Four years ago, business partners Natalene Carter and David Griffin travelled the world in search of their perfect venture. The duo had the vision, passion and work ethic needed to take on a national brand. That’s when they found RID Australia.
David and Natalene had extensive business backgrounds, but when it came to insect repellent it was an exciting – and unknown – world. Unlike other businesses, the insecticide industry doesn’t have the luxury of a quick turnaround. Natalene says that products RID were working on that morning wouldn’t see supermarket shelves for two years. This is why innovation and forward thinking was an integral part of the duos business plan.
“We very quickly went down the path of product innovation,” Natalene says proudly. She talks about how they rebranded the company, innovated manufacturing processes and successfully doubled the RID range in four years. “We constantly read the market. So we saw what trends were happening, what customers were doing and what we could develop to match future demand.”
So why double the range? Well, when researching their competitors Natalene and David immediately noticed the lack of diversity in their range. This encouraged them to work faster and harder than ever.
“We’ve also recently launched a brand called Terminator, which enters a new multi-purpose insect killer product range to the insecticide market,” Natalene says. “We made a strategic decision, to increase our offering of quality Australian owned brands, across this sector. It’s an endorsement to our strengths in the category of insecticides that now extends to bug killers for the home. It also gives our customers confidence with Australian owned brands that work in our Aussie environment.”
RID aren’t just stretching their product line either. Now that Natalene and David have found a niche in the Australian market, they have huge plans to expand into Singapore and other Asian countries.
“Our off season is their peak season, so it makes sense for us to export to those countries,” says Natalene. It’s been personalised by David’s understanding of these regions and his depth of experience in export that strengthened the company’s’ product development strategy in offshore markets. “It takes a collaboration of minds, research, focus, forward thinking and determination in ourselves that allows us to successfully export our products overseas. We have products on the water soon to reach new destinations.”
From the very first RID products to the latest additions. RID are incredibly proud of their history
To gain a better understanding of how the business worked, Natalene even spent her first couple of days on the warehouse floor to actively expand her knowledge across the business. “Spending time at the ground gave me hands-on experience that I could have never learned just by asking questions from my desk,” she says.
Since taking on RID with David, Natalene has also learnt several other key skills in business, with negotiation high on her list – although not in the way you’d expect.
“It’s quite funny how the whole thing transpired,” Natalene says with a grin. “The previous owner of RID and I were going back and forth with solicitors when she rang me after I had finished watching my daughter swim at the Long Tan pool. She said, ‘I’ve had enough, let’s get this deal done now’. We literally worked out the deal at the steering wheel of my car at the Long Tan pool. The negotiation process as a whole was a huge learning curve but together we did it.” Natalene says.
However, she says that not having all the skills shouldn’t stop you from chasing your business dreams.
“You just say you’re up for it, learn from others and you keep going. You might make mistakes but you just realise how you can do things better and make sure you don’t make them again.”
One point Natalene drives home is you don’t need to know every aspect of an industry before working in it. In this case, she’s spot on.
“It’s not all about what you’re selling though. Yes you need to know your products. However, if you have the commitment and capacity to understand a little bit of everything – like business, cash flow, stock control, sales, marketing, logistics, good management practices and most of all your customer – you can run any type of business.”
Natalene and David’s story is inspirational, unconventional and all round raw. It breaks the mould and shows that there’s more than one way to learn from and run a business. So why stick to the conventional path? RID is proof you can branch out.
We’ve seen Townsville take on a national brand like RID and thrive. So what’s the feeling in the general business community? We look at recent trends from the Townsville Business Confidence Index and talk confidence, growth and results with PVW Partners here.