We here at Mekong Quilts is always eager to find ‘Sales Angels’ to help spread the word about the work we do & also spread quilts across beds around the world!
We thought the best way to explain how you can get involved is by hearing Ro’s story. Roz is our very own Australian Sales Angel, who sells Mekong Quilts in Australia, a few questions.
How did you first hear about Mekong Quilts?
I came across Mekong Quilts when my husband showed me an article about the store based in Siem Reap, Cambodia. I have always wanted to travel to Cambodia and like most tourists the main attraction is the Angkor Wat temples.
We had recently welcomed a new granddaughter into our family and decided we would find the quilt shop and purchase a new quilt for her during our holiday. When we arrived in Siem Reap there had been flooding and we had difficulties reaching the shop. When we finally arrived we quickly realized it was well worth the effort and we were totally amazed by what we found. I will never forget the colours and beauty of the quilts cascading down the wall. I was totally blown away and knew there and then that these quilts were something special.
The girls in the store were just delightful and fussed over my husband and I, offering us a seat and a nice cold drink. They showed us a wide variety of quilts and told us about how the profit made from each quilt was used for.
I was deeply touched when I heard of the work that Mekong Plus was doing by running the quilting program. The opportunity for employment, good working conditions and a regular income to improve the lives for the women and their families was wonderful. I decided there and then I was going to purchase more than one quilt. That day I purchased three quilts and I left very happy indeed.
On the way back to our hotel, I had a thought that I might be able to assist in some way by showing these quilts in Australia and increasing sales for Mekong Quilts.
It took me another four days to get the nerve to return to the shop and give my details and intentions to help. I think I was frightened of rejection at the time. I don’t know why!
On my return to the shop I purchased another three quilts, left my details to be contacted in Australia if ever required, and returned to Australia.
On my arrival back in Australia I went about researching Mekong Quilts/Mekong Plus and waited to hear from anyone from the organisation. It was a couple of weeks later that Bernard contacted me and it has gone from there.
What made you want to tell people in Australia about Mekong Quilts?
I have always had a strong urge, if that’s the word, to do voluntary work overseas. The desire to work with women and their children in developing countries has been a desire for a long time. As for most of us, family commitments can make this impossible and at times I had felt frustration. Hearing of Mekong Plus I knew I was getting the chance to help in an indirect way by promoting and selling the quilts in Australia. It has given me a sense of being able to help & it fits in perfectly with my life.
I really wanted people to know that the quilts are far more than a beautiful creation. From start to finish and beyond they are making such a difference to people’s lives.
How much time do you dedicate to selling?
Most of my sales have come from word of mouth. If I receive an inquiry I put a reasonable amount of time into that order in the form of visiting the customer’s home to discuss their particular requirements, take measurements etc. I would love to put more time in but with family and work commitments I have to keep plodding along slowly. I tend to look at school fetes, organisations where they need a speaker, that sort of thing. It is a bonus to meet new people so I am a winner too. Whenever and wherever I can, I am telling people about Mekong Quilts .
What are you looking to achieve with your selling?
Sell more and more quilts and promote the work being done by Mekong Quilts. I am really looking forward to having samples to be able to have on hand at all times. There are so many possibilities with this beautiful product . I hope as my work commitments get less I can commit more time to selling quilts. This is my plan for the future and I hope I will always be a friend of Mekong Plus/ Mekong Quilts.
What advice would you give to anyone else that is eager to become a Mekong Quilts Sales Angel?
That is a difficult question, for myself promoting the work done by Mekong Plus is of the most importance. So I would probably say, do your research and become familiar on the work being done by Mekong Plus / Mekong Quilts so as to inform your customers and of course enjoy the experience as selling even one quilt is such a delight.
Can you tell me about how you went about stating up sales in Australia?
My biggest concern was mainly that I had no knowledge of Australian import laws. I decided to do some research and made various phone calls to state and federal government departments concerning importing and taxes involved.
My main concern was import tax. This does not have to be paid if the goods imported are under $1000. I have always sent orders for an individual quilt so have never crossed the thousand dollar mark, hence never had the problem of paying any tax. I believe there is talk of change – let’s hope it doesn’t.
When I got involved selling the quilts I offered to sell them taking on certain expenses myself. Initially I had planned to show at fairs shows etc. and to cover these larger expenses I was going to factor a very small percentage to cover those costs. Unfortunately the cost of showing at these venues have become very expensive so I tend to favour word of mouth sales or school fetes etc where I don’t have the overheads and can keep the quilts at their original price. Mekong Quilts have told me in the future they would be able to look to cover these costs; I just need to send the details through and wait for a reply they will review on a case by case basis.
My first showing of quilts was done with the quilts I had brought back from Cambodia. This was quite an expense initially and I have also found that carting large quilts to people’s homes is not easy. Mekong Quilts have now developed a beautiful catalogue and this is far more practical.
Over the last three years I have also taken custom order quilts for customers. This involved liaising with the customer on their choice of design and individual measurements.
One of these customers chose a design featuring a large dragon. The customer had a drawing produced of a dragon that was also coloured to the colour scheme she wanted. I did the measurements, also a drawing of how she wanted the design placed on the quilt and emailed it off to Mekong Quilts.
The quilt turned out to be a true work of art and the customer was totally overjoyed. The care and workmanship with all the quilts I have sold has been outstanding and all the customers have been delighted.
I suppose new Sales Angels would like to know how I go about putting in orders and making payments
When I receive an order I type the details of the quilt order plus freight charges to confirm with the customer. This includes quilt design, the size, colour and any special requirements plus chosen method of freight (air/sea). I then give a copy to the customer with an estimated date of delivery. I then send those same details to Mekong Quilts and forward a payment through Pay Pal on my credit card the customer then pays me direct. I have never had any problems with this way of payment method.
Well that is all from Roz for now, if you would like further information about getting involved with Mekong Quilts, please don’t hesitate to contact us or if you would like to ask Roz a few questions her email email@example.com
Customer testimonial: Yesterday my stunning Mekong Quilt arrived. The workmanship was beautiful and everything was perfect. I would recommend to anyone considering a new quilt to contact: Roz Myles / Greenmount Western Australia. With many thanks, Helen Richardson, Greenmount, Western Australia.