From breaking point to national success, it’s not been a smooth journey for Hoselink founder Tim Kierath. Over the past two decades Tim has lifted his Australian family business from the brink to becoming the country’s number one gardening supplies company. It was only sheer persistence and determination that kept Tim’s vision of developing innovative hosing solutions for everyday Aussies alive.
Still at the helm of the business and working daily in Hoselink HQ, Tim continues to show that even as the business reaches its 20th anniversary, neither he nor Hoselink show any signs of slowing down.
Looking back on the last 20 years, it’s hard not to get nostalgic about Hoselink’s humble beginnings. The Australian success story began as you might have expected; through an unpleasant watering experience of Tim’s own. Fed up with unreliable, leaky hose fittings that constantly burst off leaving him soaked, the budding entrepreneur had a lightbulb moment and decided he’d have a crack at solving this everyday problem once and for all.
Tim teamed up with an industrial engineer to develop an Australian-made hose fitting that wouldn’t break the promises so many before it had. No, this fitting would be guaranteed to never leak or burst off the hose. By 1998, Tim had perfected and patented the design and was ready to unveil his invention.
So, what was it that separated Tim’s fittings from the rest?
Not only did the fittings ensure a 100% watertight connection, but they did so through a completely unique design that was set to revolutionise traditional click-on style hose fittings. Hoselink’s durable nylon connectors boasted a ground-breaking bayonet-style fitting, impermeable o-ring to o-ring seal, and a split ring that clamps the hose in place. This blueprint guaranteed the fitting would never leak or burst off, and in doing so, would be able to withstand exceptionally high water pressure.
In 1999, deals were made to have Tim’s new fittings distributed across large retailers right throughout Australia and the US, however, no matter how hard Tim tried, his fittings simply couldn’t make waves in the market. Despite moving to the UK in 2000, his attempts to grow the business in Europe fell flat as he turned to direct selling via a dedicated TV shopping channel. After several years and near financial ruin, Tim’s world tour saw him come face to face with the ruthless nature of retail and communication hurdles, and had him on the verge of cutting his losses and giving up altogether.
After returning to Australia in 2008, Tim’s final attempt at salvaging what was left of the business came after ditching the retail distribution mode and launching a direct-to-consumer website that sold the fittings solely in Australia.
Low and behold a 30-second miracle arrived in early 2009. Call it perfect timing,fate or blind luck, but a simple advertorial segment on ‘Mornings with Kerri-Anne’ featuring Tim and daughter Sally, was the catalyst for Hoselink’s turn of good fortune; the break Tim needed. Armed with no more than five landline headsets sprawled across his dining table, the Kierath family could never have predicted the reception they’d get.
The viewer reaction was immediate and surpassed any expectations the Kierath’s had. Tim realised the opportunity and took advantage of this previously undiscovered knack for presenting on camera, officially becoming the face of the Hoselink brand.
As Tim says, "Anyone can appear on TV, but you never quite know how the public will react. In our case the viewer reaction was overwhelmingly positive, even today I still get feedback that shows customers trust what they're seeing."
Over the next couple of years, Tim was joined by daughter Sally as well as his sons Ben and James, who came in to support the business in its early growth stages. With sales building in each successive month, business was soon thriving. From the family home to a multi-faceted office and warehouse space in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Tim’s perseverance, ambition and genuine passion for solving an everyday household problem had clearly struck a chord with the Aussie public. By 2011, an upgrade in the business premises was needed once again to service Hoselink’s ever-growing team, inventory and customer base.
The following years saw Hoselink not only grow and advance exponentially, but receive the accolades to reflect the quality. In 2013 and 2015 the brand’s Hose Fittings and Retractable Hose Reel received the Australian Business Award for Product Excellence, highlighting Hoselink’s dedication to innovative product development.
From a simple idea 20 years ago, Hoselink’s product range has extended far beyond reels and fittings. Now Australia’s one-stop gardening shop, the brand has gone on to provide irrigation kits, gardening tools, home accessories and more recently its own range of Fertiliser Concentrates and Solar Garden Lights. But if you asked Tim, that’s not the most important thing, what’s key is that Hoselink has remained a 100% Australian family-owned and operated business built on a foundation of hard work, unwavering determination, and a strong belief in quality products that work to make life easier. "Our commitment to our Hoselink family is unwavering and underpins all that we do", explains Tim.
With Hoselink now being showcased across agricultural events and home shows around the country, Tim’s face and voice are nationally recognised, as is the brand aim: to connect each of us with our family and friends, to our home and garden, and to nature.
Cheers to the next 20 years!