Hot Glass notes huge impact of pandemic on sales
The second wave of this pandemic has hit businesses hard, especially some micro, small and medium enterprises.
Hot Glass Fiji is one such business that has been affected in terms of lost revenue and disruption to operations.
Alex Hill, who is one of the owners of the business, said the loss of Fijian tourist visitors had a huge impact on their sales and experiences.
“While we had a thriving local market, tourists and foreign visitors were a major market for us, and as the loss of this sector has had economic impacts throughout Fiji, our local and business customers have also less money to spend, ”he said.
According to Mr. Hill, the second wave has certainly made matters worse because due to the necessary restrictions on travel and social contact, not only can they no longer even have local visitors to the gallery or for glassblowing experiences, but they also had to postpone “Born from Fire”, their main annual exhibition to be held at the Grand Pacific Hotel in mid-April.
“All the work had been done and we were ready to go, so hopefully we can hold it when things improve. “
Before the second wave hit the country, Mr Hill said that while they made changes to the business to accommodate the situation and got by, they still had a huge income gap. that they had to fill to get back to where they were. were before the pandemic.
“We are still implementing our adaptation plans and I hope the changes and pivots we have made pay off at some point in the future, although the timing obviously remains uncertain.”
In terms of helping the business, Mr Hill said there had been great support and they had been really helped by access to a low rate business loan from the Fiji Development Bank and by certain initiatives funded abroad.
“An incredibly useful grant for our Business Link Pacific trade adaptation plan and financial assistance for our shipping costs from PTI Australia.
“All of this assistance has been invaluable in helping us adapt the business, keep our heads above water and continue to employ our staff, even part-time, as well as prepare for a bright future!
Meanwhile, in terms of shipping costs, Mr. Hill confirmed that even though the costs had increased, it is unclear exactly what impact this was having on their e-commerce and export sales as it was something that Hot Glass Fiji was really focusing more on now than before.
“However, it is safe to say that the costs of shipping from Fiji to many areas are relatively high, which is a competitive disadvantage for Fijian exports as a whole.”
During this time when businesses are turning more to the digital platform in terms of marketing and sales, Mr. Hill said that as part of their pivot to e-commerce, they have created an online store on their site. Web, www.hotglassfiji.com to allow both local and overseas buyers to purchase their Fiji-made hand-blown glass and have it delivered to them by courier.
“An essential part of e-commerce is a payment gateway to provide a simple and secure way for potential buyers to pay for their goods. We have one in place now, but it has been difficult to set up as there is a lack of affordable and reputable payment gateway options available to small Fijian businesses and a lack of information on the options available.