Friday, February 22, 2013

Downtown Nanaimo's Secrets of Success

 Island Daily Deals

You feel the energy the moment you enter the office of Island Daily Deals located on the upper floor of 29 Commercial Street.

Maybe it’s the red walls, the hip décor or maybe it’s the enthusiastic greeting by owners’ Fraser Paterson and Nadine Shemilt. We sat down with them in early January to ask them about their Secrets of Success.

DNBIA: How long have you been in business?
FRASER & NADINE: Two years on January 24th.

DNBIA: How many employees do you have?
FRASER & NADINE: We currently have six full-time employees and we plan to expand to fifteen by year end.

DNBIA: What motivated you to start this business?
FRASER & NADINE: We’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit and we knew that we really wanted to do something around the growth of social media. With business backgrounds, we felt that traditional print media was not as effective as it once was. We saw what was happening with Groupon in Vancouver and we immediately saw the potential. We felt we had to start the business! We made the decision, and launched a month later.

At the time, Nadine was a very successful Realtor and I was working as at a high tech firm in Vancouver. I had an educational background; I went to VIU where I studied business finance. We opened Island Daily Deals at the kitchen table in our home and within a year, Nadine left the real estate field to work together full-time.

DNBIA: Who were your first customers?
FRASER & NADINE: We launched on January 24, 2011 with two popular downtown businesses; the Modern Café and Maffeo Salon. Both businesses have worked with us since after seeing the power of our marketing. It has been an incredible learning curve as we created everything ourselves and right from the very beginning we never have had less than three deals per week on our site. We have since grown to record numbers with over 20,000 Facebook fans and more than 50,000 visitors in a month!

DNBIA: Can you give us a short description of your business?
FRASER & NADINE: What we do is use collective buying power to bring you a large savings from 50-95% off on the best things to eat, do, and across Vancouver Island. We work with local businesses to give them a great advertising experience and get new clients walking through their door, a win-win scenario.

DNBIA: What are your hours of operation?
FRASER & NADINE: While of course the website is up 24/7, but our office hours at the downtown location are 9 to 5, Monday through Friday.

DNBIA: What are you best known for and why?
FRASER & NADINE: Deals! The company always generates a great response everywhere we go and you can feel the positive energy when people start talking about their experience with Island Daily Deals. Some types of deals sell faster than others. We’ve had really great success with vacation, restaurant and spa deals.

DNBIA: What sets your business aside from others in the field?
FRASER & NADINE: I believe it’s our local knowledge and great sales representatives. We also knew that we wanted to give back to our community and we have since featured the Salvation Army donating 100% of the proceeds to them. We have worked with the Blair McKinnon Foundation, Big Brother Big Sisters Central Vancouver Island, and Nanaimo Child Development Centre. We are also active Chamber of Commerce Members and Young Professionals of Nanaimo.

DNBIA: Who are your customers?
FRASER & NADINE: Mainly women, ages 25 to 45. The younger demographic is comfortable with online shopping and they understand the benefits. But, we have found lately that more and more seniors and people who are newer to online shopping are dropping by our office to purchase deals in person, which is great too.

DNBIA: Why should a customer choose your business?
FRASER & NADINE: We have the BEST deals that you can find on Vancouver Island. We stand behind our product and know that the businesses we choose to work with will provide our customers with an awesome experience, every time.

DNBIA: What keeps your customers coming back?
FRASER & NADINE: We have the best deals! After experiencing an awesome deal in your city how could you not come back for more! Our customers can get the deals delivered easily right to their Inbox or some follow us on Facebook so they don’t miss a deal. Our customers also know we are 100% dedicated to awesome customer service.

DNBIA: What geographic region do you serve?
FRASER & NADINE: All Vancouver Island. Originally it was just Nanaimo but we have expanded to serve the Comox Valley all the way to Campbell River and now work Victoria deals. Every deal gives a business an incredible amount of exposure to subscribers across the island.

DNBIA: Do you have an anecdote about the business that summarizes what you are all about?
FRASER & NADINE: Last year in January we did a radio sales blitz at the ACMe Food Company Restaurant where we sat in the restaurant all day promoting their product. Every time we would get a sale we would yell “Woot”, something we have done since day one. We sold out of 1000 deals. It was a lot of “Woot, woot, wooting”. It was a really exciting day for us, and them! When we grow other businesses we grow our own. It’s a win/win.

DNBIA: What do you like most about having a business in downtown Nanaimo?
FRASER & NADINE: We live down here, we work down here and we play down here. We can walk to work. In the beginning most of the businesses we featured were downtown. To this day, we continue to work with downtown businesses. We feel that there is a great deal of potential downtown which is why we made sure to locate our office here. Not to mention, the great lunch options!

DNBIA: What about your business makes you the most proud?
FRASER & NADINE: Our business started at the kitchen table. We get to employ people locally and we see the change in the local economy.

DNBIA: What advice would you give to a new business starting out in downtown Nanaimo?
FRASER & NADINE: Everything costs more and takes longer than you originally expect! Get out and find out what organizations are out there and what they can do to help you with business opportunities such as Island Innovations and the Chamber of Commerce. They have been instrumental in assisting us with the continued growth and success of Island Daily Deals.

DNBIA: Complete the following sentences:

“When a customer logs onto our business they can expect…”
FRASER & NADINE: “An awesome, unique experience.”

“What really makes us unique is…”
FRASER & NADINE: “On site representatives are here on the island. When you call us to feature your business, we come and visit you at your place of business! We love our business because we get to explore so many awesome businesses.

“What makes us stand out is…
FRASER & NADINE: “We come across like a big corporation, but really there are just two owners. It is the personal touch that makes us stand out – we are not a faceless corporation.”

To find out more about Island Daily Deals visit

Note: The above is from a series published by the DNBIA and highlights one successful downtown Nanaimo business each month.


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