Meet the Finalists - Purely Goats Milk
When they switched from cow to goats milk, husband and wife team, Shelly and Trevor Gatt experienced a significant uplift in their health, so much so that they founded Purely Goats Milk, right in the middle of prime dairy country in Nilma, in the Baw Baw Shire.
They call their 30 acre farm a little piece of paradise and the love and care they invest in their goat herd is evident, with their knowledge of small scale farming sought after by fellow farmers all over the world.
Originally set up to sell goats milk, when a change in government regulations around raw milk came into force in 2015, the Gatts needed to reinvent their business – switching from primarily milk to soap and skin care production.
The move has been a successful one, with increases to their herd size required to keep up with demand, which has, in turn, resulted in an ongoing positive impact to their bottom line.
From soaps to handwash, dishwashing tablets to body scrubs, shampoo bars and lip balm, the Purely Goats Milk range is a popular choice for gifts and personal use with buyers from all over Gippsland, Australia along with an increasing number of overseas customers.
With their products known for being gentle on sensitive skin, Purely Goats Milk soaps are widely used in local aged care facilities and the number of boutique accommodation places across the region wanting to supply them to guests continues to grow.
Another lucrative exposure opportunity has been the inclusion of their products in gift hampers created by businesses wanting to showcase regional produce that is trusted to be a genuine Gippsland product.
Compared to their fresh milk business, the soap and skin care products have a much longer shelf life and are much easier to distribute, so the Gatts happily say that the change since 2015 has been great for their business.
But the circumstances created by Covid-19 has put them into another cycle of change, driven by a dramatic reduction in their regular face to face selling opportunities through Farmers Markets and local businesses.
2020 has prompted Shelly and Trevor to build more capability and capacity in their online ordering and distribution model, a move that has paid off with steady business growth throughout the year, even in the middle of a global pandemic.
Buoyed by the online success and increased interest in local producers and small business, they’re working on plans to expand their workforce to ten people over the next two to three years to be able to meet the growing demand for their products.
They’re passionate about being a pure, clean and fresh Gippsland brand – and one of the many ways they achieve that is to partner with businesses in the region to reduce waste and contribute to sustainability.
Their environmental sustainability initiatives include the use of waste coffee grinds as cleansing grits in their body scrubs and some soaps, as well as using waste grains from local brewers to feed their goats.
Whilst a large percentage of their goat milk goes into their premium quality product range, discussions are underway with a local Gippsland cheesemaker to expand the food side of their business with an artisan goat’s cheese partnership on the cards in the coming months.
The way Shelly and Trevor embrace change, connect with community and collaborate with other local producers for ingredients in their product range impressed the Food & Fibre Gippsland Excellence in Agribusiness Awards judging panel.
Their ability to pivot and take advantage of new opportunities has scored them a place in the finalist list for Food & Fibre Gippsland’s Excellence in Adaption to Change Award, a category proudly supported by Wellington Shire Council for the 2nd year running.