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For self-taught bakers Sam Dawson and Rhiannon Moon, their successful business story has hinged on ingenuity, opportunity and sheer hard work – all in equal measure.

A move from Perth to Albany revealed a gap in the market for traditional sourdough, at a time when the resourceful couple was tinkering with breadmaking at home.

“We saw that there was nobody making bread that we wanted to eat so we decided to get started on that,” Sam said.

“I was working at Lime 303 and they let us use their oven after the kitchen closed on a Saturday night; and it took us a little while doing that before we managed to get a commercial unit at the business centre.”

Since 2016, the couple has operated Bred Co, a small, yet revolutionary bakery that creates slow fermented, naturally leavened, dark baked sourdough and prides itself on sourcing its grain and supplies from local farmers and growers. Bred Co’s point of difference is creating sourdough from locally-sourced, house-milled grain.

Doing what it takes

The Bred Co story is one of putting in the hard yards to make their business work. In the early days, the business owners sourced a little Italian hammer mill for their production. A chance offering landed them an oven for two cartons of beer if they moved the heavy unit themselves. So they did.

“We’ve always loved bread,” Rhiannon said. “We’re both chefs but we just went down a bit of a rabbit hole with bread at home. There was no proper, long-fermented sourdough (in Albany), so we thought we’d start doing that and people loved it.”

For three years, the couple sold their wares at local farmers markets before opening their shopfront in the heart of Albany in September 2020.

“We bought a bigger stone mill for our shop and now we buy local grains so about 75 per cent of the flour in our shop is our owned milled flour,” Rhiannon said.

“I don’t think people place enough emphasis on where their food is coming from and knowing their local growers. Anything that goes in our pastries we know where it’s coming from and that’s part of our message and what we deliver in the shop.”

Instrumental advice to get their business ready for growth

The couple said the knowledgeable Business Local advisers at Albany Business Centre have been integral to their start-up and runaway success.

An initiative of the SBDC, Business Local is a network of skilled business advisers throughout regional WA that offers valuable advice to small business operators at no cost. The Albany Business Centre provides the service across the Great Southern.

Business Local advisers are available for one-on-one appointments for individualised and confidential small business advice. They also offer group workshops on a range of subjects, including business planning, financial management, taxation, leasing requirements, marketing, social media and business expansion.

“The guys at the business centre know business and they know the town,” Sam said.

“They were really friendly, helpful and they helped us to know what we had to know. They were instrumental in getting us ready for what was coming.”

“It’s not as easy as just making a product and selling it. You’ve got to get all the accounts organised. When the single touch payroll came around we did a workshop around that and that was great.”

“The trickiest part was knowing what was important, because you’ve got so many hours in a day. So, they directed us where to spend the time, and where to spend the money, what we should do ourselves and what we should get other people to do.”

Rhiannon added,“100 per cent we could not have done it without them.”

“I’m from Perth and when I moved down here someone told me the business advice was available – I couldn’t believe it. It’s so accessible. And it’s free.”

To taste Bred Co’s artisanal sourdough, visit their storefront at 1/15 Albany Highway.

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Small business stories
27 April 2022