We Love Local is a gifting business originally launched under the name Kāpiti Goodies in December 2018, driven by our desire to offer gift boxes with hyper-local products while supporting local companies and minimising our footprint in sourcing products. In early 2020, the business rebranded as We Love Local and expanded into Wellington and the wider region with the philosophy — showcasing products from our region. In April 2021, we also launched into Auckland which meant we need more room for stock and fulfilling orders.
The last year presented some unique challenges due to our rapid growth and we had to revisit our requirements for storage twice. All stock was stored in our home office and we used the garage for packing gift boxes. While we knew it was a risk if the company grew, we didn’t anticipate business going through the roof after the Covid-19 lockdown last year.
Post-lockdown gifting business growth
As soon as we opened our website again after lockdown at the end of April 2020, our gifting business went from a side project to a real company in an instant. Before lockdown, we sold 5 gift boxes a week on average which went up to ~40 per day(!) at peak time for Mother’s Day. Keeping up with demand and storage space for stock was a constant challenge throughout May (notwithstanding the challenge of having a 4-year old at a house which had suddenly turned into a distribution centre). It certainly took a toll on our family life and sanity at the time.
Sales slowed down a little in June/July/August which made it manageable to operate from home (just) but we already knew that we would not be able to run the business in our garage any longer — especially with Christmas coming. Since it was such an unusual year and we couldn’t compare it to previous years we took the plunge on a 80 square metre storage space closeby (4 x the size of our garage) which became our new business location in September 2020.
How much room do we need for Christmas?
Of course we guessed wrong how much space we needed for Christmas! In the end, we had to take over another room from our landlord for storage and also needed access to his workshop with roller doors because all of a sudden we received stock on pallets and also had to send gift boxes on pallets. We somehow managed to make it through Christmas but almost risked losing business because we didn’t have enough storage space.
As a gifting business is highly seasonal, we were able to still operate from our 80sqm storage in the first quarter of 2021 but instantly started looking for a larger warehouse. We were able to secure a 400 sqm industrial warehouse in Kāpiti and moved in at the beginning of May.
Operating from our new 400m² warehouse
In a way, it was good to move into a smaller space first without a long-term lease to know what our future requirements are (e.g. at no point did we consider that we have to pack and send gift boxes on a pallet). To give you an idea, our biggest order was sent to an international corporate who ordered 300 gift boxes that we had to send on several pallets to Auckland.
Our new warehouse will give our gifting business plenty of space to fulfil such large orders and grow our existing client base. Not having enough storage space was our biggest growing pain and we’ve overcome this obstacle not just once but twice in a year.
We are very proud to be a business that grew from covering just Kāpiti to operating nationwide while staying true to our local roots and community. It’s a great journey and we hope you will join us on our ride by considering We Love Local for your New Zealand-made gift boxes!