DO YOU COME FROM A LAND DOWN UNDER?
WEMOTO GOES TO AUSTRALIA
Wemoto is in the process of setting up a franchise in Australia – yes we are – it is upside down but that does not seem to be a problem and Pavel, who is over there at the coal face (that's the charcoal face you understand) doing the groundwork, does not seem to have noticed yet luckily.
We asked him a few questions about how he was getting on and this is what he replied:
A bridge too far?
* How did you find work premises and was it easy to find somewhere? What are the premises like?
This was the first thing on my mind when I stepped off the plane – the sooner I could get going the better. But of course things were not going to be that instant – I knew it would take some time to find the ideal spot.
First things first the company had to be set up and registered in Australia and this took almost a month. While I was waiting I had a look at some prospective premises for a warehouse /shop. I saw lots – some were perfect but too expensive for the budget and some were reasonably priced but shockingly awful. I had decided to set up camp in Bomaderry about 100 miles south of Sydney. I wanted to stay north of the Nowra bridge as it can get busy at peak times so I would be in a good position for passing trade and it's near to the post office, shops and the station – all of which would be useful for the business and for my future staff.
So eventually, the paper work ( a long winded nightmare of tax file numbers, forms and lots of expense) was completed and meanwhile I had found the perfect premises. It is a warehouse with a small counter for a shop where customers can come in. A humble beginning but from small acorns (or Coolabah tree seeds) as they say...
* How far is it to civilisation from the work warehouse?
The warehouse is on the outskirts of the town but within easy access. I am only about a 15 minute cycle or a 5 minute drive from work at the moment along a nice country lane – it will be a great commute to work when I eventually get my motorcycle!
But just beyond it, as soon as you leave the town limits, you are in the middle of forests with nothing there, it's amazing. I have driven out into it to have a look and you could drive for hours and not see any sign of humans for miles. Quite different from the crowded little UK. I must get a bike soon and do some proper exploring.
* So have you set up a shop yet and do you have any parts in stock already?
Yes in a manner of speaking. The shop front is not too fancy as yet, just a desk with a Wemoto banner along the front and a computer on it and me standing behind it looking welcoming!
I do have a few parts already but not many yet as I am still waiting for my first major stock shipment to arrive. I guess it always takes time in the beginning for things to get going – it will all get there in the end
* Have you made many sales yet either online or through the shop?
Yes we have had a great first month – hopefully this will just get better and better as time goes on. Most of the sales so far are online but we have also had some ebay orders and even a couple of face to face sales in the shop to local customers. One new customer found us on the internet and then made the 45 minute ride to say hello and buy a fuel tap replacement kit for his fantastic looking XJ900F (check out the picture). It was great to meet him!
It's a family affair
* Have you got somewhere for the family to live yet?
This part is still mind blowing! I am still trying to get my head around how estate and letting agents work over here! I have seen quite a few places some were great, some absolutely terrible – pretty much par for the course I suppose. But at the moment until the family arrive I am renting a room with a landlady who is very helpful and gives me lots of useful local knowledge.
Good neighbours become good friends?
* Have you got good neighbours and are they friendly?
A resounding yes. Both my work and home neighbours are really nice and friendly. I have even been invited round for dinner already. The area is a small country town of around 32,000 people in total both in the town and the surrounding burbs. And as you might expect it has a really small town feel with lots of people knowing each other and a generally very friendly vibe.
* How is the local wildlife? Any kangaroos, koalas or scary spiders in the vicinity?
Wildlife!! Where do I start!! Well loads of birds like cockatoos which seem to own the town making a great racket and having parties in the town parks. Out of town in the villages live the Galah, another species of parrot which are hilarious to watch and also pretty noisy.
Kangaroos yes but I have only seen a couple from a distance and no Koalas they seem to be pretty rare in the wild at least where I am. Lots of possums in the trees though ( Dame Edna will be pleased to hear that).
The spiders are everywhere, waiting to bite me! I've seen a few Andrew's cross spiders which are beautiful and harmless and a couple of Hunstmen spiders which made me jump as they are pretty big. I have also met a couple of black house spiders and been warned by the locals to steer clear as they can get you into 'serious trouble' – a friendly wave each morning will be enough for them I think, they may not become good friends! I've also seen a few lizards but so far no snakes, so far so good as far as I am concerned!
* Most importantly how far it is to the beach?
Ok you are going to get jealous now – it's only a 15 minute drive from town to the 7 mile National Park Beach and about 30 mins to Jervis Bay Marine park with its miles of pure white sand – really breathtaking!
He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich...
* Have you got a barbie yet and if so have you had kangaroo steaks on it yet?
Sorry to disappoint you on this one no barbeque as yet but I have had some kangaroo steaks and how shall I put this... I might not be tempted to eat it everyday but it was very nice for a change as it is quite different from other meat.
* Finally do you get the impression that the Aussies like and use motorcycles a lot and are in favour of the business as far as you can tell?
Yes absolutely from what I have seen so far loads of Australians enjoy motorcycling. They seem to use motorcycles for commuting and touring and there are loads of off road bikes on the back of their UTEs heading out to the wilds of a weekend. Off roading seem to be big – I guess they have lots of off road terrain to ride on. Not a day has passed since I arrived in February that I haven't seen at least one motorcycle. Weekend riding seems to be a very common pastime here.
Anyway that's the story so far – lots more to come I'm sure over the next few months if the spiders don't get him – watch this space and meanwhile if you want to get in touch:
Wemoto Australia PTY LTD
Unit 4, 32 Railway street
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