Childhood friends Emma Welsh and Tom Griffith started their business, Emma & Tom’s, with a range of fresh juices and smoothies in 2004. The Australian-owned company now produces a whole host of healthy drinks and snacks and supplies over 3,000 retailers nationally every week.
“We thought there was an opportunity to develop super premium fruit juices and smoothies,” said Welsh of why the pair started the business. “That’s what the original concept was… We had a goal of building a national brand; we wanted to be well-recognised.”
Managing the business
When they first started out, Emma & Tom’s used a distributor but have since taken this in-house so they can give customers a higher level of service. “We would get the customer and then we would pass them on,” said Welsh. “We finally realised after four years that to grow the business and give the customers the service they need with a fresh product, we needed to do our own distribution.”
This means that Emma & Tom’s now has about 40 vans on the road every day, delivering product to retailers across the country from warehouses in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. “We used a distributor to start with because we thought [distribution] would be such a nightmare. Imagine vans breaking down, people not turning up…
“It’s difficult, which is why many people don’t do it, but there are a lot of benefits and we can grow and improve efficiency.”
To keep track of operations the company uses an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system from Netsuite that goes from the purchase order to the invoice. Previously using MYOB to manage invoices, Welsh said the company made the switch to a cloud accounting platform two years ago.
As the platform is cloud-based Welsh can access data no matter where she is, a feature she said she finds very useful. “The great thing is that it’s on the cloud so I can look at it wherever… If I was starting a business from scratch today, I wouldn’t do anything else. You just buy one licence and it allows you to scale—you don’t have the hassle of changing.”
Looking to the future
Scalability is important as the company is planning to expand both within Australia and abroad. Along with new product development (look out for no added sugar flavoured milk and a coconut water/spiralina blend in the coming months), Welsh said the brand is doing more with the major supermarkets and looking into overseas expansion.
“We’re focused on being the number one healthy drinks and snacks brand. We’re in Australia, we’re from Australia—we see an opportunity to take the brand to international markets and leverage the good brand position that Australia has. We’re working where we find really nice people that understand the brand and the products. We’ve got a lot of fishing lines in China—Australian products are obviously very desirable for a section of that market.”
When asked about her company’s ethos or approach to retail, Welsh summed it up like this: “We want to have products that are real, that taste great…it’s about giving retail customers a product that their consumers want.
“We have also realised that a big part of our product is the service we deliver. We’re very focused on good service… We work in partnership with [retailers] to make sure it’s as easy as possible to stock a fresh product.”