Rob & Mart Drake-Knight

Member Article

Behind the business with RAPANUI

In the run-up to Sir Richard Branson’s ’Screw Business As Usual’ competition, Bdaily meets some of the finalists. This week eco-clothing company RAPANUI take us behind the business.

What key challenges has your company recently faced?

Resources, we’re just coming out of busy period of development – IT and Business process and it’s meant that our internal resources have been focused on building rather than actively growing, it’s frustrating but we’re done now and ready to get back in the rhythm of things.

What is your biggest achievement over the past 12 months?

Acquiring Red Bull, The Met Office and Vestas as some of our private label eco uniform clients and winning the RSPCA Good Business Awards for Innovation in fashion for our Traceability (http://www.rapanuiclothing.com/ethical-fashion/traceability-clothing.html) and Eco Labelling (http://www.rapanuiclothing.com/ethical-fashion/eco-labelling-clothing.html) initiatives.

What is your biggest focus for the coming year?

Driving sales! We’re focused on developing content for Rapanui that will draw online customers to us and we’re looking for more stockists, concessions, private label clients and dropship partners (www.rapanuiclothing.com/ merchant). We’ve got some exciting content coming soon!

If you had to choose one top piece of advice for someone just starting out in business, or is currently operating within your industry sector, what would it be?

Be patient; it will take a lot longer than you think, learn to do things that you might think of outsourcing – it will save you thousands, get out there! Seize any chance to shout about your project.

Can you share with us your view of the current landscape of business, in this region or generally and where your organisation sits within it?

Very interesting question, Rapanui is based on the Isle of Wight – part of the South East region. However, the Isle of Wight has more in common in terms of jobs and GDP with parts of Cornwall and Wales, we have one of the highest rates of youth unemployment for 16-25 year olds in the country and some jobs have more than 120 applicants! The trade on the Island is seasonal and most of the employment is in the tourism sector so we see a seasonal increase and decrease in unemployment – generally the business landscape is difficult for enterprise as we don’t qualify for the sort of support that somewhere like Cornwall does with its convergence funding. We do however benefit for small rates and rent etc.

Rapanui is an example of what can be achieved on the Isle of Wight with a lot of hard work, enthusiasm and
determination, we’re passionate about sustainability, outstanding customer service, quality product and providing opportunity and jobs for young people in a challenging environment.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Rob & Mart Drake-Knight .

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