Not ready to fish just yet
After a highly successful career in the livestock industry, Brett Watson was ready to retire at the age of 52. But a year later, Brett became bored and his wife was sick of having him at home, so he went searching for a business venture and found one in his hometown of Te Awamutu. “I bought Carpet Court in Te Awamutu.”
few years later, Brett was at a national Carpet Court conference when he was introduced to Matamata’s Graeme and Fay Waterson. “They told me about their intentions and I expressed an interest,” he said. He came to Matamata “for a good look around” and after crossing a few T’s and dotting a few I’s he became directing manager of Waterson’s in January 2009. Since starting at Waterson’s, the one thing Brett has noticed is the loyalty Matamata residents have to shopping locally.
“Graeme and Fay know everyone in Matamata. I’d imagine that most Matamata residents have one piece of furniture or something in their homes that was purchased at Waterson’s,” he said.
The transition from the live stock industry to the carpet and furniture industries was an easy one for Brett. “It’s about adapting business philosophies that have worked for me during my years in business.”
Brett can’t hide his passion for Carpet Court’s exclusive range of Smart Strand carpet. Smart Strand carpet has been dubbed the rhino carpet after a study into its effectiveness was conducted with Ricko the rhino at Birmingham Zoo.
The carpet was laid in Ricko’s enclosure to test its durability. It passed with flying colours. Rhino carpet is the way of the future, according to Brett.
“It won’t stain, won’t fade, it has a 25 year warranty...I don’t think you can get any better than that.” Marketing is one of Brett’s greatest strengths and he isn’t afraid to take risks. After having a look online at some life like rhinos, Brett jumped on a plane to the Phillipines and purchased 54 of them. A dozen of these were life sized and the rest miniature versions.
The decision to buy the life like fibre glass rhinos paid dividends for Brett who has gone on to win national Carpet Court awards for marketing.
Brett sat outside Carpet Court in Tauranga for about 15 minutes just to test the effectiveness of having a rhino in front of the store. In that short amount of time, ten families stopped to have a look. “It became a topic of conversation, I don’t know how many of those people went in to Carpet Court but the rhino served its purpose. They’re such great advertising tools.”
When ever he can, Brett becomes involved with community initiatives. Brett was one of the people responsible for the reformation of the Matamata Business Association. One of their first initiatives was the Matamata $1 million Promotion which saw people enter a draw with one chance of winning $1 million. The promotion ran from August 2009 until November 2009 and saw thousands upon thousands of entries received. “We had to bring in a concrete truck to deal with all the entry forms. It was massive.”
On November 14, the final draw was made at Bedford Park in front of a record crowd and although the $1 million prize wasn’t snapped up, a heap of consolation prizes were handed out.
You could say that coming up with new ideas is another one of Brett’s strong points. Brett has been instrumental in setting up a satellite store in Morrinsville recently in conjunction with Colourplus owners David and Judith Lunn.
The section of the store has been called the Rhino Boutique – the only brand of carpet available for purchase is Smart Strand. It’s 50sqm in size and has the same amount of carpet samples that you would find in a large store.
“The satellite store is the first of its kind in New Zealand and since its launch there has been a lot of interest from others around New Zealand. David, Judith and myself are very happy with how things are going.” Brett is not a fan of procrastination, in fact it’s an attribute he loathes. “If I have an idea or I think of doing something, I tend to just go for it.” In 25 years of business, Brett has never employed managers. Enthusiasm counts for everything, Brett also likes to give people opportunities.
“I have people who have key roles but I don’t believe in employing someone to tell others what to do. Each staff member has their own special attributes.”
Brett paid tribute to his hard working staff members who more often than not work unsupervised.
“I spend a couple of days in Te Awamutu and a couple of days in Matamata and one day working on new initiatives. I wouldn’t be able to do this without having top class staff.”
So when is Brett consider retiring for a second time round? “Some day soon my son will take over and I’ll go fishing.”
Waterson’s Furniture and Carpet Court
directing manager, Brett Watson.