Episode 63

10 Years in the Ecom Game

With Nathalie Joachim Founder of Follow The Rabbit Marketing


Pursuing her Dream of Working with Sports
Ecommerce & Marketing (2003)
International Distribution & Marketplace
Moving to Australia during the Financial Crisis (2008)
The start of her Journey at Sea to Summit
Raising Sea to Summit's Brand Awareness
Sea to Summit's Challenges during COVID
Leaving Sea to Summit and on to a New Journey
Nathalie's Thoughts on Ecommerce's Future


Nathalie only knew that she wanted to pursue a career and sports and business. Her chance came when she was a university student. She worked at a surfboard shop in Germany. One day, the shop’s marketing manager quit. The company reached out to Nathalie to see if she was interested in studying marketing. She got sponsored for a marketing course. This was how she entered the ecommerce space in 2003.

The team was early on the ecommerce game. Nathalie had to go through hands-on practical learning. Jesse asked about the role of websites during that age. Nathalie answered that they used their website as an online catalogue. People were not used to buying online yet. It also had the purpose of an online business card for branding.

There was a time when windsurfing/kitesurfing had died down. Nathalie was selling gears for these sports. These gears are also expensive. People didn’t buy them frequently. This was when Nathalie truly realised the importance of branding and customer loyalty.

Nathalie moved on to become a marketing manager for another extreme sports company. During this time, she gained experience in direct international marketing. She went to the neighbouring countries of Germany to sell products to distributors.

Jesse asked how it was like to go international. Nathalie answered there was so much to learn. She highly recommended being in the market of the country to understand their needs. Communicating with the local retailers and distributors had made a difference. There was more trust towards each other.

In 2008, Nathalie took a break for a year. She decided to travel to Australia. Her first location was Melbourne, and she spent eight months there. Nathalie said she was surprised at the cultural difference between Germany and Australia. It made her realise once more the importance of understanding the culture of another country for international marketing and distribution.

She came to Australia during the Financial Crisis with a Sponsorship Visa. It was difficult for her to find a job at the time. Amongst those difficulties, she finally got one at Sea to Summit. This company sold mountain climbing gear. Nathalie had to learn about the products, their purpose and their design. Both Jesse and Nathalie agreed on the importance of knowing about your products. It builds credibility and authenticity for your brand.

The brand awareness of Sea to Summit was not high at the time. Many people would have Sea to Summit’s product without knowing it. Nathalie was the first marketing person to join the team. One of their challenges was consistency in packaging designs. They had various talented designers design the products, as they were purely based on product marketing before Nathalie came in. It took the team 2 to 3 years to get the consistency they needed. They had to re-educate the distributors and swap all the marketing materials.

The next topic was COVID times. Sea to Summit supported retailers in selling their products. However, the retailers were closing down due to the pandemic. They had to urgently change their catalogue website into an ecommerce website. Fortunately, the marketing team had people who understood ecommerce. Nathalie and her team were able to prepare everything in-house. She also mentioned that every team member in the company had adapted wonderfully.

After 11 years in Sea to Summit, Nathalie decided to take the next step in her life. She started providing consultation for businesses that were stuck with marketing, ecommerce and international distribution. Nathalie enjoys helping such businesses with her knowledge and experience. She would connect them with excellent agencies that can help them too.

Lastly, Jesse took a turn from the usual podcast episode. He asked Nathalie whether she thinks ecommerce is here to stay. She answered yes. Ecommerce is now an expectation. Consumers’ expectations will grow. Therefore, it is crucial to recognise the significance of ecommerce.

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