Success Stories 15 Feb 2019
(Tumua Tuifoao and Danika Cooper attending a Samoa Business Network event. Photo credit: Galumoana Photograph)
There have been many pearls of wisdom Danika Cooper and Tumua Tuifao have faced together, but the one that sticks in their minds is that "one size does NOT fit all".
This was a lesson they learnt when Tumua was in search for some stone beaded bracelets and a modern stylised ring, but much to his disappointment, his hand and wrists could not fit standard sizes at retail outlets and having them custom made would have cost a fortune.
"We then decided to try making them," Danika says
"We bought some beads online and gave it a go. Being rather proud of what we had accomplished, we posted some photos on our Facebook pages."
Their creation attracted a lot of interest from their peers who also had a problem with the one size fits all approach.
"Within a week we had orders from our family and friends all over New Zealand and it dawned on us that there was a clear demand, so that's when we decided to make more bracelets in all sizes and styles."
Prior to starting Danika Cooper Jewellery, the young couple had careers in other fields, Tumua worked in a large renowned finance company and Danika was in the tourism industry, specifically Pacific Tourism which led her to live in the Cook Islands for a short period of time.
Their love and passion for the Pacific plays a major role in the business, Danika who is of Chinese/European heritage grew to have an affinity with Pacific arts and culture through her time spent in the Cook Islands, whereas Tumua who is a New Zealand-born Samoan is inherently proud of his Samoan roots.
"We are inspired daily by the Pacific culture which surrounds us here in Auckland," says Danika.
"Our family influences us the most, for Tumua, it's remembering his parents and aunty who made sacrifices to ensure his upbringing was a good one."
"Their choice to come to New Zealand from Samoa to seek a better lifestyle for the next generation is something that pushes him everyday to make them proud."
The couple have made sacrifices of their own, from attending an Auckland goldsmith school to learn how to work with precious metals and gemstones, to seeking out business mentors and giving up their personal time to commit to their vision of having their own successful business.
"Working 40+ hour weeks in our roles meant there were many late nights and weekends given up to the jewellery business. We are still learning (sometimes from mistakes), as neither of us have set up a business school from scratch before."
However, their emotional and own financial investments in their business has reaped plenty of rewards, as Danika explains,
"Our most monumental moment was when we were asked to stock our product in a well-known retail store in Auckland."
"To see our goods within the store made us really proud of what we were doing, and we had to pinch ourselves to make sure we weren't dreaming!
"However, we feel that what makes us proud of what we are doing, is receiving feedback from our customers regarding the products we are creating. The amazing compliments about our designs, how the jewellery pieces make the customers feel and the level of service we provide is what truly warms our hearts."
Looking towards the future, Danika Cooper Jewellery is set to increase its international presence, heading outwards to the Pacific region. The business is also set to release its new range.
"In 2019 and beyond, we hope to have retail stockists throughout New Zealand and in the Pacific Islands."
"We are also looking to launch our Men's line of jewellery and accessories in the coming months. With this growth we anticipate we will both be working full-time on Danika Cooper Jewellery by the end of the year, which will enable us to focus primarily on designing and creating our personal pieces of empowerment."
For aspiring business owners who need motivation to start their venture, Danika says it all comes down to hard-work, passion and networking.
"As an entrepreneur, not only do you need to have real passion for what you want to achieve, but you also need to work really hard to achieve it."
"No one will work harder than you to achieve your goals, so you really need to ensure you are committed to giving it your all."