Tim is here, there, everywhere!
A few months back, while I was thinking about story ideas for our magazine, I thought – what about a story about Hoselink? Being a very happy Hoselink customer myself, and having had very enjoyable dealings with the Company to run a couple of OC Life reader promotions, I thought…why not?
To start with, I wonder just how many homes in Orange have a Hoselink hose, we have two at our home and after several years of use, it’s easy to see why they are so popular. Everything they say about them in their ads seems to be true, they work wonderfully well, if you need spare parts or service and have to contact the Company, it’s a very pleasant experience…. and so it goes on. Overall, Hoselink just struck me as being one of those wonderful success stories that we hear about from time to time, a small family business that just seemed to become an overnight success.
I was wrong! Overnight success? No! Success? Yes! But only after investing a lot of hard work, stress and money before a stroke of good luck put the Company on the road to the success it is today.
The founder and man behind the business is also the face of the Hoselink ads on TV, his name is Tim Kierath and I asked Tim to share some of his story with us. Here’s what I discovered -
Hoselink is an Australian family business and has been creating innovative hosing solutions for the past two decades, but it’s been no easy journey. From breaking point to 30-second success, it was sheer determination and perseverance that kept Tim’s vision from floundering. Still at the helm of the business today, Tim shows no signs of slowing down as the business continues to grow.
The Hoselink Australian success story started with a watering mishap. After yet another hose fitting burst off as he watered the garden, Tim was left feeling fed up and soaked through. After a few false starts, the accountant turned entrepreneur worked closely with an industrial engineer to develop Australia’s first and only garden hose fitting that would be guaranteed never to leak or burst off your hose, thereby solving this everyday problem for good. By 1998, Tim had perfected and patented the design and was ready to release his innovative new hose fittings to the Australian public for the first time.
The Hoselink connectors ensured a 100% watertight connection and completely unique design that bucked the trend for the more typical click-on style fittings, doing away with the retention claws and weak grip. Hoselink’s sturdy nylon fittings boasted an innovative new bayonet connection, watertight o-ring to o-ring seal, and a split ring clamping the hose over a barbed stem. This design guaranteed that the hose would never burst off and in so doing, was able to withstand exceptionally high water pressure of up to 450psi.
Just 10 years ago, in 2009, the business was losing $300,000 per annum
and everything was on the line to make it work
These exciting new products were distributed throughout the five largest retailers in the country, however, it wasn’t smooth sailing. Times were tough for the Kierath family as Tim trialled his new invention around the world with little financial success, coming up against ruthless retail giants, early customer communication struggles and near financial ruin that almost saw the Kierath’s lose their house to the bank.
Just 10 years ago, in 2009, the business was losing $300,000 per annum and everything was on the line to make it work. Little did the Kierath’s know that it would be a four-minute advertorial with Tim and daughter Sally on the Kerry-Anne Morning Show that would set the phones ringing. With only a couple of landline handsets laid out on the dining room table in Tim and his wife Nicky’s family home, the phones began to ring hot. With one person taking messages, the rest of the family scrambled to find a landline or mobile with enough battery charge to call the customer back. Just 30 seconds into the segment on Kerry-Anne the fortunes of the business had begun to turnaround – almost 10 years ago to the day!
Soon Tim became the face of the brand and a dab hand at presenting in front of the camera.
‘The thing is, anyone can appear on TV. What you don’t know is how viewers will react to the person they are watching,’ explains Tim. ‘In our case the viewer reaction was instantaneous and massive. What we hear even today is that they trust what they see. Our response has been to pursue good design and engineering and thereby justify this trust. In so doing we create lasting connections. That is, we connect people, family and friends. We connect to nature, and to the home and garden. Our commitment to our Hoselink family is unwavering and underpins all that we do.’
The launch of a new website and direct selling approach focussing solely on Australia soon after Tim and Sally’s first TV appearance, kept sales building with each successive year. Profit came at last enabling loans to be repaid. With the support of his children, Sally, Ben and James, who had all joined the business, Hoselink began to thrive. From the dining room table to an impressive office and warehouse in Brookvale, business was booming, and by 2011 a new larger premises was required to accommodate Hoselink’s ever-growing staff and inventory. An Australian Business Award for Product Excellence followed in 2013, with a second award for their Retractable Hose Reels in July 2015. The business continues to grow with word of mouth recommendations being a major source of the growth.
From humble beginnings 20 years ago, Hoselink’s product range has expanded to include retractable hose reels, watering kits, cutting tools, gardening equipment, home accessories, cleaning gear, boat ear muffs and, of course, the same great no-burst hose fittings. And best of all, it’s still a 100% Australian family-owned and run business with heart, and a solid belief in a product that works.