2015 Asia-Pacific Gold Winner - Karmer Pty Ltd - Bondi Chai Latte
Company: Karmer Pty Ltd (ta Bondi Chai Latte, Salamander Bay, NSW, Australia
Category: Company of the Year - Food & Beverage
Entry Title: Karmer Pty Ltd (ta Bondi Chai Latte
Since launching their business in 2005, Martin Buggy and Melissa Edyvean have strived to present the highest quality product; find innovative ways to overcome challenges; develop effective marketing strategies; strengthen their brand and increase sales of their product, Bondi Chai Latte. This approach is reflected in their achievements to date and is particularly evident in the success of their initiatives implemented over the last 18 months, including…
Our marketing initiatives have focused primarily on driving food-service sales through increased brand awareness. Even our move into mainstream supermarkets in 2013 was largely aimed at increasing brand exposure while servicing the increased consumer demand that our marketing efforts would create.
Tasting opportunities have always been essential and have included in-store demonstrations, give-away co-promotions, national food show promotions and free samples offered through our website.
Last year we gave some 30,000 free samples to consumers via our website and in the last 18 months a further 170,000 samples through other promotions. One web-based give-away saw 9000 samples claimed in just 30 minutes and around 30,000 requests lodged in the following 48 hours.
Online sales strategy
The sampling has also generated a leads database for our online sales strategy being rolled out later this year. Social media and online marketing expertise is already engaged and is increasing our online presence and lead generation in preparation for the e-commerce launch.
Our online strategy also called for the replacement of our original 250g pack with a new 200g pack. The up-dated design delivers excellent value for consumers and also ensures the lowest postal rate for online sales (products will be delivered ‘freight free’).
Our website was also relaunched in early 2014 to accommodate the shift towards mobile technology and allow the easy addition of our e-commerce site. While initially B2C, the site will be expanded to include distributor and wholesale ordering and other B2B functions.
New sales team
We have also created our first sales team – recruiting two career sales professionals to manage and grow our food-service sales. In just 18 months they have significantly strengthened our distribution network and increased food service volumes by 28%
Redirecting the sales function away from the Directors has also allowed them to concentrate on overall business growth, particularly in the area of increased exports.
With supermarkets a new focus, a convenient, portable packaging format was needed and research pointed to the popular ‘sachet stick’. We found an Australian company prepared to buy modern production equipment, based on our agreed investment and minimum quantity purchases. Coles Supermarkets ranged our sachets nationally in September, 2013, followed by Costco in 2014, increasing revenue and production by 36% in year one.
Noticing a preference in cafés for displaying coffee bags and tea caddies, we re-modelled our existing plain-foil 1kg food service pack into a striking, stand-up pouch for on-shelf storage/display. The pack was released in January and is delivering unexpected bonuses – 1kg pack sales direct to consumers.
Our company’s success has been recognised: 2013 My Business Magazine Business Awards finalist; 2014 Telstra Micro Business of the Year (NSW) winners and national finalist, and; 2015 Australian Small Business Champions Awards finalist (TBA - April).
These awards have attracted national media attention including an interview in a TV lifestyle program launching nationally in May and another featured on Qantas’ in-flight programming throughout May.
Bondi Chai has consistently seen year-on-year growth of at least 10% and up to 36% in the decade since launch. The development initiatives undertaken since 2013 have us on track to exceed annual sales of 70 tonnes/$2 million in revenue and have laid the foundations for achieving our next major milestone – annual sales of 100+ tonnes/$3 million in revenue.