Sleepwell International looks to expand export market

Samoa-based mattress and furniture maker, Sleepwell International, is looking at expanding its regional footprint.

The General Manager of Sleepwell International, Teleiai James Potoi, told the Samoa Observer that the company has an export strategy to expand their sales beyond Samoa and it is an exciting time for the two-year-old firm.

"Launching our export strategy is an exciting time for our people and the future of our company," he said.

"Exporting into the Pacific two years into establishment is an outstanding achievement that I would like to thank all my team for, I’m very proud of how quickly the company has grown, and we’re all looking forward to an exciting challenge as we expand heavily into the Pacific."

The company began to export its products to other Pacific Island economies last year and are working to secure retail agents throughout the Pacific, including Tonga, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Cook Islands, American Samoa, Fiji, Guam and Kiribati.

While their products are sold much higher than some of their competition, Teleiai said the price came down to the quality of the product.

"And we've found out that with export markets, even though our product have priced a little higher, but it is really about the quality that matters," he said.

The cost of freight within the region is another challenge the company has to overcome, but Teleiai said they are working with shipping companies to address that issue.

"So we're working our way through trying to rationalize our routes and of course working with the shipping companies to see what we can deal with that because all our materials come from overseas, from China, from New Zealand and to some extent, Fiji, and so we pay a lot of freight for the materials coming in and then we pay a lot of freight going out."

Employing skilled personnel to lead the work at the factory in Samoa is another area. But Teleiai said they have done well with the owners of their parent company Sleepwell New Zealand sending trainers to provide training in Samoa.

Staff in the factory are required to complete intense training sessions managed by the New Zealand co-owners, who have over 30 years’ experience in mattress manufacturing.

Teleiai said the company encourages local customers to purchase to purchase locally made products which in turn boosts local businesses and creates more employment.

"Because we've managed to increase our production line, we've managed to employ more and more people and that is our intention, we need to make the whole floor as productive as possible," he added.

Sleepwell International was established in November 2017, as a result of the expansion of Sleepwell New Zealand, and at the invitation from the Government of Samoa set up in Samoa to increase employment. It is currently co-owned by the founders of Sleepwell New Zealand, and the founders of Samoa Stationery & Books (SSAB). 

Sleepwell currently employs 42 people in its Samoan operation. 

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