Founders: Sally Gallagher and Ross Beaton
HQ: Hawke’s Bay
What problems do you solve and what products or services do you sell?
The key problem we are working to solve at The Apple Press is to support the large issue that is food waste. We have selected and invested in a technology that enables us to convert an “imperfect” fresh fruit raw material into an added value, premium FMCG beverage product.
We sell the “world’s best apple juice” according to my co-founder Ross Beaton – and myself too, of course!
Who and where are your target customers?
Our target customers are around the globe and they are simply those people that appreciate good quality and great tasting products; essentially apple juice lovers. We are now proudly supplying our products to apple lovers in New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tahiti and New Caledonia. And that is just be beginning!
How and when did you first come up with the idea for your business?
The idea began about seven years ago, when I met Ross Beaton, owner of Apollo Apples, who was seeking ways to add value to the “visually impaired” but nutritionally perfect apples that couldn’t be sold as fresh. We explored a range of product ideas but ultimately selected beverages as the vehicle to enable us to create scale and do something meaningful with the “ugly fruit”. We needed a product with a shelf life that allowed us to reach the global consumer.
What are three things about your business that you are proud of?
- Bringing the “apple varietal” story to life, and then seeing retailers and consumers getting it! Delivering on our brand promise. We have a cool brand, but our product also delivers every time.
- Bringing technology to the Hawke’s Bay region that is world leading, and then creating products that can be taken to the world, from right here in Whakatu.
- Building a business from scratch that now employs more than 30 people.
How do you market your business and what advice do you have for others around marketing?
We market our business through building relationships, whether this be stakeholders, retailers, consumers or through E-commerce platforms. People and relationships are core to our culture and brand. I’m not a marketer so have not got trained advice around marketing – but my recommendation is be “true” to your brand story. We are the real thing and when people meet us they can see that for themselves.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in building your business so far?
People and resources. Having the right people, in the right roles at the right time! Startups are fun and games, but often not for the faint hearted. It’s been a big learning for many of us.
What is the biggest entrepreneurship lesson you would like to share with other Kiwis thinking of starting their own business?
If you don’t know, ASK. They can only say no!
How has your business adapted to the challenges of COVID-19?
We are continually adapting to the challenges with COVID as they are far from over. We adapted during lockdown with an extensive on-site programme to keep our team safe and it worked. We are engaging with our export customers via digital forums to keep our market development activities alive. We are working closely with our supply chain partners to ensure continuity of supply for materials that are essential to our operation.
We are flexible in our approach as an organisation, due to our entrepreneurial beginnings and so will continue to adapt in any aspects of the business as COVID becomes the new norm.
What are your plans for the next 12-18 months ?
This business was front loaded with investment in plant and infrastructure so we could “go global” and capture opportunities as they present themselves. The Apple Press is now launched and growing within the New Zealand market. Our plan for the next 12-18 months is to identify and grow export opportunities in our key markets in Asia.
What’s great about Hawke’s Bay?
Customers love the fact we are based in Hawke’s Bay. And more importantly, they love to visit. Our location provides a great back drop for our brand story and when “they visit” they are not disappointed. Bringing customers to our facility, enables relationships to be fostered in a relaxed Hawke’s Bay way.