Samoa Stationery and Books opening in Auckland

One of Samoa’s favourite retailers, Samoa Stationery and Books (SSAB) will open an Auckland branch this month.

Fiti Leung Wai (right) and husband Aumua Ming Leung Wai at PT&I's Auckland office in 2015.
Fiti Leung Wai (right) and husband Aumua Ming Leung Wai at PT&I’s Auckland office in 2015.

The new store, named “Sei Oriana Gift Shop”, will be located at the new Samoa Government House adjacent to the Mangere Town Centre in Mangere. The store is currently being fitted out and depending on the merchandising should be open on Thursday, November 17.

It’s a big step for Leung Wai, owner of Samoa Stationary and Books (SSAB) in Apia, who won the 2015 New Zealand Prime Minister’s Fellow Award that included a visit to New Zealand to receive the award and meet with Prime Minister To’osavili John Key.

Pacific Trade & Invest (PT&I) hosted Mrs Wai and her husband Aumua Ming Leung Wai for a roundtable discussion with key agencies including the Samoa Trade Commissioner, New Zealand Samoa Trade & Investment Commission, Pacific Cooperation Foundation, Samoa Business Network, Ministry of Pacific Island Peoples and Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade. She also went on to meet members of the Pacific Island business community.

Although Mrs Leung Wai had been thinking of opening a branch in New Zealand, the trip was a revelation.  She saw first-hand so much potential with the number of Pacific Islanders, especially Samoans living there and many of her suppliers also based there. Fortuitously she also learned there would be retail space available at the new Samoa Government House in Mangere.

Mrs Leung inspected the premises and considering the potential of the location, submitted an expression of interest (EOI) for her proposed business.

“After committing the project to God, I felt that the time was right to set up a branch in NZ,” Mrs Leung Wai said.

Samoa Trade Commissioner, Tofaeono Fonoti Dr Lafitai Fuatai said the Government of Samoa accepted the EOI and the proposed business plan.

“Generally, Sei Oriana will be serving Pacific communities around Auckland with merchandise including books on Pasifika literature, gift items including body apparel for all ages, perfumes, handicrafts and a host of others.”

The opening of the new store will be dedicated to “a woman she described as one of her mothers, the late Epenesa Saifoloi Malepaeai.  “I believe our branch in New Zealand is reflective of Epenesa’s heart as it will basically be helping our people here in Samoa to sell their products overseas.  It will simply be our Samoan people’s shop in New Zealand,” Mrs Leung Wai said in the Samoa Observer, of August 21, 2016.

It is another step toward achieving the dream of expanding into the rest of the Pacific region, worldwide and adapting each store to suit each country market along the way. SSAB has five branches in the big island of Savaii and one in Pago Pago, American Samoa.

With Christmas just weeks away, the Auckland store would provide an outlet for Samoan handicrafts, products, Samoan language books and other Pacific made products including jewellery. But there is another service she hopes will assist families in Samoa and New Zealand. The Family Corner will display various appliances such as washing machines, TVs and fridges. Buyers can select the products, pay for the goods in Auckland and pick up the appliances in Samoa. An important service and point of difference for local buyers is the after sales support provided by SSAB for these products.

PT&I Trade Development Manager Joe Fuavao said, “Setting-up in-market allows you to maintain control over the pricing and distribution of your product which are important to building your brand. The establishment of the Sei Oriana Gift Shop presents an opportunity for New Zealand consumers to purchase quality Pacific products and experience a high level of service which has been a hallmark of the SSAB brand for a long time.”

The SSAB initiative underlines a good understanding of customer’s needs in Samoa and New Zealand.  It has also highlights the company’s innovative approach to using new ideas for promotions and regular specials making it popular with customers.

SSAB Auckland will stock a variety of Samoan Handicrafts, Fashion clothing from Samoa’s designers, Food products, jewellery including black pearls from Tahiti, stationery, Samoan language books, toys and electrical appliances.

For more information please contact:  PT&I Trade Development Manager Joe Fuavao at Joe.f@pacifictradeinvest.co.nz

 

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