Kluwell Publications develops a range of reading products to encourage positive reading attitudes and help parents and teachers track the progress of students with milestones along the way.
Created by former school teachers and principals, Stan Kluzek and Andrew Coldwell in 1998, the name Kluwell Publications is combination of both Stan and Andrew’s surnames which unified them to a concept that was many years in the making.
Since launch of the business, Kluwell Publications has seen consistent success with not only impressive national sales but launching fulfilment operations in New Zealand and the UK. Despite the growth, the business continues to operate from their location in Bendigo where it had originally started. Stan has since retired and Andrew has a new business partner who is helping to ensure that the business continues to grow and prosper.
I caught up with Andrew Coldwell to talk about how they first created these reading aids for students and how the idea sat with them for quite a number of years before the right set of circumstances presented themselves and they could take that step to turn the idea into a business. We spoke about the ‘learn as you go’ approach that they had to take on, some of the earlier challenges of navigating their way through a new world removed from their teaching backgrounds as well as their growth overseas and how fulfilment deals have helped that expansion.
What did you get out of this episode? Here’s what I learnt;
1. Patience. Great ideas sometimes take time. – The reading aids were an idea that Stan and Andrew had in the 80s but it wasn’t until the mid-90s that the idea went from their own small creation to a wide spread commercial product. The guys kept busy throughout the years however never let the idea go. Through patience and continuously talking about it, it was only a matter of time when the right set of circumstances opened up to seize the opportunity to commercialise the product.
2. Go Pre-Loved to get started – Andrew went to Cash Converters to get this his bits of office equipment to help get the business started. While Cash Converters might not be your immediate go to these days, think about that second hand market for office equipment and technology, especially through online market hubs. An unwanted present, a hardly used item or a factory second option could give you an affordable jump start when getting your business up and running.
3. The power of local help – Andrew and Stan used local printers in Bendigo to help get their orders out across the country. They could have outsourced this to a cheaper option overseas straight away, however by having a local arrangement they were closer to action where they could communicate easier, build rapport and intervene/assist if there was ever a problem. Who do you know in the area that runs their own business might go above and beyond for you?
4. Fulfilment Options – Going abroad can be a daunting process however the fulfilment option for Andrew took a lot of the hassle and stress out of having to physically do the leg work in a completely new market. Sure, you might be getting a smaller margin from your sales but with saved time and resources, it might balance out or tip in your favour long term if the volume is considerable. If you’re dealing with print material or a product that can be produced elsewhere, maybe a fulfilment deal could assist you with taping into a new territory?
Location – PO Box 55, Strathdale, Victoria 3550, Australia