After locating the manufacturer of Dragonstone an agreement was reached that if a stipulated tonnage was ordered on an annual basis the exclusivity for NZ would be forth coming.
To test the market, selected items were purchased and once arrive, distributed into antique auctions both in Auckland and Wellington. Steve recalls the response was overwhelming besides receiving a good profit, the majority of purchases were antique dealers thinking the stoneware were originals. Not reproduced from.
That was it a full container load was ordered the only downside, arrival was the middle of our winter. Steve recalls we were so naive in those early days, besides having the season all wrong. We also did the Trade Days rather than display a small but selected range, we used to load the truck to its max 5 tonne. Thankfully we were given permission to setup early and come closing time, finished loading up 4 to 5 hours later.
In those days Michele recalls there was only Steve and myself and the announcement shortly after closure ‘pizzas and light refreshments are now available'. For us it was like a Tui brewery road hoarding ‘yeah right'. It was certainly a test on our relationship.
Things have certainly changed over the decades. Being a small business we have no reps on the road. No longer involved ourselves with trade shows but through word of mouth and trade networking have a hard core or repeat customers.
This financial year has been our best year, with most shipments arriving at Himatangi for distribution and also containers being sent direct from the UK to trade customers.
Steve & Michele are quickly to endorse a full container load is the ultimate. Besides receiving an Indent Plus price which includes freight and product pricing. Stock is guaranteed with a good cross section able to be ordered to make an eye catching display. Steve and Michele also assist with the container unpacking setting up the display and staying for the promotion. It takes approximately a week. But our most recent ones that we have done the trade customers has been absolutely delighted, with repeats on the go.
Although the trade name is Dragonstone the factory is called Hampshire Garden Craft located just outside Petersfield in a rural location. The reconstituted stone is sourced from the Cotswold near Bath and mixed with fiber and cement. Compared with Haddon Stone which is dry mix. Dragonstone is a wet mix, creating more definition when poured into a latex inner. Once dry an antique wash is applied giving the stoneware a timeless finish.
There is just under five hundred items available in the Dragonstone range from which 95% have there own copyright. The items range from classical to contemporary coupled with a huge amount of cash can carry impulse lines.
To conclude Steve & Michele are not trying to compete with NZ made stoneware or various items, sourced from Asia. To quote all the are doing is offering a point of difference at an affordable price. Where quality and service is paramount.
If you are interested in becoming a stockist either email, phone or refer to the dragonstone website.