Focusing on how to make use of surplus product has created a win-win situation for gourmet soup business, the Suppa Club.
Founder David Kane set out to provide a product for those who craved pure, whole-foods, with the comfort of home-style cooking without the hassle, which gave rise to the Suppa Club.
Focus on producing a ‘no-waste’ product
David said that having a holistically sustainable business has always been high on his values list. As there is so much waste that happens in the food industry, his focus from the outset was to minimise this as much as possible.
“We donate all our left-over soup to St Patrick Community Support Centre in Fremantle,” he said.
“Also, when you return our soup jars, you are actively participating in our efforts to reduce waste.”
“It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Gaining a business education is priceless
David has completed several SBDC workshops during his business journey which have been useful informative tools and helped with his business education.
“The fact that the courses are so affordable is crucial to a young start up business,” he said.
Part-time passion to full-time business
David started Suppa Club as a part-time weekend business selling at Farmers Markets throughout Perth and Fremantle in 2015, while he was still working at a full-time day job.
David then produced a packed version of his soups and targeted stockists near where he had gained traction from the Farmers Markets.
“This was a way for customers, who were becoming really loyal to my product, had the ability to buy them throughout the week when the markets were closed,” he said.
Evolve when opportunities present themselves
David said that it has been a simple evolution of the business to the point where he is also now selling from a bricks and mortar premises.
“I was always a customer facing food business that had a manufacturing arm in a different location so now I have just combined the two,” he said.
“The new commercial kitchen in Myaree had the provision for a lunch bar in the lease so it was always part of the plan to open it up as a soup style café.”
Diversifying the product to overcome seasonal challenges
David said that with soup being a predominantly winter based product, he had to come up with some creative ways to keep selling in the warmer months.
“We now have an extensive list of chilled summer soups, as well as those that cater for the vegan and gluten-sensitive customer diets,” he said.
Early hardship can build resilience
David said he never had any financial backing, so the business had grown organically from the beginning.
“This is both good and bad as it does take a bit longer to grow, but the pressure of not having spare capital forces you to make calculated decisions and keeps your eye on all areas of the business to make sure we are not losing or wasting money at any stage.”
“I think this has forced me to operate more cleverly and as a result I believe I have built a more sustainable business model going forward.”
If you have a side hustle that you think you can turn into a business, or are passionate about reducing waste, see these links for more information:
- Starting a business on the side
- The recipe for success for a food-based businesses
- 7 ways to make your business greener
- 10 tips for leasing business premises
- Read more inspiring WA small business stories
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