It’s our 1st Birthday and we’ve achieved a lot in our first year of operation!
It’s a big milestone and we want to take some time to celebrate our achievements and the community that has supported us.
We’re also having a big 1st Birthday Sale so read on to the end to find out more!
A few highlights from the first year
We started trading on 22nd May 2021 and our first tastings were 29th May 2021 at our first 2 stockists, Deli Delicious in Herries St and Toowoomba Fresh in Grand Central.
Since then we have sold over 8000 wood-smoked food packs and are now available in 21 retailers across Toowoomba, Brisbane and South East QLD.
The whole year has been a double-overtime hustle to make this work. It’s been hugely challenging but also extremely rewarding.
It’s an amazing feeling to create something innovative from scratch, and the feeling when people love what you love is so encouraging. It makes us want to keep pushing and do more!
We have loved participating in local events such as Farm Fest, The Mulberry Project Long Lunch, and the first Toowoomba MeatStock where we gave out 1624 samples!
Then there was our brand partnership with wine company Brown Brothers, which was such a great project and we’re so proud of the result.
Taking a leap into an entirely new business venture was scary. Having to learn fast, fail safely, pivot and tweak was a constant heart-starter but when I look back, it’s been so fun!
We have continued to develop our core products and create new ones too
Our first year has been about validating our innovative product concept, iterating our original products, while pursuing ideas for new products too.
DF Smoke Haus products are unique as they are 100% natural, with no preservatives or e-numbers.
No one else is doing pre-cooked/pulled/sliced wood-smoked meat products and there aren’t any wood-smoked vegan foods on the market either.
We launched with a basic pack label, and then upgraded our packaging to a beautiful sleeve designed by DMS Creative, which you can read all about here.
We also started with only the larger Family Packs, but based on market feedback we pivoted to create smaller Duo packs for couples and singles.
We have continued our product development and are soon to release our Smoked Seasoning range.
This is a new product that is the rubs used on our wood-smoked meat. It’s spices, wood-smoked for unbelievable flavour, that you can buy for at home use in the kitchen, on the barbecue and in smokers. We can’t wait!
Events have been a big highlight and we’ve loved being a part of this community
It’s been such a pleasure to be a part of numerous local events over the last year. Events are amazing because I get to meet people and talk about my passion all day long!
First up was Farmfest 2021 in June. We were very new, but everyone loved our pulled pork and smoked mushrooms. I still get people remembering me from that event.
In September we were thrilled to collaborate with the Catering People for The Mulberry Project Charity Long Lunch as part of the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers. You can read more about that here.
In October we went to the TSBE Darling Downs Beef Battle and this would turn out to be a fantastic event for us.
It was there that we met Rebecca from Brown Brothers, which eventually led to our awesome collaboration with the iconic wine company! You can read more about that here.
More recently, we were so excited to be at the first Toowoomba Meatstock in April 2022. For a smoked goods fan like me, it was fantastic to see all the other teams set up.
We gave out a cracking 1624 samples, which works out to be 2 per minute over 14 hours! It was great for us and by all reports was a huge success so it should be back next year. We can’t wait, and would love to see more local faces get on board for a win.
Of course throughout the year we’ve also had countless tastings at our retailers and markets both in Toowoomba and Brisbane, and these are favourite events of ours too.
It’s also been a joy to give back to the community this past year and to continue our involvement with some wonderful community organisations.
We’ve been a member of TSBE, Canvas Coworking and the Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce Food and Agri Network for several years.
Having a food business has meant we’ve been able to support a number of community events and organisations with donation of products, too.
Over the past year we’ve contributed in this way to The Mulberry Project Long Lunch, The Toowoomba Fire Department, Tony’s Community Kitchen and the Toowoomba Hospital Foundation Raffle.
We also provided meals to the team at Rowes furniture and Paddock butcher shop after they were impacted by floods and fire respectively.
We believe strongly in supporting the community that supports us as we all grow in this amazing region!
It really does take a village to build a business
As much as this year has been huge personally, we didn’t do it alone. It has been such a highlight to see the amount of support for a new business, not just in our Toowoomba hometown, but in Brisbane also.
Everyone has been so helpful and supportive, and we have a really good team made up of all Toowoomba businesses. It definitely takes a village, and our community has been such a blessing.
Our Challenges and Advice to Others
The biggest challenge this year has been dealing with the feeling that the market doesn’t want what we have.
I felt this way because we weren’t hitting the growth I had forecast. Admittedly with the benefit of 20:20 hindsight vision, it was a pretty unachievable growth target.
On the positive side, it has kept forcing us to reassess what isn’t working and why, and how we can do better.
This was very healthy, and drove the many improvements and great results that followed throughout the year.
To anyone else thinking of starting a new venture, just start. You don’t have to have every little detail worked out, you can do a lot on the trot with the in-market knowledge you are learning fast. But, get ready to be able to change fast as you’ll probably need to!
However, before you ‘just start’, do make sure you have your basics covered so that if it happens, you fail safe.
Things you need to clarify: who you are, what you do and the offering value to your target customers, market validation of concept and price point with as-real-as-possible prototypes, an operations roadmap with as-accurate-as-possible costings and budgeting, growth forecasting to break even and growth capacity planning.
Plus, ensure you have personal revenue management in place if you aren’t planning on pulling much out at start up (we certainly haven’t!)
Our Goals for Year 2
We are excited about our 2nd year in operation and have some big plans.
Our first goal will be to launch the up-coming Smoked Seasoning range. We have been testing these and giving out samples, doing market research and developing the packaging, so we are close to going to market.
We plan to launch the Smoked Seasoning range in June.
We also plan to launch at least one new range of products (probably more), and grow our retailer and online sales.
Hopefully, by the end of Year 2 we will be ready to push out from Queensland into NSW and maybe even VIC retailers.
It’s going to be a big year!
1st Birthday Sale
To celebrate our 1st Birthday, we are having a sale until the 5th June. Get 20% off all online orders with the code ‘HappyBirthday’, and enjoy the wonderful fruits of our labours!
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It is undeniable that there are a lot of cost of living challenges for everyone right now. We all have to balance our budgets, but we don’t have to be completely at the mercy of supermarkets and their price gouging. There are so many benefits of supporting local producers through farmer’s markets and independent businesses.