When your business is seasonal, you have to stock up! Take the stress out of selling excess stock or filling seats - like these business did, with Bartercard.
Cape Farm Shop boosts sales with Bartercard
Cape Farm Shop makes handcrafted gourmet condiments, packing seasonally-sourced ingredients. Here’s how its owners trade, showing that even the most successful brands tackling seasonality look for ways to shift excess stock.
In a vibrant region of award-winning wineries, microbreweries, world-class restaurants and spectacular surfing beaches, you will find the home of Cape Farm Shop.
The Margaret River-based business, supplying to over one hundred retailers and restaurants, is the creation of Cai and John Thew. The business partners make flavoured olive oils, balsamic vinegars, jams, verjuice (a style of grape juice) and vinocotto (a type of wine) the old-fashioned way, using authentic local ingredients and without any shortcuts.
From construction to condiments
The Thews used to be in construction, but after the GFC, business came to a halt world-wide.
“We live in a part of the world where there’s a lot of hype around food and wine,” said John. “The banks weren’t lending for construction and we couldn’t keep building developments that couldn’t be financed. So we started making condiments. Traditionally we’d pre-sell units on Bartercard so we could finance development. Then we started using Bartercard in Cape Farm Shop.”
Because Cai and John’s use local ingredients, they are tied to the seasonal availability of products like olive oil which can affect cash flow. “You can only make products like olive oil once a year, so we have to commit to a certain number of sales,” said John. “This can be stressful but we can up the order knowing we can sell surplus stock on Bartercard. If I have excess stock at the end of the season, I can get a stall at a Bartercard Trade Show in Perth, held twice a year, and sell approximately $7,000 worth of products. We could also go to Bartercard Trade Shows across Australia and probably sell $50,000 worth of stock, but that’s a back-up plan we haven’t had to use.”
Starting out in business
Cai and John spend trade dollars from Cape Farm Shop’s Bartercard sales on a range of business expenses. “When you’re starting out in business, Bartercard gives you access to many products and services you can pay for with the trade dollars that you earn from Bartercard sales,” said John. “It takes five or six years to develop a business and in the first year or two every dollar counts. So if you’re organising a birthday party, go to a local restaurant that takes Bartercard, or use the local caterer and spend the trade dollars that you earn from selling surplus product. I don’t mind if I earn T$75,000 or T$100,000 from Bartercard in a year – I purchased both of my kid’s cars with Bartercard trade dollars.”
John said Bartercard is a way of paying for everyday living and essential business costs.
“You could spend 15 per cent of your income using trade dollars, and you might not have that money if you’re just starting out in business. It’s going to make a significant difference.”
Authentic Italian cooking on Bartercard
Mandurah in Western Australia is home to Papazazzi Café, an Italian restaurant owned by the Messineo family, and chef Damien Messineo has some tips to get the most out of trading.
Paparazzi Café has been serving authentic Italian meals in Mandurah since 2002, when the Messineo family decided to pool their resources and share their love of food. Damien Messineo, the head chef, said his parents came to Australia from Calabria in the 50s, and their strong Italian heritage and love of cooking led them to open Paparazzi. “We serve classic, home-style Italian food and our menu hasn’t changed much since we opened 15 years ago,” said Damien. “Our customers have been ordering the same dishes for years and that’s what they love. We’re in a great position to take advantage of the tourism that flows from Perth to the Margaret River. Seventy to eighty per cent of our customers are locals, then on school holidays all the tourists come in.”
Using Bartercard to conserve half a million dollars
Damien said it took him a while to grasp the system, but then he started sourcing business essentials on Bartercard to offset cash costs. Since joining Bartercard in 2002, he’s conserved over half a million dollars in cash expenses by using trade dollars to purchase products and services. To earn trade dollars, he welcomes Bartercard members to his restaurant – filling restaurant seats with extra bookings.
“Today we source wine, meat, seafood, car servicing, accommodation and dining from Bartercard members using trade dollars instead of cash,” he said. “I also source wine on Bartercard and cash convert – buying bottles on trade and selling them for cash.” Damien’s advice for new Bartercard members is to get in touch with your local trade coordinator, tell them what you are interested in and start using the system to attract new customers and conserve costs. “Bartercard can take time to wrap your head around, but it’s very beneficial for restaurants. If a restaurant owner has surplus trade dollars, they’re not using it properly.”
Damien said he wants to take Bartercard a step further soon and use his trade dollars to invest in property. Bartercard’s property site currently contains approximately $150 million worth of real estate listings that are available to purchase with a part-trade dollar component. “That’s where I will work more closely with my trade coordinator – property is a bigger investment that needs more fine tuning. Your trade co-ordinator can really help. But things like purchasing wine, I do that myself.”
For more business tips, visit blog.bartercard.com.au