Chelsea and Daniel Sutton are your typically awesome small family farm offering organically raised meats. Serving the Eastern North Carolina area, they offer meats grown on their own farm pasture. To round out their product offering, they offer dozens of other products from other local farmers.
Why do we love these guys? They aren’t just our clients, but from our view they are doing great work. They have a video series about using fresh and healthy ingredients on a budget, they write in their blog about GMOs. Simply put, they get it. If these words are foreign to you, I might suggest checking out their website and diving in to learn!
To buy their products, you can stop at the farm or find them at several North Carolina markets and organic grocers. There’s even some restaurants serving up their wholesome ingredients. You can see more details on their website listed below.
So here’s where it’s different… you would normally expect one more way to buy their products would be a CSA, where you pay at the beginning of the season and get a pre-determined box of food each week through the season, or whenever their animals are harvested (sorry Veg folks!). While this model is typical for small family farms, they chose to run a buying club instead.
“We’re able to make more money operating as a buying club by offering customers the ability to buy exactly what they want, and we have more product to offer from working with other farms and distributors to fill in where we leave off. And working together with other farmers also has a non-monetary benefit in growing the relationships within our community.“
Seems to me they are able to make more money selling additional products than they have on their own. They increase revenue for the farmers they sell products for which increases their farmer community, and they are still able to give people one-on-one service delivering products people chose to buy as opposed to getting what they get in the CSA model. Increasing the local economy, their community… it’s all there.
Fine, it’s a buying club, why am I telling you all this?
Because when we started, BCS.com wasn’t for farmers. It was for groups of consumers who organized themselves to get the products they wanted from vendors they chose, and do it by splitting wholesale cases to get a good price. But over time we’ve found clients who are farmers, and we wanted to tell their story to show you what’s possible with our software.
What’s the story here?
Chelsea & Dave have been receiving orders by email and delivering to host locations every couple of weeks for some time. It is quite a difficult process to collect and deliver orders from about 300 people by email. They needed some way to cut down the work it took to do that.
They needed an easy way for people to shop, but most important, an easy way to do the administrative pieces of managing an order and ordering system. Things like manage members of the club, their changing product catalogs and managing inventory, printing invoices, filling people’s boxes for delivery, and a way to record payments and all the details of a transaction.
So they got everything they needed with BuyingClubSoftware.com, and months down the road they and other farmers are loving this as a new/better way than the typical CSA now that it can be reasonably managed.
Was there any challenges for the farmers we couldn’t solve?
Nope. We only had one challenge with their logistics, which was that they had multiple locations to manage. They needed to be able to easily see what invoices/orders went to which location. Typically we have people use different systems for different clubs, but because the farmer is running the show and needed to track inventory for all the locations were delivering to, we came up with coding people’s user names with a location code.
The codes worked well to identify an order location, and now they spend more time focusing on farming and people, and less time coordinating the details of an order.
This is the good work. This is why we get up to do this in the morning. This is how BuyingClubSoftware.com helps the local food system buy building community and economics around our food.
Are you a farmer? Get started by contacting us today!