Hear from entrepreneurs Geoff Ross and Justine Troy
Geoff Ross and Justine Troy are serial entrepreneurs and environmental campaigners. Together they built and then globally scaled 42Below, Ecoya and Trilogy. Their latest venture is Lake Hāwea Station: New Zealand’s first carbon positive station. With Toi Tū certification, Lake Hāwea station produces farm-to-consumer trackable merino. In this exclusive Spark Lab Speaker event they share from a lifetime of experience in launching unique global brands. Their talk includes insights on:
- Where to find growth opportunities
- Questioning the status quo
Find the tailwind
Part of launching a successful venture is looking for a category with growth. You also need to find a unique point of difference to give yourself an advantage. Then the challenge is to change the way people think about that sector. With farming, Geoff and Justine know people want sustainable and ethical solutions and have set about delivering a transparent solution to meet that demand.
Get big on branding
The Lake Hāwea Station ‘LWS’ logo is on the buildings, the coffee mugs and the bales of wool they ship overseas. This was a conscious part of how Geoff and Justine have set out to develop the farm and differentiate its products. In the farming sector few stations or farms undertake this level of branding. These different touchpoints elevate their offering. This reinforces the thought that goes into every aspect of what they do and shows proud examples of their brand values.
Get used to hearing ‘No’
Be prepared for a lot of obstacle. Disrupting and differentiating a product or service category means challenging the way things are currently done. Being resilient and pursuing different approaches have turned stone walls into successes. “No is not really no until you’ve heard it seven times”.
Make brave, strategic global moves
Justine and Geoff avoid letting borders get in the way of their aspirations. They think beyond New Zealand across all of their brands. They do this by looking at global trends and firmly aiming at global markets, while using aspects of the clean, green New Zealand advantage to build their point of difference. That difference amplifies their push to make farming more sustainable while incorporating innovative technology.
Question the status quo
Shearing is a great example of the way Justine and Geoff have re-evaluated the established process and asked ‘why?’. Rather than paying shearers based on the number of sheep they shear, which incentivises speed, they asked their shearers to slow down. This process results in a better quality of fleece and causing less stress to the animals. They have also developed a different payment structure to encourage an end result that delivers to their brand values.