now, they can shop internationally for big ticket items like caravans, and know with certainty they’re getting a great product at a fantastic price,” says Lex. ”Add some family style service to that and you’re off to the races.”
The Brits know a thing or two about horses and they also know how to build the right type of vehicles to safely transport them all over Europe. So when Olympian and NZ Eventing Team rider Clarke Johnstone saw this magnificent Horse Transporter, he knew it would be ideal for him while he was competing in show jumping events around the UK. Clarke thought it would be equally useful to him back home in NZ. Then through a connection of his father he managed to get in touch with the team at This Way Up.
“It was amazing. VIP service right from the get go,” says Clarke. “Not only did This Way Up arrange the shipping and delivery in NZ, but they actually picked it up from Surrey and delivered it to the port for loading on the ship. They just took over and made it easy. Paperwork, clearances, everything.”
Clarke has his Transporter home now and it gets plenty of attention everywhere he takes it. For This Way Up customers, no job is really too small. Or too big for that matter.
Millie Blackwell, CEO of globally successful software company, Showcase Workshop, is the world’s biggest fan of US furniture retailer, Restoration Hardware.
“What’s not to love?” asks Millie. “It’s unique, it’s timeless and the quality of everything they produce is impeccable. In some homes we have seen in the Napa Valley, every piece in them is from San Francisco based Restoration Hardware. I love the way that their furniture blends together and the range is so big, you can customise your collection to achieve a look that’s very unique.”
In 2012, Millie and her husband purchased what was listed as one of Greytown’s ‘most prestigious homes’, after looking for a country escape from their Wellington apartment.
“We repainted, re-carpeted and measured up. Then we flew to Restoration Hardware’s flagship store in Beverley Hills,” remembers Millie. “It was a lot of fun walking in and sitting down with a consultant to order a house lot. RH don’t deliver outside the US and Canada so we needed to call on some logistics assistance.”
This Way Up was Millie’s first choice. The This Way Up team organised a delivery warehouse in Long Beach California, and worked alongside the scheduler at Restoration Hardware to co-ordinate delivery and storage as each piece of furniture was made. Everything was carefully packed into a 20 foot container and shipped to Greytown, with exactly zero stress for Millie.
“It looks amazing but it wasn’t expensive,” says Millie. “We did the numbers, and when you put it all together, it ended up being about the same as you would pay for furniture in NZ – including the freight. What’s most important is that we have a beautiful, comfortable home that is a joy to be in.”
“You get to a point in life where you get pretty discerning about what you want to drive. It’s not necessarily a status symbol thing. For me, it’s about comfort, technology and aesthetics.”
Darren Birley likes a decent truck. Because, let’s face it, if you see a Dodge Ram coming up behind you in the passing lane, you indicate left without hesitation.
“I found this beautiful beast in the UK in 2013; where I lived for the past 25 years. Pricing was spot on. Miles were low. It was love at first sight. For me it was just the complexity of how to get it home that made me pause when deciding if I should sell it or ship before moving back to NZ,” says Darrin. “I knew it was going to be a headache.”
Darren never needed the Disprin. A friend of a friend suggested he get hold of This Way Up, which he did, and that’s when he realised it was going to be a lot easier than he imagined.
“The guys at TWU organised a specialist vehicle transporter to get the Dodge to port; then they made sure the right gear was used to load it with plenty of protective packing to keep it safe in transit. That was all great but it was the fact that I had very little paperwork to contend with that was the strawberry on the pav for me,” says Darrin. “It was all done. Not only that, I managed to get a few extra bits and pieces packed in the back of the truck to make the most of the space. The best part of the process for me was the communication, they stay in contact through-out with regular updates with all the info needed. Bloody outstanding.”
It’s a hallmark of This Way Up. Everything’s covered. Nothing’s dodgy. Except Darrin’s truck!