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The entrepreneur delivering gifts to your Malebox

It all started when Dimitri Kontopos and his twin brother Harry were rummaging through the garage, when they realised how great it would be if men had stylish boxes to put all their manly accessories in.

Malebox is a men’s accessories website offering products from cufflinks to watch boxes, not only for men to purchase for themselves but also for women who are looking to buy unique gifts for their male counterparts, relatives or friends during special occasions.

Launched in 1999, the Malebox was one of the first e-commerce stores in Australia – long before the Internet became a popular tool for businesses to promote their services.

“Any business has got to be progressive. When we first started in 1999, the Internet was within its infancy, and so it was a giant leap for us to move our business online. At the time it was very expensive to build a website,” said Dimitri Kontopos.

“But we saw an opportunity before many others did. The Internet is a great tool for reaching the masses,” he added.

With well over a decade of experience in business, Kontopos has learned the significant role customer service and engagement plays in establishing a brand’s reputation.

“We don’t want to push products down our customers’ throats. We want them to have an all-round positive experience with us, and we want them to know that we’re a good Aussie brand with good Aussie staff running the business,” said Kontopos.

Malebox utilises all social media platforms including Facebook, Google+, Instagram and Pinterest, as well as blogging to build relationships with customers and allow them to experience the personality of the brand.

“We publish our own unique content based on our individual experiences. My blogging style is more casual without losing that creative edge, and it’s funny, because that’s my personality and the personality of the brand,” said Kontopos.

He acknowledges however that social media serves as a better tool for retaining customers than gaining customers.

“The social side is definitely tough to convert when we’re talking Return on Investment,” said Kontopos.

“While we don’t see a massive conversion from social to the cart, what we hope we’re doing is building a long-term relationship with our customers or people who like us. While it’s not a profitable channel at the moment, in the long term it may well be,” he added.

Like many small business owners, Kontopos explained that the toughest part of running a business is not having enough hours in the day.

“I’m always wishing I could rewind the clock six times a day, so I can go back and perfect everything,” said Kontopos.

IT management has also been a challenge, especially as business owners have to outsource staff to manage that side of the business, meaning there’s a lot of back and forth communication going on.

This month, Kontopos aims to launch the newly renovated website, with changes including easier navigation for customers to get what they want, giving them better product deals, as well as providing different ways of selecting a gift for someone based on their circumstances.

“If a guy’s birthday is coming up, whether he’s a bit geeky, or trendy … or a rockstar kind of guy, the site will have different presents placed in different categories so people can navigate and choose better gifts that suit the occasion,” said Kontopos.

In the upcoming year, Kontopos hopes to establish Malebox as “Australia’s premium website to purchase men’s gifts.”

His succinct advice for other business owners is: “Set yourself goals, focus on the customer and deliver on your promise.”

Malebox will be launching their new website on the 18th of June, 2013.


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Tasnuva Bindi

Tasnuva Bindi

Tas is a journalist at Dynamic Business. She has a passion for visual and performance arts, feminist politics, and animal rights. In her spare time she likes to paint, write poetry, and read courtroom drama novels.

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