Digital Solutions Success Story: Farmhouse Seeds

September 8, 2023

Jay Hill and David Ryan launched their new business Farmhouse Seeds at the start of 2020—and were forced to change their business plan abruptly in the face of COVID-19. With the help of the Business Resilience program, they increased their online offering substantially and expanded their digital marketing knowledge.

“The program helped to build confidence in approaching social media from a business perspective.”

Farmhouse Seeds is a predominantly online retail business that specialises in heirloom vegetable, herb, and flower seeds, as well as garden supplies. The business is based in the Central Highlands of regional Victoria, run from Jay and David’s rural properly, currently without additional staff.

"We believe nutrient rich food should be accessible and affordable to everyone and growing from seed makes sense,” David explains. “Our aim is to offer a supportive journey where anyone can grow nutrient-packed, tasty vegetables at home.”

Initially, their business plan was based around face-to-face interaction of markets and festivals, combined with an online presence. Unfortunately, the timing of the pandemic removed the opportunity to attend events and present their new products to customers in person.

“We’d always known that digital would play a major part in our business, and after we made the decision to move 100% online, and after meeting with Clarissa from the Business Resilience program, we realised the importance of formulating a solid plan that could take us into the long term.”

COVID-19 pushed their online business to a level above and beyond what they had originally hoped. It prompted them to change their business model to an online portal that combined sales with information that would support customers on a daily basis.

In terms of marketing their business and portal, both Jay and David felt they had a good understanding of social media from a consumer perspective but lacked the knowledge from a business and marketing angle. “The program felt like a good fit to increase our digital marketing knowledge to ultimately generate ongoing sales through long-term following.”

They met with mentor, Clarissa Harris for one-on-one mentoring. She taught them the value of consistent, relevant, and engaging content in authentic online marketing.

“We quickly learned the importance of looking outside the box, researching, and an openness to change that will set us in good stead,” David says. “This has created what we believe to be a trustworthy business that will forge long-term relationships with our clients and customers.”

Farmhouse Seeds has a business model that is based on a sustainable, ethically sound principle that promotes community and abundance. In alignment with this, their mentor helped them develop a social media strategy that included regularly connecting with online gardening communities.

“This ongoing ritual is productive, rewarding, and we are finding one of the easiest to implement,” David says. “Our next move is to fully integrate Facebook and Instagram shops!”

The pair’s experience with their mentor was very positive. “One of the highlights of the program for us was connecting with a professional who was able to have honest and open discussions about our business with fresh, educated, and knowledgeable eyes.”

David strongly believes the Digital Solutions Program is worthwhile for anyone looking for ways to generate and retain long-term relationships with customers.

“It’s a great way to look for opportunities that we traditionally might not have sought,” he says. “The program helped to build confidence in approaching social media from a business perspective. With the knowledge received, we were able to define our short and long-term marketing strategy to help us connect with more customers sooner, and trade in what are quite unprecedented times.”

Read other posts