Tell me about Produce Drop
PRODUCE Drop, operating from a warehouse in Sydney Markets, is a home box delivery business with big plans, where convenience meets quality.
My best mate, Phill Lagudi and I started Produce Drop in the midst of COVID-19 in early 2020.
We started out initially just delivering fresh fruit and veg boxes direct from Sydney Markets to our family and friends.
After doing this for a while we realised that we had a great business model on which to grow.
What started as a weekend activity has now rapidly exploded into a fruitful business with over 1200 customers and two refrigerated vans, with plans for a third.
We are dedicated to connecting a new generation to the fresh produce industry, by providing both quality produce and education to our customers.
What do you specialise in?
We have the passion and motivation to deliver only the best.
You'll get your fresh produce quick with next day delivery, but more importantly you'll get your fresh produce at its peak quality sourced earlier that morning from Sydney Markets.
We always said from the beginning, we didn't want to be the quickest or the biggest, but the best quality. And if that means we can't get it to you in 15 minutes or less, so be it; that's not our quality model.
Our customers also have the option to customise their boxes, and add some standard grocery items such as milk, orange juice and pasta, as well as a selection of fresh meat to their order.
What sets your business apart from other box delivery services?
Everything is triple checked, from when it's purchased, when it arrives up at the warehouse, before it goes into a customer's Produce Drop. We are always on the front foot with quality control.
Where do you source your produce from?
We buy our produce direct from Sydney Markets and from some growers direct. Although we are only a relatively new business in the scheme of things, my business partner Phill has family ties in Sydney Markets dating back to the sixties. This means we have some fantastic relationships with a great many growers and wholesalers, and gives us a better understanding of the industry.
Who are your customers?
We have a very diverse range of customers from all over the greater Sydney area, from Palm Beach to Cronulla and out as far as Penrith. If our customers order before 12 noon they will have their produce delivered the next day.
How do you market the business?
We started the business using social media, and are very focused on this as a way to communicate with our customers and educated them about seasonality and where their produce is grown. It also helps us connect with new customers, although most of these come to us through word of mouth.
We recognise the importance of our branding, and from the beginning invested in good reliable refrigerated vans wrapped in our branding.
How did you get into the fruit and veg business?
I was working in corporate media sales, when Phill presented me with this business opportunity.
As best mates, growing up we had always said how awesome it would be to be in business together so this seemed like the perfect time to jump out of the corporate world and into the fruit and vegetable industry where I could still use my marketing skills.
My learning curve over the last two years has been enormous; I never realised how much goes into growing and delivering fresh produce into our homes, which makes me even more determined to share this knowledge with our customers.
What do you enjoy about the market?
The most interesting thing for me is that while most people are sleeping there is this dynamic, vibrate alternate world alive with lots of chatting, banter and laughter that is the fresh produce market.
Everyone is so passionate about what they are doing, and I love that I can be a part of it.
I also get a real kick out of being able to introduce a customer to a new variety of fruit or veg.
To be able to say to them that although the apricots they have in their box don't look as perfect as a mass produced apricot, they surpass anything else with their amazing flavour and the heritage and tradition behind the variety.
How has Covid-19, and now the weather, affected the business?
Of course during Lockdown we saw enormous growth in our business, and we are surprised that on the other side we have retained most of our customers which has kept us on this really nice trajectory.
It is really an honour that our customers trust us to pick out the best produce to feed their family. That element of trust and responsibility is huge.
What is the secret to a successful business?
We are very customer focused and shape our business around what is best for our customers and people who engage with us.
You need to trust yourself and your business partner to make the commitment to the business.
We are determined to make this business a success and learn from any challenges that come our way.
What does the future hold for the fruit and vegetable industry?
Being young, we are very excited about the future and where we can drive our business to help create a new buzz around fresh produce in Sydney.
Sign up here to Good Fruit and Vegetables weekly newsletter for all the latest horticulture news each Thursday...
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.