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Scoot Boots gallops to e-commerce exporter triumph

Scoot Boots gallops to e-commerce exporter triumph
Scoot Boots gallops to e-commerce exporter triumph

Scoot Boots has raced to victory, parading as Australia’s e-commerce exporter of the year. 

Annette Kaitinis, CEO and co-founder of the Tasmania-based company, received the prestigious title last week. The award-winning business caters for horse lovers across 90 countries, providing the animals with comfortable rubber boots. 

Kaitinis sat down with Locate2u News to inspire entrepreneurs facing similar challenges on their way to international success. 

Scoot Boots trotting to success 

As a practicing barrister, Kaitinis’ life took a detour after twenty years in the courtrooms. Her roots lead her back to Tasmania, where she reconnected with her horse-riding circles. She met up with her farrier, who was at that stage in prototyping a design with the dream to commercialize and taking it to the market.

Kaitinis found herself a business partner, and with her skills in the legal fraternity, the pair was off to selling to international audiences. 

What would she have done differently? Kaitinis narrows it down to a few main points. 

  • She would have hired more professional help to set up the online shop.
  • She would do more market research.
  • She would have created a ‘proper platform’ from the get-go.

“It is very important when starting an e-commerce business to ensure you have a transactional platform in place.” Kaitinis says she had a platform, but “it wasn’t going to be sufficient for the amount of traffic that was going through at any given time of the day.”

The company now uses Shopify, which works well to be a successful exporter to many countries. 

Global expansion of Scoot Boots

Most entrepreneurs ask themselves when the right time is to expand the brand and go beyond regional borders. Scoot Boots had no time to ponder in front of this jumping obstacle, so they decided to sprint into the international market from day one. 

“I was an accidental exporter,” jokes Kaitinis. “From the day we launched, I hadn’t expected so many orders coming in from overseas.”

At the height of the Barefoot Movement trend in Europe, Scoot Boots had the perfect timing and product to solve a problem and feed a need. 

“We weren’t ready to export then because we didn’t have proper systems in place. We made a lot of expensive mistakes along the way, but we learned from those mistakes. All our systems are [now] automated state-of-the-art in the cloud. We implemented all of those systems along the way.”

This helped Scoot Boots to operate a business and export efficiently. Only several months later, they started focusing on “what we needed to do to make sure that all our systems were operating smoothly for an export market,” says Kaitinis. 

What is the barefoot movement?

A Swedish research project investigates the benefits of horses in the equestrian world. This trend is gaining popularity among top professional riders globally. The preliminary results from the first phase of data analysis confirm what smaller studies previously have found: Traditional horseshoes do affect the function of the horse’s hooves.  

Benefits of going barefoot

Olympic gold medallist and world number one in showjumping, Peder Fredricson, experienced fewer lameness issues, reduced hoof and limb injuries, and no hoof abscesses after transitioning his horses to barefoot. 

Despite decades of anecdotal evidence supporting the advantages of barefoot horses, there has been limited scientific research on the subject. Previous studies indicate that iron shoes increase concussion upon landing, disrupt the blood supply to the hooves, and hinder their ability to contract and expand. 

Jumping over hurdles 

Marketing, customer relations, and a good website are three crucial aspects of creating a successful export e-commerce business. “You need to have, first of all, a great web designer. You’re constantly changing your e-commerce website every day, updating it, and you need that support for sure,” says Kaitinis.

Scoot Boots’ success recipe was “slow and organic growth.” They learned along the way but steadily grew 30% year-on-year. 

“It would be difficult if you had a business where your revenue was quite high at the outset. We were able to put those systems in place and work out exactly what the business needed at the outset.”

Kaitinis believes in spending money on getting experts to set up the right platforms. “If you have an e-commerce business, it’s quite detailed, and there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. But get the experts in if you can afford that. Get them to advise in relation to what your business requires on a logistical side [and] operational side.”

Reaching a point where you get recognition from the industry might seem glamorous, but make no mistake, says Kaitinis. “It’s not easy; you must be prepared to work hard.”

About the author

Mia is a multi-award-winning journalist. She has more than 14 years of experience in mainstream media. She's covered many historic moments that happened in Africa and internationally. She has a strong focus on human interest stories, to bring her readers and viewers closer to the topics at hand.

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