Not ready to fish just yet

Matamata Chronicle - - Celebrating 90 Years Of Service To The Matamata Di -

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.

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