Our small business customers do beautiful business everyday so to celebrate them we’re giving away gift boxes of their beautiful products at each Xero NZ Roadshow. We talked to one of these small business customers, Chloe from CHIA, about her journey with Xero.
Tell me a bit about your story
I started my business almost six years ago with the aim of creating a healthier, more nutritious beverage option. My dad is a swimmer and was mixing chia seeds in water to help with his training but it wasn’t that tasty. He and my sister – a triathlete – found there was a gap in the market for a high nutritional level drink. So we started playing around with local and homegrown ingredients mixed with chia seeds to create different flavours. And that’s how we made our first CHIA drink.
What originally began as a healthy endurance drink for athletes then became more common among every day people who just wanted to be more health conscious and get extra nutrients in their diets.
We started by selling our products to the local cafe and supermarket. Nelson is great for startups as everyone is quite open to trying new, local products. I then took CHIA to Wellington where it continued to grow, and now CHIA is available throughout New Zealand.
When did you first start using Xero?
When I first started my business I was using paper invoices. Not long after that I was lucky enough to have someone advise me to switch from that on to Xero. The transition gave me one less thing to worry about – which was keeping track of accounts.
Xero is fantastic for our growth. We’ve grown to the point where we’ve started exporting into Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong, and Xero has been amazing on this journey and into the future.
How has Xero helped you achieve beautiful moments in your business journey?
There’s a bunch of different things I love about Xero. It means that I spend less time trying to find information as I’ve already got that info really accessible to me – meaning I can make educated decisions about the next step for our business. I use the reports and data in Xero to quickly decide if I should go ahead with a certain strategy. There are opportunities arising all the time in our business and the ability to know the right ones to pick is really essential to our success.
Another reason I think Xero is amazing is that the transition between users is easy and seamless. I started off learning everything about it and doing it all myself. As I grew into different roles in the business it was easy to pass this wealth of knowledge on to the next person who could easily take over from me.
It’s certainly also very appreciated that we get to share our products with the Xero community in the roadshow prize packs. It shows a lot about the company ethos that they are actively supporting their customers to help them grow – and grow awareness of our brands. And I think that’s something that often gets missed. It’s the simple things that really make a difference.
What’s your business philosophy?
Our philosophy is about being innovative and creating things that haven’t been made before – or doing things better. We recently became Nelson’s first living wage certified company.
Our next phase is the launch of our new fresh pressed juice range called “Bottled by the sun”. We’ve installed solar panels on the roof of our factory, so by mid November we’ll be New Zealand’s first solar power juicery. We’ve already had heaps of people keen to support this initiative and being in “Sunny Nelson” is the perfect place to do it.
How did you come up with the idea to have a solar powered juicery?
Everyone talks about creating a story for a brand. For us it’s really just trying to be better one step at a time. It’s always been an ambition for us to go solar powered. One of the things stopping us was that we were utilising space in a brewery to make our products and didn’t have our own building. Then we found out that they were closing their doors, so we decided to purchase the brewery and move in.
This gave us the opportunity to put solar panels on the roof and fulfil that dream. We turned what could have been a problem into something positive. And it’s all the little things that Xero helped with in the process (like admin and accounts) that made our work easier. It’s fun work being an entrepreneur!
What would you say to others out there running their own business or looking to start?
To any small business owners out there, I’d say to make sure you keep moving forward. It’s important to have the ability to adapt and evolve as opportunities arise.