Island Rose Dream- Tongan Beauty Skincare line that was established back in 2014
Business Name and what it does
My business name is Island Rose Dream (IRD) and it’s a Tongan Beauty Skincare line that was established back in 2014. My products are primarily made of authentic Tongan coconut oil infused with botanical flowers and herbal plants which are ethically sourced from the Kingdom of Tonga, we also add light fragrances to some of our products for that modern touch. Tongan oil products have been used by our Tongan ancestors for centuries, it’s a skin & haircare essential that can be found in most homes in Tonga. It’s definitely an ancient beauty secret I wanted to share with the world. It can also be easily accessible on our E-commerce store www.islandrosedream.com
Founder’s/Owner’s story and what motivated them to start the business
My name is Rosie Akauola-Fine and I am the Founder & Owner of Island Rose Dream. I was born in Tonga and spent some of my early childhood there, my family and I then moved to Australia when I was around 11 years old and have lived in Australia since. I’ve spent most of my life in Melbourne Aus, it’s where I did high school & Uni, it’s where I worked several jobs, it’s where I started my business and where I got married. I truly believe if you want to be an entrepreneur or start a business, Melbourne is definitely the best city to start at.
What motivated me to start my own business was my Tongan cultural heritage. I grew up in Tonga watching my grandma make her own Tongan oils by using botanical plants and herbs from her own garden and infusing them into coconut oil. I loved how multi use they were, you could use these oils as a skin moisturiser for face and body, hair oil to tame frizzy hair and they’re great oils for massages.
In my mid 20’s I saw a gap in the international market for Tongan beauty & skincare products, I noticed many other Polynesian islands had their own beauty brands but Tonga didn’t really have anything and so from there I wanted to create a global ecommerce store to offer Beauty products specially made in Tonga by Tongans. Most importantly I wanted to build a business where I was able to support my people in Tonga with income opportunities.
Another driving force was having the freedom to do what I want, when I want. Starting an ecommerce store allowed me to have that work from home lifestyle where I’m able to make my own decisions, set up my own hours, wear comfortable clothes, and not have worry about peak hour traffic and having to answer to any of my bosses because now I’m my own boss. My husband also travels a lot for work and I get to tag along, while also being able to work from my laptop, I’m super blessed to have an amazing team in Melbourne who can pack and ship orders for me while I’m away.
The challenges the business/market is facing
One of the challenges I have faced, especially during the pandemic is not being able to control certain things such as shipping delays, we heavily rely on postal services to get our packages to our customers and at times they take longer than expected and sometimes packages even get lost. Since the pandemic hit, our international orders that usually take 5 – 10 business days were taking double the time, I actually had 1 customer wait 3 months! Nevertheless, I am super grateful my customers were very understanding.
Another challenge would be the inconsistency of income. It can be very unpredictable, there are times where business can get really busy, especially during holidays and there are quiet days too, so an entrepreneur’s income can constantly go up and down, so I recommend you to save and invest. I think it’s also important to have multiple streams of income, don’t just rely on one income.
The opportunities the business/market is facing
This is probably the best time to start an Ecommerce business. There’s been a rapid rise in online shopping since the pandemic hit and if you have a really good product you’ll have the ability to reach thousands of people just by marketing your product on social media. Marketing is very important in business because it gets the word out about your business, it gives your business a voice. Social media is very powerful when it comes to advertising and digital marketing and the best thing is that it’s free. Your business presence should be on all social media platforms for it to be visible. When I first started my business the main platforms I focused on were Facebook and Instagram but now I’m seeing a shift, where this generation are now moving towards the Tiktok platform.
Advice to others about business
My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to find a niche, research your market, educate yourself, and take advantage of social media platforms because if you have something good to sell, you can reach thousands or even millions of people. Most importantly enjoy your entrepreneurial journey, there will be a lot highs and lows, you’ll come across a lot of hurdles, but don’t let that deter you from moving forward because going though these challenges will not only be a learning experience it will force you to pivot a different way. Changing direction is a good thing.
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