Digital marketing and e-commerce were the focus of an all-day conference for business owners in Samoa.
Held at the Samoa Stationery and Books conference room, the Samoa Business Network (S.B.N.) hosted the digital marketing workshop to teach people about the effectiveness of going digital and online with their marketing and advertising.
Mealofa Sulutolu travelled further than most of the participants to attend the seminar coming from Falealupo, Savaii. Running a small supermarket and a plantation with her husband in their village, Mealofa told the Samoa Observer that after much planning she was ready to take their business to the next level starting with their ava product.
Mealofa said they have been growing and selling ava locally for a long time but have been working to ensure it meets the standard of Samoa ava.
“We have been going through a lot of testing with our ava and it’s been identified as a premium product. We grow the noble ava and as you know, it was the other variety (Tudei kava), which was the harmful one that caused the collapse of the ava market some years ago,” she said.
“We’re just in the process of completing everything such as the log and the packaging. I’ve got a U.S market ready to export our ava to and we are just on the cusp of launching. We’re not at that stage where we can supply a great deal, but it was about finding that small niche market which is very high end because we have a premium product.”
Being on a remote side of the big island, taking advantage of the digital online marketing and advertising workshop were ideal for Mealofa to make her and her husband’s grander vision come to life.
“Ava is only just a little snippet of our grander vision for our businesses, in the big scheme of things we also want to incorporate some community building starting with the itu- Asau. We are hoping to export and I have a vision to create a business model that cuts out the middleman and share the wealth equally.
“There’s nothing wrong with those businesses that make a lot of money being the middleman, it’s how you rock and roll in the world of commerce, but just for me it’s something that I would like to create for our communities.”
Dr. Vanya Taule’alo, owner of Legends Taumeasina and Vanya Taule’alo Gallery, was also part of the workshop.
“Online marketing is essential to my business,” she said.
“So far, I have really only been using Facebook, and I have sat back and relied on what I have been doing for the past two or three years, so I can take that a lot further.”
She said she’s eager to learn from other business leaders’ experience in this field.
Hotelier from Taumeasina Hideaway, Tauiliili Sara Iona said the workshop’s opportunity to network was essential.
“All these people here are business owners, so if we all work together I think business here in Samoa will improve and go forward,” she said.
“As a business owner, all you want is for your business to grow.”
Tauiliili said getting together with other businesses is a good option for Samoan businesses to develop.
To further support Samoa’s businesses, the workshop finished with a networking event hosted by Tanoa Tusitala hotel.