Digital Solutions Success Story: Troopy Gear

December 4, 2023

Meet Kobie Notting, an adventurous spirit hailing from Gippsland. Growing up surrounded by nature, Kobie's affinity for outdoor exploration became an intrinsic part of her life. Her transformative journey began with a cross-country road trip on her motorbike, leading her to a serendipitous encounter with a Toyota Troopcarrier. Little did she know that this decision would forever change her life, leading to the inception of her thriving online business, Troopy Gear.

Troopy Gear: Your 4WD Touring Companion

Troopy Gear started as a niche business, specialising in Aluminium Roof Consoles tailored for Troopcarriers. Kobie initiated her venture in Morwell in 2017, armed with sheer determination but limited capital. Her challenge? Finding manufacturers willing to produce her products in small quantities. Nevertheless, her perseverance paid off, with products consistently selling out. With meticulous planning and pre-orders, Kobie managed to fund manufacturing and shipping through her product sales while working two part-time jobs.

Turning Point: A Game-Changing Transformation

In 2020, Kobie's journey took a pivotal turn when she collaborated with an engineer who optimised her product design, significantly reducing shipping costs. This innovation propelled her sales to new heights. As she and her partner transitioned to a life on the road in 2021, Kobie faced the dilemma of managing her business remotely. However, a partnership with renowned fabricator Thorburn & Sons transformed the landscape. They offered to manufacture and ship her products, allowing Kobie to focus on sales and customer inquiries while traversing the Australian terrain.

A Vision Transformed: The Birth of Troopy Gear Hub

In 2022, Troopy Gear underwent a remarkable evolution. Kobie expanded her business model, creating a unique dropshipping platform. This innovative approach opened doors to collaborations with other small Australian businesses, enabling her to diversify her product range. Today, Troopy Gear proudly partners with eight small businesses, exclusively offering Australian-made 4x4 touring products and accessories. Kobie's website has become the ultimate hub for enthusiasts, providing valuable resources for building the perfect touring vehicle.

Motivation and Challenges

Kobie's initial motivation was to support her passion for off-roading by funding the costs of her own Troopcarrier adventures. Today, her drive extends to creating the most extensive online repository of Australian-made 4x4 touring products and DIY information. Alongside her motivation, she encountered challenges such as finding manufacturers for small-batch production, optimising product design for cost-effective shipping, and navigating the dynamics of a male-dominated industry.

The Digital Solutions Program and Melbourne Innovation Centre 

To elevate her digital presence and streamline her online operations, Kobie joined the Digital Solutions Program at Melbourne Innovation Centre. Her primary goals were to grow her social media channels, add a shop to her Instagram page, and gain strategic direction.

“I was struggling to get my social media channels connected so I could add a shop to my Instagram page. I needed a bit of direction too, and my initial mentoring sessions helped iron that out. This was a massive help, and was what propelled my business forward.”

Through workshops and mentoring, she delved into the intricacies of Facebook and Instagram algorithms, coaxing potential customers to her content. Analytics and Google profile management became second nature.

Impact and Measurable Results

Melbourne Innovation Centre had an indelible impact on Troopy Gear. Through the mentoring, Kobie activated her Instagram and Facebook Shop, unlocking the full potential of these platforms.

“I have more Instagram and Facebook followers (these have doubled since my first mentoring sessions) And my revenue has gone from $25,000 to $190,000 in the space of one financial year!” Kobie shares.

This remarkable achievement can be primarily attributed to Kobie's proactive approach in seeking digital support through the Digital Solutions Program at Melbourne Innovation Centre, her unwavering dedication, and the ongoing support of her exceptional customers. 

“The Digital Solutions Program has been invaluable for me, and helped me finally get my Instagram and Facebook Shop live, as well as understand how these digital streams work - and how to make them work for me. Without participating in the first round of mentoring, I would not be where I am today with a +$165,000 increase in revenue.” Kobie states.

Advice to Fellow Businesses

Kobie wholeheartedly recommends the Digital Solutions Program at Melbourne Innovation Centre, emphasising the value offered in fine-tuning even seemingly well-established businesses. 

“I would highly recommend the Digital Solutions Program. Even if you think you have got everything covered, speaking with a professional might just help you dot the i's and cross those t's that you didn't think would make a difference, and absolutely do. It could be the difference of $165,000 as it has been in my circumstances.” Kobie explains.

She highlights the program's potential to uncover hidden opportunities and optimise existing processes. Kobie's success story is a testament to the program's transformative power.

Kobie's journey with the program is far from over. As she eagerly anticipates her upcoming mentoring sessions, her aspirations for Troopy Gear continue to reach new heights. 

The Digital Solutions Program is funded by the Australian Government and delivered by Melbourne Innovation Centre across Victoria. Join today to unleash the full potential of your small business in the digital realm.

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