Niue entrepreneur launches virtual market to connect local makers with the world
A new online platform selling Niue products has launched.
Niuemarket.com is founded by musician Glen Jackson, who saw how locals, including himself, were impacted by border closures and lack of tourism to Niue due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“During the first lockdown of Covid-19, no visitors were able to come here. That meant a lot of local jobs were lost, including a position that I had at Scenic Matavai Resort on a Sunday evening playing live music,” says Jackson.
The Covid-19 pandemic forced him to think about other ways of generating income online.
He started with a Facebook live show called Rocksteady, selling commercial spots. His online presence caught the eye of Canadian e-commerce giant Spotify, and together they built an “Amazon-style platform” selling Niue wares.
He hopes the new venture shines a light on indigenous entrepreneurship.
“Us as tagata Pasifika, us as tagata Niue, we are born entrepreneurs. We are born with innovative DNA in us. The lack of resource is just part of the building blocks to being a great entrepreneur.”
The platform sells a range of niche items, from locally made crafts to clothing and music albums. Many of the products are one-off goods, with a high-calibre of local workmanship.
“It takes time and labour of love to make these products,” says Jackson.
As the “middle man” between the makers and the global market, Jackson says having open conversations with local makers was key.
“For $100, I should never mark it up past $200. That was one way of me showing them that I value their work, that the time and labour that they put behind their craft, what I’m doing as a middleman doesn’t equate to that.”
Jackson hopes more Niue vendors will come on board.
“We’re giving our local weavers and craftsmen an opportunity to sell their products to the global market. No one is coming. No tourists are coming, no visitors are coming.”
“If you are a craftsman, if you are a weaver, we extend an open invitation to you to please approach us at firstname.lastname@example.org”
He says the financial return to Niue is what makes this platform different.
“The entire country benefits from this. The collaboration with our local vendors and weavers, it’s a win-win regardless. If you are buying from this platform, your money comes back to Niue.”
“To know that this platform is going to be serving our people and serving our nation, it’s a good feeling, and it’s a warm feeling.”