Funding stories: Crowdfunding for field&flower meat boxes
field&flower is a food business that aims to bring traditional British farming back onto consumers? plate, delivering premium meat boxes nationwide. The farming side of the business is based in Somerset, and there is an office in London too overall, the business employs 15 people.
Co-founders James Mansfield and James Flower met at college on their first day and have always displayed entrepreneurial streaks. Flower sold logs to fund his degree, and the pair sold antiques on eBay for a brief spell. It was at college that the seed was planted for field&flower they did lots of research into food businesses, and even did their dissertations on selling meat direct from the farm gate.
To make their blossoming dream a reality, the pair first used seed funding from family, and later used Crowdcube. We caught up with Mansfield to find out more about the business? funding journey.
How was the business initially funded?
We wrote a business plan and sold 20 per cent of our business for 85, 000 to my father. This seed funding allowed us to build a butchery and box packing facility. Plus, a low-cost ecommerce website.
Our cash flow cycle worked as we sold the product before having to pay for it. We worked hard to minimise wastage and successfully sold product at Borough market and local food festivals.
What costs came along later as the business entered new growth phases?
We invested in a CRM system that holds all customer data, staff members to help with retention (really important in a subscription business), and new butchery equipment that helped increase picking and packing efficiencies like bar code scanning.
Most of the ongoing costs that increase are related to sales and marketing. We know we if spend X on customer acquisition it will result in Y number of customers as we have tried and tested customer acquisition channels.
How did you meet the funding target?
We chose crowdfunding on Crowdcube so that our customer base could invest. it’s a great platform to use when you want hundreds of investors. We also got lots of press and business as a result of being on the platform.
We were fortunate that over half our investment came from our customer base, many who have been buying from us for years. In the end, there was very little science to it, it was just hard work. It helped that we had a track record and a profitable business in a growing market.
Did you choose equity or reward-based crowdfunding? What was behind this decision?
Letitia Booty is a special projects journalist for Business Advice. She has a BA in English Literature from the University of East Anglia, and since graduating she has written for a variety of trade titles. Most recently, she was a reporter at SME magazine.