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A Transformation From Confused to Confident and Independent

Liz from Milly's Kitchen

Liz Oldfield   Owner of Milly’s


Investment Kitchenware and cookware

Milly’s of Ponsonby first opened its doors in 1983. Since that time it has become established as a premier NZ retailer of quality kitchenware and cookware. Liz Oldfield has owned Milly’s for 9 years and expanded Milly’s original store to include a thriving online presence.

The Challenge: With So Many Marketing Options, How does a Small Business Owner Know Which Ones to Focus On?

Feeling Overwhelmed by a Lack of Knowledge

Liz Oldfield had been running the very successful Milly’s when she realised that her marketing approach needed help. 

I was feeling a little overwhelmed by some of the digital world or digital marketing strategy – what was what in that area. Because it’s kind of confusing, and a bit of a dark art, you know, or it seems like it is.

As a small business owner, Liz received all kinds of advice and offers of help. Many of these had come with large price tags and warnings of what she would miss out on if she didn’t buy in. 

[Social Media] was incredibly overwhelming when I first went into it, because who knows about all this posting? Our industry is particularly image-rich or people want it to be. And where do you get those from? And how do you make those into yours? You know, the whole thing was incredibly time-consuming. And I’ve got a shop to run and to buy for … So all of this tangled web of spaghetti led me to Rachel.

A ‘Scattergun’ Approach was Wasting Time and Money

She was very aware that her current approach was “pretty scattergun” at best. It was wasting a lot of time and money at worst. She knew that the potential of digital marketing was huge, but she didn’t want to continue having someone else do it for her. She wanted to feel confident about doing it herself. Whether it was digital marketing or marketing in general she wanted to be able to measure results and decide what was giving returns and what wasn’t. 

The Solution: A Tailored Marketing Strategy and Supported Learning

Create the Big Picture Before Jumping Into the Details

Rachel, from Identify Marketing,  took the time to find out about Liz and her business. She started by finding out what Liz did know and what she wanted to learn. 

I really like that she’s interested in you as a person, and how and where you see yourself in your business and kind of in the world. She’s very good at seeing who you are and bringing out the best of you.

Rachel’s approach was to draw up a big-picture Marketing Strategy for Milly’s. She then worked with Liz, in individual areas, like Facebook, Pinterest, and Canva, equipping her to put the Strategy into practice.  The team at Identify Marketing set up the background pieces. Then Rachel would train and empower Liz and her team to maintain the ongoing strategy. It wasn’t always easy!

 I would come out of some of these sessions saying, “You’ve got to be kidding me. I can’t do this. What are you on about?” But that would be the overall strategy, and then, [Rachel] would break it down to things that would be achievable.

Liz’s marketing confidence increased. Rachel was willing to share her own past mistakes. She understood the realities of small business life. She was able to step back, re-evaluate and suggest alternative options. Rachel encouraged the best practices but enabled Liz to prioritise and keep things manageable. Her acceptance, teaching and encouragement all worked together to enable Liz to grow as a marketer.

[Rachel] makes you feel confident about trying a little bit more…I’ll just have another go. I’ll just take another step.  

The Results: Liz Now Confidently Oversees and Evaluates Her Own Marketing – Saving Time and Money

Confidence Has Come over Time 

The investment Liz has put into learning about marketing has allowed her to feel confident and in control of her marketing strategies. 

When a global pandemic hit, sending New Zealand into full lockdown, it could have been a disaster for Milly’s. But the strategies and systems Liz had worked with Rachel to put into place kept the business going. Over lockdown, they were flat out. 

We had a well-functioning website, which Rachel had quite a lot to do with. Our digital strategy was strong and in place, and didn’t need much to tinker and work.

Today Liz and her team:

  • run their own social media pages completely – taking a huge expense off their books
  • run their own Facebook Ads
  • know how to measure marketing results and when to make changes
  • create their own digital images and resources.
  • build their own digital strategy and promotions calendar each year

When Liz needs specialised input or support she is quick to contact Rachel and her team. The relationship they have built up over time is a great asset. The greatest asset to come from her investment in Rachel’s training though is the confidence and expertise she gained.


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