Local, sustainable and organic meat
Shaun Grimston was frustrated at the lack of good quality meat that was being produced in Australia. He began farming cattle and lambs at his property in Orangeville almost 10 years ago with his long-time friend and business partner Tim Wilson, also from Camden.
This is what Shaun shared about his business
Q. Describe your business and products/services you offer.
Butcher Direct is an online butcher store that delivers to customers’ homes and workplaces all over Sydney, local, sustainable, organic meats from animals that we rear on our farm here in the outskirts of Sydney.
Q. What made you decide to start this business?
We started exporting beef in 2004, but we couldn’t find a good local supplier, so we decided to start farming cattle and lambs ourselves. This way we know the animals are naturally raised, are hormone and additive free, and are the best quality produce in the local area.
At first, we were selling to family and friends, until quickly we realised that there was a greater demand from the broader community for our goods.
We started our website last year and commenced selling as an online butcher store where people can select items and quantities all online, and we’ll deliver it daily to homes and offices across Sydney.
We are the only farm in our local area selling directly to consumers at wholesale prices, and the only farm delivering goods directly to consumers as well.
Q. How has your website helped you run your business?
Although we had a great product, we were not making any money from selling cattle the traditional way, and it seemed a waste to spend so much time and money perfecting our product not to get the credit for it.
The upfront cost of a bricks and mortar store was out of the question. Setting up a website costs far less than paying rent in a shopping centre. We are also able to supply a vast area with our products. With careful planning we are now able to service the entire Sydney basin and regional areas six days a week and we are looking to expand to Brisbane and Melbourne early this year.
There is increasing demand from consumers to know where their produce is coming from, and how it is farmed. We wanted to make it easy for people to access our products and to deliver great produce to people who want to know they are purchasing ethically farmed, high-quality, organic produce.
Q. What kind of online and offline marketing do you do and which is working for you?
Customer interaction and feedback has been paramount to growing our business online. We are available to them 24/7 now and they can ask us questions they may not have done so before. We now get to see and hear the feedback first-hand and adapt and respond according to demand. We also invite any of our customers to interact with us offline and all are welcome to come out to the farm. Bring your boots, we’ve always got work for you to do!
Ten years ago ordering meat online was unthinkable. Just because you think its not in your sector, do it first and be ahead of the game, set the standard. We are changing the way people shop and as technology advances, you have to move with it because your customers will.
I describe our online business like the cubby house you build as a kid. It’s never finished but as long as you get started, you can continue to adapt and continually refresh and grow.
Q. What mistakes have you made in running your business and what lessons have you learnt from those?
Make your site engaging and ask questions of your customers. This is a really expensive lesson we have learnt but as a result, we have improved our customer relations system and sales have also grown. Constantly engage your customers or they will forget about you, even if they were happy with your product and service.
Look to for a good web firm, ask to speak to their past clients and actually ring and seek their opinion. We have also looked at other websites we like and sites in other sectors and tracked down who built them.
Q. Any other comments / points you would like to share about running your business?
We have seen a real increase in customers engaging with our brand and our products. They enjoy the products, love our service, want to eat the best sourced products they can and are also keen to support local producers. By being available to them via our website and Facebook page, even though we don’t see them face-to-face except when they are placing their orders, we still have a really strong connection to them and that makes them keep coming back to us again.
For more information, visit the Butcher Direct website.