We are Seapa
We manufacture and sell plastic injection-moulded
oyster growing equipment and systems. Our head office
is in Edwardstown, South Australia, and we have offices
in France, Japan and the US. We employ 25 people in
Australia and overseas, including through our parent
company Garon Plastics.
We started exporting in 2000
We started exporting in response to requests from
overseas customers. Exporting also allowed us to
offset risk by diversifying our markets, as well as grow
our business. Today, exports comprise 60 per cent of
The hardest thing about starting to export was
overcoming the tyranny of distance
Giving customers the confidence in our products and
offering support from so far away was challenging.
We also had to resolve time zone and cultural issues.
Connecting to the right people overseas and getting
the right advice was difficult but critical in helping us
address these challenges.
We have used government financial assistance to
We have received many government grants, including
EMDG, Commercial Ready grant, Innovation Grant,
R&D tax incentive and Export Partnership grant. We’ve
used these grants to travel overseas and visit customers
face-to-face to develop relationships, explain how our
products work and share our farming knowledge.
EMDG has been fantastic – that assistance has been
fundamental in our thinking when looking to export and
gave us the confidence to take the risk. The Commercial
Ready grant went towards developing a new product
range. The Export Partnership Grant and Innovation Grant
have also been useful in helping us grow our business.
When we started exporting, we wish we had used our
own people instead of agents
We found it challenging to work with agents and
distributors as it was hard for them to understand how
our products worked. As sales increased, they also wanted
higher commissions, robbing us of profits. What worked
for us was setting up our own people and offices. This
enabled us to cut out the middleman and get unfiltered
feedback so we could understand specific market needs
and then develop better products for those markets.
We also had to adapt the product sold in Australia for
overseas markets as one size does not fit all. Another
major issue was the rise and fall of the Australian dollar.
At the height of the mining boom when the dollar
topped $1.09 to the US dollar, it made things extremely
difficult and this was out of our control.
Exporting has enabled our business to expand locally
Exporting has given us the means to increase revenue
and profitability, employ and offer employees exciting
opportunities, open overseas offices and investigate
new products. Our local profile was boosted after we
won the 2018 Australian Exporter of the Year Award.
The three things we would tell first-time exporters are: