Adventures of a start-up part 13: Coconuts, cameras and council consent

Image: The Coconut Goddess
Hello all – we’re still here! Been awhile since the last update so there’s lots to pack in.

Waist-deep in paperwork

So, turns out there are a whole lotta requirements when you want to build a commercial kitchen. Resource consent, building consent, commercial kitchen registration … Mr. Coconut has been wading his way through application forms, going to meetings with the local council, and getting his head around things like ‘artificial light spillage levels’ and ‘anticipated number of car movements per day’. We’re getting close. He’s done an amazing job of meeting all the requirements and working with the kitchen design team to get things just right. Here’s hoping we get the green light on our ideal site very soon!

Lights, camera, action

The Waikato Times asked to interview us for a newspaper article the other week. Half an hour before the interview with their reporter, we found out that he wasn’t actually coming anymore, and instead someone else was coming to Raglan to film us for a video. Eeek! We’ve never been ‘on camera’ before, I was recorded for it and it was a really weird experience since I had to basically talk to a wall while the videographer pointed the camera at me from a different direction. It ended up being a cute little video (although I’m convinced my voice isn’t that high in real life!), here’s the link if you want to watch.

The Auckland Food Show

Who went to this? It was pretty massive huh! We weren’t planning on having a presence there (pretty costly marketing exercise for a new biz) but then our buddies at CleanPaleo offered to have a big fridge of our yoghurt at their stand and we were like, heck yes! 

Image: CleanPaleo at the Auckland Food Show

So on the day the show opened we drove up from Raglan early in the morning with our precious cargo in Rosie the (ex) Surf Van. The day before we had a last minute brain-wave of getting a peel-off sticker printed for the front of the fridge, and luckily Pacesetter were able to pull it together in time. It was such a blast being there and seeing all the awesome foodie businesses represented at the show, there is a very cool healthy food scene emerging in NZ and we feel so stoked to be part of it. We also got a healthy dose of perspective from our friends at Goodbuzz – remember when our delivery truck cage overturned and we lost 168 jars of yoghurt? Well, the day before the show we got an email from them with the subject heading ‘We got you beat!’. I was initially intrigued, but that quickly turned to horrified when I read that their delivery truck transporting 226 cartons of Booch and all their stand gear for the show had ROLLED on the way up! Nearly 3,000 bottles smashed! Such troopers though, they somehow managed to round up enough stock to get them through the show and borrowed a table. Owning a business truly is fun and games! The only thing you can do in these crazy situations (we all agreed) is to keep your sense of humour alive and keep on keeping on.   

Hello, Foodstuffs!

I’ve had my own paperwork to wade through – while Mr. Coconut has been dealing with the council I’ve been dealing with the behemoth that is Foodstuffs. A number of our stockists have been keen for us to be all set up on their main ordering system, so I’ve been filling out form after form (I had to laugh when I found out they have exactly the same form for both the North and South Island, but you can’t fill out only one), and completed training with Product Recall NZ (their centralised system for product withdrawals/recalls – which we hopefully won’t ever need, but it’s good to feel prepared). We got confirmation yesterday that we’re now in the system, yay!

Scaling systems

Now that we’re dealing with some bigger players, we can see that our current multi-tabbed Excel order sheet system isn’t going to cut it much longer. We’re looking into full ordering systems with automatic invoicing, packaging slip generation, etc. 

Highs:

  • We have the funkiest 'tasting aprons' ever, handmade from recycled materials by the local Raglan lady behind ‘I Love You Linen’.
  • Off to a Food & Wine Show in Taupo next week, will be fun to chat with people and give them all yoghurt samples.
  • In some new places – have found stockists in Oamaru, Wanaka, Tairua, Tuakau, and Bethlehem.

Lows:

  • Our two trusty yoghurteers, Luke & Lily, head off on overseas travels soon – we’re having a goodbye party for them this weekend, will be lots of hugs and maybe a few tears.
  • Managing higher order volumes with the current systems has had us a bit stressed out.