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Api Kurusiga Runs A Family Business Called Lapita Marketing Enterprises

Building relationships with my suppliers and my customers. Following through with potential customers, or potential suppliers is important. Being honest about what you say or promise is the best business ethics anyone can bet on.
28 Sep 2019 15:51
Api Kurusiga Runs A Family Business Called Lapita Marketing Enterprises
Api Kurusiga of Lapita Marketing Enterprise.

Lapita Marketing Enterprises is a family partnership business established in 2009.
It is home based business operation at Valelevu, Nasinu. Lapita Marketing is a wholesaler and retailer of 100 per cent local wellbeing products.

The company get their supply of products from rural farmers supplying honey, noni juice, virgin coconut oil, layalaya tonic, turmeric tonic and handmade coconut based soap.

Majority of its suppliers are women who are skilful at what they make.
But they don’t have the time or the skill to upgrade the look of their product after harvest before it gets to the hands of the consumers

Their work is to build relationships with them as suppliers as they do not manufacture anything and rely on them to work on our behalf.

It will also provide food security for the population of Fiji as we look to depend on our natural resources and reduce importation of food products hence reducing our medical bills as they use their very own wellbeing range.

Outlets
Lapita products are retailed at Kundan Singh Supermarkets and all Super Drug pharmaceutical outlets
There is a small volume of export order of Lapita Noni Juice and Lapita Honey to Korea every two months.

They believe that to keep the farmers keep doing what they are good at, there should be a handful of consolidators like Lapita to buy and move their products to retailers.

This process keeps the farmers in rural areas and at the same time keep the agricultural industry alive and well.
Lapita keeps looking at other local products that they can work with which may have potential to be added to our current cluster of wellbeing range.

Born and raised in Noco, Rewa, Api Kurusiga has always had the adrenaline of running a business.
Growing up in a village, she had gone through the basic training of running a business.

This is by carrying out house shores and looking after the family fund.
This fond memory of managing the family business continued till she partnered with her son to start a business of their own.
So born was family business is now Lapita Marketing Enterprise.

Below are excerpts of an interview with Ms Kurusiga:

Tell us about yourself
I grew up in a family that ran business in my village in Noco, Rewa. There were chores that I had to do before going to school in the morning.
Chores like collecting eggs, milking cows, raking the yard, sweeping the shop or organising fish to sell.
In the afternoon, I had to pack in 1kg bags rice, sugar and flour.
My parents were quite strict with the ways we use our time – and that goes for my two brothers and my young sister.

Tell us a bit about your business
We ran a family partnership business with my son called Lapita Marketing Enterprises.
Lapita Marketing Enterprises is a family partnership business established in 2009 based and operating from our home at Valelevu, Nasinu.

Lapita Marketing is a wholesaler and retailer of 100 per cent local wellbeing products.

Our company gets our supply of products from rural farmers supplying us with honey, noni juice, virgin coconut oil, layalaya tonic, turmeric tonic and handmade coconut based soap

We supply to a number of retailers and export small orders to Korea and New Zealand.
We also supply to some hotel kitchens our virgin coconut oil and honey

What’s one aspect about yourself that has surprised you in your journey this far
Nothing surprises me about who I am – I was determined to get to where I am right now when I grew up.
I wanted to be able to run and own a business – I want to be able to sell to other retailers and export if I can.

How competitive/saturated in the market for the new entrants into your business sphere?
Lapita has a number of other brands competing in the same space on products like honey, virgin coconut oil, noni juice, handmade soap etc.

A new entrant will have to beat us on price to see the light or they will just disappear slowly.
Everyone playing in that space will need to have their individual point of difference.

Another factor is the customer base that we service – some customers will needs the whole spill on your product, its benefits, your contact details, product code etc. etc. packaging and the works to be convinced to buy.
And some will buy a bottle of honey or virgin coconut oil with no labels at all – and they are happy with that.

What would you consider is your point of difference in comparison to others in the market
Consistency in supply is so so vital especially for us at Lapita as we do not make anything, so we can not control the production of our product we sell.

Building relationships with my suppliers is so vital as we do not make anything.

We totally rely on our suppliers to keep our business running.
Some competitors have beat us by going direct to our suppliers (travelling by boat to see them); but most of these suppliers have stopped trading now.

Knowing your product is very important especially when I do not make them.
I need to get an education from our product producer on the what, why, when and who of the product they make.

This will assist me answer questions from potential buyers.
For example, why is the colour of your honey so light?

Why is there bubbles on some honey that I buy? Why do some honey smell like sugar?
What is one area or topic that you not only talk about but actually walk the talk?

Building relationships with my suppliers and my customers.
Following through with potential customers, or potential suppliers is important.
Being honest about what you say or promise is the best business ethics anyone can bet on.

Feedback: laiseana.nasiga@fijisun.com.fj

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