Hawkes Bay's damson liquor takes on the world stage
The Damson Collection is an artisan condiments and beverage business centred around a single fruit - the damson plum. Fiona Tomlinson, owner, bought the business in 2017 after noticing an overseas trend towards flavoured gins and low alcohol beverages.
Fiona is a creative entrepreneur at heart. Besides the Damson Collection, she is also running her own photography business with more than two decades of professional photography experience, including shoots for magazines and commercial clients. Fiona loves variety and at the Damson Collection she particularly enjoys the product development part of running the business:
"Product development is fun. I love food and getting the right taste profiles - seeing what we can do with one fruit and one flavour."
Fiona has three staff supporting her at the Damson Collection: her son who is looking after sales and marketing, a contract cook and a contract pick and pack staff member who is also an artisan producer.
Since purchasing the business, the Damson Collection has won numerous local and global awards, including World's Best Fruit 2020 and Best New Zealand Fruit 2020/2021, World Liqueur Awards - to name just a few.
And this is only the beginning - Fiona has big growth plans for the Damson Collection which include more international expansion and adding new beverages to the product portfolio:
"We've just started exporting into Australia which is really exciting. We're also looking to expand to South Korea in the next 12 months as well as taking a non-alcoholic product to market."
2022 has been off to a great start, bringing the Damson story to a greater global community.
Supply chain disruptions impact cashflow
While Fiona has had a lot to celebrate - winning awards, developing new products, expanding to new markets - her business has also faced some challenges due to the recent supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic. As supply of goods like glassware has been disrupted, the business needed to increase bulk purchases which spiked up costs and put a strain on cashflow:
"We had to buy a lot more glassware upfront because the supply is going to be short. These expenses really eat into cashflow."
Fiona looks after all financial administration work for the business and while accounting is her least favourite hat to wear, she knows how important it is to keep an eye on cashflow:
"Cashflow is the biggest hand break for small businesses. To keep a business growing, money needs to keep on circulating back into the business."
Relay helps to smooth out any gaps in cashflow
Rather than filling cashflow gaps with her own money, Fiona prefers to do it with cashflow which is why she was stoked when she received an early payment offer from Relay:
"Relay is great - even getting a couple thousand of dollars early helps keep the wheels turning."
Relay works with businesses across multiple industries, including grocery retailers and food producers. Buyers can work with Relay to offer their suppliers early payment of their invoices to support them with affordable access to cashflow.
Fiona thinks Relay's early payment offers are a great way to help small businesses with cashflow:
"The hardest thing about running a business that has a lot of money tied up in inventory has always been cashflow. I can see how other smaller artisan food producers can benefit from Relay to get money back into the business fast and help it grow."
If you want to find out how Relay can help your business with cashflow, get in touch.