Canterbury dairy farmers James and Chloe Davidson are turning the dream of a boutique milk company into a reality. Chloe reports on progress.

When I wrote the last article, we were only four weeks into business with Roan Milk. We’ve now been in business for four months and it feels like a huge achievement!

It definitely hasn’t been plain sailing but we’ve managed to rise above the bumps in the road and keep our dream alive. At times we have struggled to maintain a consistent supply due to a number of factors; mainly due to the fact that we have demand for just under 1000 litres which is where we thought we might be after a year in business, but we have consistently produced a high-quality product.

For customers, along with our consistent transparency about where we’re at, these are the reasons why customers love our milk and keep coming back!

We are extremely proud to say that Roan Milk is now stocked in 16 grocers, cafes, bakeries, wholefood stores and restaurants across Canterbury as well as four bulk customer groups spanning from Darfield to Diamond Harbour and Ashburton to Rangiora.

As we write, we’ve had another business inquire about stocking our milk so the options to expand are ongoing.

Consistently producing a high-quality product is extremely important but never underestimate or undervalue the importance of getting great exposure for your brand and lots of it!

Exposure can be through a number of sources but undoubtedly the most powerful is the media. The power of radio, newspapers, magazines and television is incredible and should never be underestimated, however a lot of thought should be taken when deciding which opportunities should be taken and which should be postponed or politely declined.

Most interest in Roan has been through the exposure we have had on these media and has all been very positive which has been fantastic! My degree in broadcasting communications definitely helped us in this area, perhaps more so in terms of attaining the interviews, which was great, but James was the main interviewee and did a stellar job.

I thought I’d touch on the most powerful piece of exposure we’ve had to date… it’s easy to tell our stockists, customers and potential customers where their milk comes from but being able to show our customers exactly where their milk comes from in their own living rooms is next level.

My favourite feature to date has been our story with Ali Pugh which aired on December 27 on One News. Apart from it gaining a lot of attention, it was also amazing for us to see a real and true snapshot of ourselves and our business.

We knew how important it was for this story to showcase the absolute best of Roan as we were 100% aware of the amount of exposure this story would receive. It was the perfect opportunity for us to show our customers where their Roan Milk comes from.

We know our customers already love our milk but we wanted them to fall in love with our story and see our cows and practices for themselves. Some time was spent coming up with a plan so that we were all on the same page and we feel we achieved what we wanted to achieve – we have shown our customers and potential customers exactly where their milk comes from.

It’s important to recognise when to take advantage of amazing opportunities and when to postpone or politely decline. It has to be the right time for your business! These days people are very quick to get on their keyboard in the privacy of their own home so you don’t want to be caught not putting your best foot forward that’s for sure!

A couple of opportunities in particular presented themselves just a month into our business and despite being absolutely desperate to take advantage of them, we knew that we wouldn’t be able to showcase Roan as a business to its full potential.

James and I both believe you do things once and you do things right so postponing these opportunities was the obvious choice. We just have to cross our fingers that the opportunities will come along again when our business is ready.

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