Strolling around a quiet supermarket is one of my favourite things to do. And the supermarket where I love to do this the most is Farro Fresh. Their shelves are filled with unique artisanal food and walking around the aisles, taking my time reading about the unique products makes me feel like the world is my oyster.
When I started Dolly Mumma in 2020, I dreamed a dream about Mumma's curry paste being stocked at Farro Fresh. The problem was, I had no idea how to actually make that happen. I had no 'contacts' in New Zealand. I wasn't sure if our product would require the help of a food technologist to extend the shelf life enough to be in a supermarket. And, personally, I wasn't sure I wanted to add the preservatives I'd need to if we were forced to make the product shelf-stable. The whole process was a big web in my brain I couldn't pick apart.
When I spoke to my mentor about the mess she said that I wasn't ready for the big leagues. I needed to work on the product and the business.
✔️ So we kept going to the farmer's markets and building our community of beyond butter chicken believers.
✔️ We tweaked our product label not once, but three times.
✔️ We introduced some 'stepping stone' flavours like our (now) best-sellers Tandoori Paste and Cashew Korma Paste.
✔️ We shouted about Dolly Mumma from the rooftops and the good people at Stuff, Radio NZ and The Spinoff heard us.
✔️ We applied for and got awarded a 'Highly Commended Finalist' award at the NZ Artisan Awards
By all measures, it felt like we were ready. Ready to approach Farro Fresh.
A year into the business I now had the conviction that the people we wanted to serve loved what we were dishing out. I knew I wouldn't compromise on serving our product as small batches that are made fresh. But, I was prepared And so, I emailed my mentor saying I was ready.
We worked on our pitch to Farro. The pitch progressed to a tasting opportunity. That progressed to filling sooo many forms. Pricing negotiations. More forms.
And then, silence. Follow up. More silence.
Until finally, on Monday 7 March 2022, we received our very first order from Farro Fresh. It's been a whirlwind of a week since then. We've never made 216 bottles in 1.5 days before!! I wasn't sure HOW we'd do it. But, we did.
As I write this, I am smiling. Imagining how proud Dolly Mumma would be if I could share the news with her today. Guaranteed, she'd call the fish vendor and make us some fish curry to celebrate. To see her curry that's graced the bellies of her children and her grandchildren now on the aisles of a major supermarket, that too my favourite one of all, Farro Fresh!