Recently Renee interviewed Josh Gadischke, owner of Proteco Oils (parent company) and the Pressed Purity brand (which we designed).
Pressed Purity represents Proteco Oils mainstream retail range that have been produced from fruits, nuts and seeds. All Australian, totally natural, cold pressed, chemical and preservative free Pressed Purity oils are manufactured locally in Kingaroy, west of Brisbane on the sites of the old butter factory and iceworks factory.
Josh has taken Proteco Oils to new heights – recently launching a five level onsite oil refinery and cracking the Chinese market. We asked him how he did it….
Me: Has the trend towards healthy oils had much impact on the business?Josh: There is a greater awareness of more wholesome natural foods and people do tend to research more, so the wedge in the market where we operate is increasing. We have ventured into contract processing which has helped us grow, we have one account which is represent 30% of that part of our business so that has been great.
Me: Over the years what do you feel has been the biggest challenge to growth and how do you feel you have overcome it?
Josh: Unlike many businesses finding customers is not a problem for us but accessing a consistent supply of raw material has been challenging at times. We have overcome this by maintaining strong relationships with our growers and processors. Our competition comes from overseas buyers who are also bidding for our local raw produce so we need to offer a competitive price.
Me: To date what is your best business decision?
Josh: Getting in to the export market! This now accounts for about 40% of the business. Originally we thought we had to offer a lower export price than our local price but we learned that the Australian origin and clean, green image has allowed us to increase our price and command more than we do locally. We go to many overseas tradeshows and with a lot of patience we found buyers whose pricing expectations met our goals. We learnt not to accept every single offer that comes along. Exporting is not just for the large operators but it can take upto a couple of years for the contracts to materialise so you need to prepare yourself for a long negotiation period.
Me: How did you make your first footsteps into the Chinese market?
Josh: We started with a couple of Austrade seminars. Then met an importer of a complimentary product and our oils attracted their interest. With them went to Singapore for a tradeshow and that created networks for us. Its all about building the relationships and who you meet along the way. There is a lot of help – find a network and make the most of Austrade and Trade Queensland, once you are on their radar and have your branding and promotion materials ready and they will help.
Me: What is your best tip to save money in launching a premium product?
Josh: We target a middle road price range and so we shook off a ‘trimming costs’ mindset very early on in the business. We spend a bit more on our labelling to ensure we communicate product quality. I would say identify early if you are going to be a high, medium or low volume producer and cost the product accordingly.
Me: What do you like about working with Evolve Brand Design?
Josh: We are happy to pay for good service and we tend to be very loyal to our suppliers because know they look after us. Aside from the quality of the work I like the convenience of an informal trusting relationship – we know you will always give us fair price and are easy to deal with.
Comment from Josh: Soon after rebranding many years ago I always remember a comment wholesaler made he said: “I prefer to sell 30-40c per unit extra if the product has good branding and beautiful labels – if you want to increase sales then invest in the brand and increase of the price of the product a bit”. We have always had this approach – we look at the bigger picture.
For more information about Proteco Oils, the oil refinery go to http://www.proteco.com.au/news/3-2m-expansion-hits-new-heights/
or to here more about Josh’s experience of exporting to China watch this video.