Online farmers’ market launched in lockdown

30 Jun 2020

The onset of Covid-19 earlier this year meant Hamish Hutton (10718) and Suzy Hutton pulled out all stops to get, the online farmers market, launched earlier than planned.

“We were working towards a mid-2020 launch, but we managed to go live on 23 March to help our makers.

“People were very interested in online shopping in the lockdown. That led to rapid growth in our stores. There are now around 400 stories – all full of amazing New Zealand made artisan foods and drinks. The best thing is, because you’re shopping directly with the maker, 90% of the price goes back to their business.”

Online retail of food and drinks was permitted at Level 4, so customer traffic grew quickly. “We’ve now had 37,000 people browse and shop. We are just beginning to advertise nationally so that growth will accelerate.”

Hamish’s background in advertising, and his wife Suzy’s web development experience combined to develop and (the licensed side of the marketplace for wine, craft beer and other drinks.)

“It came about because we saw an opportunity for the small producers of New Zealand to collaborate on a common sales platform. One that would attract customers, give them a fairer share of the value created, offer them a wholesale selling platform (to cafes, bars and restaurants) and also become an export sales platform in time.”

The marketplace will aggregate shipments from many makers into shipments to export markets. Hamish expects they will eventually be able to fund the container shipments out of the marketplace’s 10% commission “so the buyer in Singapore will only have to pay for domestic couriers.”

The team is now working with partners in Australia and the USA to explore launching the Maker2u platform to artisan makers and shoppers in those countries too.”

With three boys under nine, life is busy for Hamish who was at College from 1987-91.

“My time at College gave me a strong curiosity to explore the world and a good, broad foundation of knowledge to draw on for business thinking in later life.”