Starting Goodness Gracious Sydney was one of the most spontaneous and nervous decisions I ever made. I had quit my job about three months prior as I was feeling unmotivated and needed to find something which ignited my soul again. Insert, cheese platters, more cheese, insert grazing tables, and bam Goodness Gracious was born!
You’re probably thinking ‘it can’t be as easy as that’ – let me tell you, it’s not! I was mulling over the idea for months, researching like mad what I needed to do to transform this idea into reality. There were certificates I needed to complete, insurance I needed to take out, a brand to develop, and the most pressing, a space to work from and suppliers to enlist!
I am very blessed to have family who have been operating in the food trade for many decades – my dad owned and operated supermarkets in several locations across Sydney and continues to own and operate one of the best supermarkets in Sydney – Banana Joe’s Foodworks in Marrickville. I had contacts which I could leverage to help build my business and I had a lifetime of experience in the foods I wanted to package and offer to potential customers.
Growing up with a dad who owned and operated a supermarket and mum who ran her own deli meant we had a constant supply of fresh fruit, veggies, continental deli cheeses and meats, artisan snacks and all the delights you could possibly want! Before anything reached dad’s supermarket or mum’s deli we were trialling and testing the product (I got my hands on all the new chocolate bars, ice creams and lollies before they were even available in the local stores – it was a kid’s dream). I was introduced to an array of foods most kids my age wouldn’t have heard of thanks to mum’s deli (you can imagine the types of lunches we took to school also!). This sparked an incessant obsession with food and different types of food. I'd walk through dad’s shop grabbing all the exotic fruits, and would then hop over to mum’s deli (which operated within the store) and grab prosciutto, pecorino cheeses and wrap them up with figs, apricots and berries and chow them down right there. We experimented with all types of deli foods from all over the world - European cheeses and cured meats, Mediterranean antipasto, Middle Eastern sweets - were just a few of the regions we were blessed to experience in the culinary sense. This characterised most of my childhood and adult life (yes, I still walk through dad's supermarket and 'trial'the produce 😉)
After a couple of months of research and armed with my knowledge, it was time to put theory to practice. Dad agreed to allow me to work within the commercial kitchen he has on premise at Banana Joe’s Foodkworks and gave me access to his suppliers and buyers to help establish my business. I was set operationally – I had a vision, a space to operate, suppliers and storage (commercial cool rooms - game changer!) and now I needed to execute but I needed a brand first! This was the hardest decision for me to make – what to call my new grazing platter and grazing table business and what it’s going to look like. This took many hours of research, as well as engaging a graphic designer to help bring my vision to life – the end outcome was exactly what I wanted but it took many iterations of the design before it was perfect.
Armed with my new brand – Goodness Gracious Sydney – and set in my commercial Kitchen in Banana Joe’s Foodworks it was time to practice. I knew the types of foods I wanted to use – the cheese which were to become signature GG staples, the charcuterie that complimented the cheese, the antipasto which added some zest and of course mum’s delicious handmade dips but how this will look on a platter – that wasn’t so clear. So I practised – for hours! I made platters and grazing boxes and gave these to friends and family to taste and critic. I took all the feedback on board and kept refining my work – while taking inspiration from Instagram and Pinterest – until I was happy with the outcome. From here, it was time to build my website: www.goodness gracioussydney.com.au!
This took months, and months, and months of work. It was no easy feat – from designing the website, to developing the copy on the pages, to the images used – so much focus and energy went into this. This was my way of telling and showing the market what Goodness Gracious is about – who we are, what we stand for, what we do. And since people eat with their eyes – it had to be visually appealing too. And that took SO much time because I was adamant that all the images on the Goodness Gracious website had to be mine – it had to be authentic and true to the Goodness Gracious brand. I didn’t have many great images to begin with, so overtime as I started to land more and more bookings, I made sure I was taking photos I could use on my website and social media pages.
As the business progressed, I quickly realised that while I had a nice website, I needed an online store if I wanted to take the business to the next level and improve costumer conversions. I wasn’t sure how to develop the online store so I enlisted the help of my genius brother who helped set me up - before I knew it I was up and running and Goodness Gracious Sydney was a fully-fledged online business with an operational premises, suppliers on hand, social media pages, a website and click to purchase functionality!
I am really proud of what I have achieved to date - Goodness Gracious has worked with some incredible brands like News Corp Australia, Benefit Cosmetics, Twitter and MS Research Australia for their Kiss Goodbye to MS charity event to name a few. While there is still so much to be done and untapped opportunities explored I’m excited for the journey ahead and what GG will achieve in the future. Stay tuned my grazing loves! Exciting things are in store!
In love and cheese,