Divinity is known as the premium New Zealand brand for extra virgin olive oil and balsamic products. Their world class boutique foods have been recognised with Gold and Silver Medals three years in a row at the biggest olive show in the world, the Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Awards.
Divinity is a family owned business based in Mangawhai, New Zealand, run by Leanne, her husband Michael and their three daughters. The couple have always worked as contractors, Leanne in IT and Michael in Finance, but in 2002 they decided to give up their full time jobs to take on a completely different venture - and Divinity was born. However, Leanne says that it wasn't clear from the start what type of product they would take to market.
"Initially we thought about producing skincare products but then the raw ingredient turned out to be amazing so we thought, let's start with the basics. And we did so well, immediately winning international awards."
It took the Chinnerys one year to prepare the soils, then they planted over 1,000 trees and in 2008, they hand picked their first harvest. At that point they didn't realise how successful Divinity would eventually become.
"We used to say - imagine getting our product into 5 stores or imagine going into someone's house and seeing our product in their pantry. Now we have gone way beyond that, supplying around 60 stores and seeing our product on Shortland Street. We've become a recognisable premium brand."
After getting on the shelves of 50+ boutique and gift stores, they've most recently added a number of New World stores to their list of stockists.
Leanne says the best part about running the business is loving the product and truely believing in it. Nevertheless, juggling work on the olive grove, distribution, the ecommerce store and finances is a 24/7 job. The seasonality of the business adds more complexity to planning and operations.
"We're a seasonal business. For example, in May we spend a lot of money on harvesting the olive grove and paying for certifications. It's a period of investment."
Leanne first found out about the option to balance seasonal cashflow with Relay when receiving an early payment offer from one of her customers. Relay works with grocery retail buyers to offer their suppliers early payment of their invoices to support them with affordable access to cash.
"The time leading up to Christmas is busy - we're outlaying a lot in October and November: importing bottles from Italy, getting the labels ready, gift boxes, tissues - you name it. And we often don't get paid until the 20th of the following month."
Requesting early payment of their invoices through Relay has helped the business get ready for the rush at the end of the year.
"Relay was a little bit of a blessing. Getting early payment eases the burden during the busy run up to Christmas - with Relay it's actually not a burden at all."
If you want to find out how Relay can help your business with cashflow, get in touch.