Our Stories

Member Spotlight: 5 Minutes With Christoper Flahey, Director At Flahey's Nutritionals P

ACBC ( NSW ) Member Spotlight: 5 Minutes With Christoper Flahey, Director at Flahey's Nutritionals Pty Ltd.

Bio: Currently the Managing Director of Flahey's Nutritionals, manufacturer of the Flahey's Future certified organic children’s nutritional drink. I have been lucky enough to have worked with great teams across the FMCG and Pharmaceutical industry spanning over 30 years, through this period I have worked with leading manufacturers such as - Bellamy's Organic, Simplot Australia, SPC Ardmona, Campbells Soups and Johnson & Johnson.

1. Tell us about your business and how you've leveraged your Australia-China connections to build your success in China?

Flahey’s Nutritionals is Australia’s first certified organic product manufactured under the regulation “Food for special medical purposes”. Selling to the Pharmacy market with distribution throughout the API network we have been able to gain access to over 3000 Australian pharmacies nationally. In developing our business plan we made sure that we consulted widely with healthcare professionals so that we could deliver an exceptional quality product that doesn’t only say it is healthy but is. The key findings of our research was to have “Real ingredients” and to make sure that our product focuses on  No Added Sugar. As an ACBC member I have gained an insight in to many aspects of the China market, especially via insightful e-commerce education delivered by real people that have been there and done it, not just theory! Our business continues to develop by interacting with other key partner members, networking via the “Roundtable” discussions and actually partnering with member businesses. Currently we are working with Sinorbis e-commerce specialist in China on digital execution.

2. What does a typical day look like for you and what are you currently working on?

Well you have to get your priorities right, so it’s a coffee to start the day, then followed by a walk through retailers to view what’s new (Packaging, products or promotions). I have a monthly work schedule broken down by week, that way I stay on track to meet the business goals. The tasks are wildly varied, probably the most important task and one that can never wait is to deliver service and consumer insights to our retail customers.  We are currently working on our interaction with KOL within the Nutrition and dietician space both in Australia and China, both listening to their advice and detailing our plans so that they have both buy in and understanding of our business.

3. What would you say are the five key elements for starting and running a successful business in/with China?

  • Know your target market well, I have heard so many times “If I could just get 1% of the China market I will be successful” Easily said not so easy to do. Many people completely miss the opportunities China presents due to a belief that what works in Australia will translate in to success in China (Not So!)
  • You must have a specific point of difference, that can be product sourcing - in our case Certified Organic, It can be packaging advances or formulation, but you can not survive without a clearly differentiated strategy. I have seen many players in the Nutritional space just put a Kangaroo, Koala or a map of Australia and think that is differentiated, it is not!
  • You must embrace and respect China. You must immerse yourself in its culture and understand its people and what they aspire to, only then can you succeed.
  • In my business it is extremely important to have a reference point in the Australian market, that is Chinese Mums want to see your product retailing in Australian stores and being purchased by Australian Mums.
  • The biggest barrier for Australian businesses wanting to develop their business in China is language and written communication. If you don’t have this resource, find a partner and use them. A great starting point is to discuss your requirements with the staff at the ACBC as they may be able to connect you with another member that can help.

4. How do you go about marketing your business in Australia/China and what has contributed to this success?

Our marketing plan revolves around the strength of being a Certified Organic product and superior formulations. At every point no matter who we speak to about our business we stress the importance of these two business strengths. Our marketing plan is to engage KOL in the Nutritional and Dietician space and have them be our brand voices. We want to encourage the Daigou customers, we want to embrace and help them develop their business models.

5. You have been very successful to date, but there have no doubt been challenges - what's been your biggest challenge that you have overcome in your business journey with China?

The hardest part of the journey was to develop a reputable and sustainable supply chain, the reason why there are no other certified Organic products in this market is because it is hard. It is hard to source raw materials and it is hard to find the best manufacturers to manufacturer to your standards. It took the business almost two years to find, develop and secure these suppliers. It would have been much easier to spot buy raw materials but we knew that that would not be acceptable for the Chinese market. China expect the very best, they expect consistently high quality and they expect that quality to be authenticated and that is what we have done.

6. What's your motto/mantra?

As a sports fanatic I like to link sport and business, I was once asked by the parents of my child’s soccer team to coach them, they had previously been less than successful so I took the role on and our Motto was “Never give up on a play” That served the team well and it serves me well in business every day.