"The best delivery service to Calitzdorp. You cannot get fresher vegetables at a better price. And a wide range of free range and grass fed meat to boot. I get deliveries every two weeks now."
This journey started for us on the 6th of May 2013, the date we decided to buy a small and not too successful company and make it our own, to grow it and to make it a success. We are primarily an online Farmers Market, a place where good local food comes together on one platform, making it easier to buy from. We believe in Local, Healthy Food and most importantly we feel we are Building a Community not just a Business. Six Years ago Johannes and I started on a very tough and rewarding journey, we really had no idea how building a business would change us, challenge us and also strengthen us.
If Someone Offers you an Amazing Opportunity and you are Not Sure how to do it…..Say YES and Learn how to do it Later.
– Richard Branson
How it all started
Johannes and I were both working on yachts and traveling around the world on these amazing boats working for extremely influential world leaders. It did however come to time where we were both feeling the need to lay down roots, to get off the boats and enter the real world, initially we had hoped for one more season but as fate would have it we departed from one life in the fast lane to settling in George in September 2012.
When we both arrived in George we didn’t know what we were going to do or where we wanted to start upon new careers, it was almost like being 18 again and we were embarking on the big wide world and were trying to find our feet, to be honest this wasn’t the nicest of prospects at the age of 32, it made me feel a bit of a failure to be honest. Anyway I started looking for work and randomly I was introduced to the bubbliest most enthusiastic person I have ever met…..Jonel Ackermann………As it turns out Jonel was something of a local legend as she and her husband Dawie owned a thriving flower shop in Town, they had two grown up children just finishing school and also a small business called Farmfresh Direct which was looking for an assistant to help Jonel! Perfect for me, I love food and I was pretty much a personal assistant in my past career, so I applied and got the job!
After a couple of months Jonel walked into the office and she had just had enough, she was being stretched too much with the shop, her kids, Farmfresh and normal life’s duties. She had decided the amount of effort that Farmfresh needed compared to the time she had to do it were just not working out, so she thought it was now the time to sell. As she said it, it almost felt like I knew already that this business was going to be mine, so I went home and spoke to Johannes both with nervousness and apprehension, was I really going to buy a business, the one thing I had said I would never do?
Luckily for me Johannes is never swayed by feelings and has his head screwed on, so we asked for advice from our accountant and some other people in our lives that we feel can mentor and guide us. We got hold of the books and we thought that we could turn this company around, we can do it better as we have more time and determination to take this business to a whole new level. On May the 6th 2013 Johannes and I became the owners of Farmfresh Direct, which we then changed to Farm Fresh Direct as I had a grammatical issue with the other spelling!
The journey really was a crazy one from there on in, we were so overwhelmed that in the first year we really did no advertising at all, everything was done on word of mouth, we made the decision to expand to a new area to go a bit further and to see whether we could boost sales with a bigger footprint, luckily this panned out for us and before too long we had quickly risen from 12 orders a week on our first week to 68 orders a week after a year of business.
It was so nice to see the business start to grow and to be honest I became slightly obsessed watching all the orders come in, but with this came a lot more stress and a lot less sleep. We found ourselves working until 11pm some Wednesdays and then we would start again at 2am the next morning literally no sleep, we became exhausted and drained and this really wasn’t a good place to be in! Johannes and I are workers though and so we kept going, until we found the right staff members to employ at that time to help us! After the 1st year we randomly got a phone call asking us if we would like to take on the Veg Stall at the Outeniqua farmers market every Saturday morning. When we had come back to land we had made a decision to not work on weekends, this was due to the excessive hours we had previously been doing on yachts. Saying that we knew that this was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up on.
So on the first month of May 2014 (almost exactly 1 year after we had started Farm Fresh) we embarked on more work, longer hours, but most definitely more rewards! We found that we were able to show case some of what we did to the local people and we were able to bring in a bit more cash flow to help Farm Fresh Direct really start to grow, it enabled us to do some Marketing and it was time we started to think about building a new website as the existing one was struggling to keep up with the number of customers! This is now our 5 th site as we have constantly needed to expand, add and grow and we thank CRT for helping us on this journey!
Now 6 years later we are still the owners of a market stall and we now supply to hotels, restaurants and homes. We are still learning every day but our passion is to be a household name in the garden route, somewhere you can go to for great products, easy use and convenience and great customer service! Thank you to everyone who supports us we really appreciate you all!