Raglan Coconut Yoghurt Series Part Three: Time to think labels, kitchen space and business structure

Raglan Coconut Yoghurt founders Seb & Tesh recently got a big-as commercial fridge to cater to the growing demand for their yoghurt business. The fridge didn't come easy, as were the challenges of getting logistics, labelling and other small and big things sorted. Follow Tesh as she shares her startup journey in the third of the Raglan Coconut Yoghurt series.

Mental gymnastics

Our brains have been fully engaged the last few week. With more problems to solve than ever from the rapid growth, the lights are getting switched off later and there’s plenty of ‘Hey did you remember to …’ games being played before falling asleep.

Shipping scrambles

We got passed around a number of different chilled shipping companies – ‘Sorry, we can’t help you because you’re too small’ was a frustrating response, until we landed in the welcoming arms of Provida Foods who have been fantastic to deal with. Tick – delivery sorted. No more personal deliveries in our van packed to the brim with chilly bins! Mr Coconut has been devising delivery spreadsheets and sourcing packaging options. To crate or box is the current question.

Green dilemmas

Our original plan with the glass jars was a buy-back scheme, where people received a $1 refund for returning a jar to a stockist, and we in turn buy back those jars from the stockists to re-use. While this all sounded great in theory, and fit with our personal values, we quickly realised that it was becoming a pain in the butt for stockists. As one expressed to us: “The ethics of the jar return are laudable, but the logistics of micro-managing $1 transactions are unwieldy on a very busy day.”

Not to mention getting jars shipped to us from all over the country defeats the whole purpose of the green scheme, so we’re waving goodbye to that idea. Lesson learned: Don’t allow side ideas to distract you from your main business. We are not a jar recycling factory, we’re yoghurt producers.   

Yoghurt buzz and handling growth

Social media is an incredible way for people to find out about and share products. We have been inundated with enquiries from people all around New Zealand asking where they can get the yoghurt. The time I’ve meant to have been using to write up our website content with details of all our stockists (which I finally did!) has been going into replies!

Little bird organics gave us a shout out on Facebook which resulted in about 250 new likes in a day (thanks guys!). Stockists have been proactively posting pictures and recipes. The thing we’re realising is that people really, really like this yoghurt. Enough to rave about it. It is such a great feeling to know that you’re making something people genuinely like and is good for them, and makes us determined to have our coconut yoghurt available to everyone around NZ. We’ve taken on about six new stockists within a week recently, and even been approached by Farro Fresh to send samples for their next ranging meeting – eep!

Fred the Fridge has arrived!

We talked to four different freight companies who quoted ridiculous amounts for transporting our (admittedly very large) commercial fridge, before finding that our very own Raglan Parcels were happy to help (Pete was a legend)! We’ve named it Fred and are relieved that this week we won’t need to occupy Super Value’s chiller space!

Current challenges:

  • Label application – we are still doing this by hand and it’s eating up a lot of production time. Still working on sourcing a good applicator that won’t wipe out our bank account.
  • Kitchen limitations – if we continue growing at the current rate we won’t be far away from needing our own facilities instead of renting a commercial kitchen.
  • Business structure – we’ve called a meeting with our awesome accountant Brett Slater to figure out what the best structure will be for us going forward. We may need to start separating out the yoghurt business from our s&t partnership.

Wins last week

  • New stockists – it’s exciting going into new areas. We sent our first carton down to the South Island last week!
  • Barcode sorted – We’ve completed a redesign of our label to factor in a barcode and a few other details missed off the first round.
  • Website taking shape – we’re really happy with how our website is coming together. It will be fantastic to have it live as a reference point for people who want to know all about our product.
  • New t-shirts – Our friends at Magik Viper in Raglan did up some awesome Mr & Mrs Coconut tees for us, we love them!