For marketing, like the rest of our farm venture, we are starting small with big visions for the future. We currently have a logo, a Facebook page, a domain name, and are within a couple days of launching a Kickstarter campaign. We have visions of shirts, stickers, ice cream cartons, a scoop mobile, and much more.
When we lived in Vermont, with our farm business idea still in its infancy, we developed the logo that would identify us. One of our neighbors was a well-known regional artist, and was willing to barter for artwork. Connie went up to the their house one beautiful fall day and stacked three cords of firewood, though each time we tell the story it gets more and more animated. In New England, the sport of horse and oxen pulling is a big deal – it is the one event at the fair that always gets a huge crowd. The work and dedication it takes to get a team working together to accomplish something huge is deeply symbolic in our logo. The chickens in the logo always get the most questions. For anyone that has raised free-range hens, you know how industrious those girls can be. You let them out in the morning and they are busy all day searching for food, scratching in the dirt, laying eggs, and just being productive. They might be small and one chicken alone cannot accomplish a lot, but when they work together they can make a huge positive difference on the farm. And so two chickens yoked together became our logo, and with teamwork, dedication, and perseverance, our dreams will become reality.
Our marketing right now is done for free through our Facebook page. We own the domain name and will be restarting our webpage soon, but the ability to build an audience on social media for a small investment of time has been great. We have 135 likes, and some of our posts (mostly of baby animals) have reached over 700 people across the United States and in other countries.
The first week in October has been big for getting our marketing out to more people. A few weeks ago we were contacted out of the blue by a local newspaper reporter who thought our farm story would make a good article. She found out about us through this blog, which has been another excellent way for us to be able to talk about our farm to a wide-ranging audience. She came out to the farm to talk with us and take pictures for a feature piece in a coming edition. That same day we filmed our Kickstarter campaign, which will go live in November. Because our plan is to process our milk into ice cream, we are asking for help purchasing an industrial-scale machine.
The Kickstarter campaign and the Facebook page have encouraged us to think about other ways of marketing and having products for sale. The range of items that can be customized is huge, so we are looking for what people are most interested in having. Shirts, stickers, and ball caps are popular options. We are planning on making limited edition shirts for those people who help us with our fund-raising campaign.
As for sales, we are going to start relatively small in the local market. Our business plan has us making and selling a “Montana-made” ice cream first, using ingredients produced in the state. This will allow us to get our name out and raise additional capital needed to be able to further develop the dairy. The second year we will start the pasture line of ice cream, using the milk from our cows and hopefully the eggs from our hens. This product will be made almost entirely of locally produced ingredients, allowing us to also support other area farmers. We want to price our products so that our friends and family can buy them and to sell into markets that also support the local economy.
We are passionate and willing to talk about our venture to anyone who is curious to learn more. We are also thrilled to see how excited and interested people are about what we are doing. Having that support helps us get through the ups and downs of farm and business life.
Until next time, the girls of The Golden Yoke.
Thanks to Stonyfield, Profits for the Planet, for funding the 2013 Bootstrap blog series.