On Wednesday, 22 November 2017 a combined Condobolin and Forbes AgMarketing group visited Orange NSW for a site visit in order to better understand product ‘branding’ and how to increase the marketability of our commodities. First on the day’s itinerary was morning tea at Fiona Schofield’s home where she talked to us about the highly successful businesses she runs with her husband – Fresh Fodder which makes a large range of dips (most famous is their taramasalata which has a wonderful back story) and Fiona’s own millinery business. Fiona explained the trials and tribulations of setting up both businesses and the keys to success that remain relevant every step of the way – from fledgling ideas to successful product development to robust business ventures. These are hard work, discipline, creating a quality product and knowing your customer. Fiona talked about ways of identifying potential markets and exploring possibilities for diversification and growth for both businesses (all while juggling 3 children too!). We toured Fiona’s hat studio and were all impressed by her creativity and flair, it is no wonder she has become a renowned milliner in the region.
Our next stop was Sophie and Tim Hansen’s Mandagery Creek Venison Farm just out of Orange. Tim enthusiastically met us at the farm gate and jumped on the bus to direct us to the deer paddocks where he talked about all facets of deer farming – what makes good breeding stock; what products are sold and to where (legs are a favourite in Singapore while antlers are good for medicines in China); the challenges of selling domestically; and how to maintain the supply of a reliable, quality product. Tim gave us some interesting insights and challenges into deer farming which resonated with other livestock producers on the tour. Tim escorted us back to the farm house where Sophie was awaiting us at her famous Kitchen Table; a lovely room with a beautifully set table for 20 people. Sophie was RIRDC’s Rural Women of the Year for 2016 for her contribution to primary industries and rural communities. This award recognises the capacity of rurally-based women to influence others through connecting and collaborating and creating change in order to drive innovation and build resilience. Sophie uses social media to make connections and started a blog to break down barriers associated with distance in the bush as well as to promote her activities on-farm. Sophie hopes her promotion of farming life will give a better understanding of the important role farmers play in producing food as well as increase transparency, engagement, trust – and in the long run, financial returns – for the farming community.
As we sat at the table for an amazing lunch of perfectly cooked venison with an array of wonderful salads, we were treated to another fabulous presentation from Heidi Crossing from Angullong Wines near Millthorpe. Heidi gave an overview of Angullong Wines with its ensuing challenges and opportunities; she explained how Angullong differentiated itself through developing a line of Italian wines such as Vermentio and Tempanillo. Angullong started off as family business and sold grapes for other wineries but the family soon realized that using the grapes themselves and developing their own brand would be more worthwhile and profitable. This led to the now well established Angullong label, with notable success in a very competitive marketplace. Heidi offered many marketing strategies to the group which reiterated Fiona and Sophie’s advice – be prepared to work hard, provide a quality product and put yourself out there in the marketplace.
Sophie sat and talked to us about her story too and her involvement with social media. Social media was an underlying theme of the day as a way to assist in marketing your brand but be aware of some of the pitfalls, it can be a double edged sword allowing negative as well as positive responses to your product.
The day was a resounding success with everyone involved having a great time while learning a lot. These three women are inspirational and showed us that no matter where you live, you can create a successful business and fulfilling life. A big thank you to Fiona, Sophie and Tim, and Heidi for sharing their stories. Also I would like to thank the women in the AgMarketing group – all amazing and inspiring women in their own right!
If you would like any information on the CWFS AgMarketing Project, please contact Diana Fear on 0427 897 530 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
s that have made 2017 such an informative and enjoyable year. New marketing doors are opening for the group after the quality presentations by the experts from organisations involved with the project.
Above: The AgMarketing group with Fiona Schofield on the far left.