Dressed For Success
A small lifestyle business in Otago is set to become an overnight success- after nine years.
The Mosgiel company that grew out of selling gourmet salad dressings from a family restaurant is now poised to quadruple its turnover, moving confidently into lucrative export markets.
With confirmation of its first major international contract, two new exclusive products are making their way from the drawing board into production and ultimately, onto dinner tables throughout Australia.
Rachael Ashby named the company ‘Parisettes’ after the restaurant from where the original dressings were made and sold by her Swiss son-in-law. She says the company had always been treated as a family cottage industry rather than big business. “But,” she says, “we knew we were headed for stagnation if we didn’t find a way to catapult ourselves onto the next level.”
That impetus came from a research programme part funded by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology through its Technology New Zealand scheme. The results were beyond their wildest expectations and according to Rachael ‘took the blinkers off their business’.
An injection of $23,000 from Technology New Zealand, and twice as much again from Parisettes, enabled the company to link with Industrial Research Ltd and delve back to the roots of the business. Rachael says the results were startling and have been responsible for the dramatic increase in confidence, turning the four person company from a job into a business, as well as business opportunities.
The company’s ‘small is beautiful’ philosophy was found to be a significant market benefit. As a small batch manufacturer, they have complete control over each process. The research pointed out ways to maintain batch size but increase production without compromising taste or appearance
“The research went right back into our formulations and more importantly how we regarded ourselves,” she says. “ It confirmed that we are regarded as a player in the industry (rated fourth in the pourable gourmet dressing market in a recent food survey) and that what we were doing was right. It was quite a revelation and gave us a big boost.”
“Our success in securing the Australian contract, which involved protracted negotiations and is a result of participation in the Fine Food Fare in Melbourne, is directly attributable to the funding assistance from Technology New Zealand and scientific input from IRL,” says Rachael. “ We see it as an indication that our time has come, even if it has taken us nine years to come to it.”
Tony Hadfield of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology, which administers the Technology New Zealand scheme, says the funding is designed to help companies like Parisettes through a variety of research steps.
“Technology New Zealand funding can make all the difference to a business looking at the feasibility of a product or service and determining what the technology gaps are. “Feedback from companies tells us that it is particularly helpful to small and medium sized enterprises who are looking at what steps they can take to grow their business.”