Tauranga is booming. As New Zealand’s fastest growing city, it attracts lots of forward-thinking entrepreneurs. Some arrive to launch their businesses, others make the decisive move with an already established and thriving company. focus asked Jessica Addis (F45 Training), Amber Campbell (Good Buzz Kombucha) and Sarah Mortimer (Zeenya Clothing) how moving to Tauranga has helped their dreams come true.
What made you move in the first place?
Jessica: Early last year, my husband, Shal, and I moved to Melbourne from Napier with the intention of developing our current fields; mine being customer relations and fitness, and Shal’s being strength and conditioning with athletes. Only three months into our big move, we decided to open an F45 training studio in Tauranga. Safe to say, the year was a blur that involved travelling back and forth between Melbourne and Tauranga to get the business off the ground.
Amber: We had quite a lot of roadblocks preventing us from setting up our facility in Wellington.
Sarah: I was working very long hours in my day job in Auckland and couldn’t dedicate enough time to business. Also, Chloe, my business partner, lives in the Bay, so it was quite hard for us to achieve things together.
What was so attractive about Tauranga, businesswise?
Jessica: With the rise of Tauranga over the past few years and the exodus of Auckland residents moving to surrounding cities, we saw a great opportunity to be a part of this!
Amber: In Tauranga, we have access to a bottling facility only a kilometre down the road which really helped us upscale our business a lot quicker. Being close to the port is also great as we prepare to push into overseas markets.
Sarah: It made sense for the business with Chloe living in Te Puke and our distribution being co-ordinated here.
What’s the reaction of the local community been like?
Jessica: The community here is so warm and inviting! The amount of support we have received from our members and ambassadors has been overwhelming. Our members are staying after a class to spend time getting to know one another and talk, and also to get some cuddles from our puppy, Meeko, if he makes a special appearance. I already feel like I’m a local.
Amber: We have definitely felt the love from the community! So many people have reached out and are interested in getting involved with campaigns that we are organising, as well as coming to tour our facility.
Sarah: I’m loving the entrepreneurial spirit in Tauranga. So many people doing their own thing – it’s really motivating. We joined a shared office space for a few months last year and it was so inspiring to be surrounded by like-minded creative entrepreneurs. We are starting to build a real following here and are getting on board with other local businesses to collaborate.
How different is your personal life here to what it was?
Jessica: Currently my days are long. I am in the studio working on our social media, building customer relations, and assisting in coaching sessions. I am truly excited about making a difference in some people’s lives in Tauranga through health and fitness. However, I do miss friends I made in Melbourne. Also, the brunch spots in Melbourne are incredible, so I look forward to checking out the new spots in Tauranga once time allows.
Amber: We’ve definitely been able to create more work-life balance here. Building a team has helped a lot. The weather is definitely a plus too. Alex and I really do miss our daughters though, who stayed behind in Wellington to follow their passions. While our physical work has lessened, that hole in our hearts is always present.
Sarah: I have much more time for myself, time to fit in my hobbies like ocean swimming, yoga and running. I feel a lot more balanced. Building social networks is always challenging in a new city so one thing I do miss are my friends in Auckland.
What is your goal for this year?
Jessica: Our goal is to reach 150+ members by 2019, and we are well on our way to achieving this. If by the end of this year I can say that, as a team, we have successfully nurtured F45 Tauranga to be a place where members feel supported and encouraged to reach their fitness potential, then I will be ecstatic!
Amber: We are about to launch kegs of kombucha into bars and restaurants around the country, which is so exciting! We are also gearing up for our Full Of Life campaign to rally together passionate, like-minded people to lead a fundraising effort for mental illness. We want to get people talking, connecting, supporting and loving each other through times of great mental hardship.
Sarah: It’s a very exciting year for us – the core Zeenya range is now ‘Made in New Zealand’. We have been working so hard on moving our production here! The first entirely ‘local’ collection is a short-term goal. We are looking at spreading our colourful sportswear far and wide.
What advice would you give to entrepreneurs moving to Tauranga?
Jessica: What I found worked amazingly well was connecting with others through social media before moving. This is how we found our ambassadors for F45 – and they’re all now my great friends! Through them, I have met more people and the pattern continues. Building a strong network of contacts and getting involved in the community are so important when you move for business!
Amber: I would highly recommend getting in touch with Priority One. They do an amazing job getting you started and connecting you with the right people.
Sarah: Put yourself out there – join groups, try a new hobby, get into a shared office space and, basically talk to as many people as you can. Spread the word about what you are doing and find other like-minded people who are keen to collaborate and just bounce ideas around with. You really have to put yourself out there when you move to a new place.