Saskia and Hans Sloeserwij arrived in Canada from Holland in 2008. As they adjusted to their new life in Canada, they found themselves missing the European style cheeses they grew up with. Back in Holland, Saskia and Hans created amazing cheeses using local ingredients and traditional European processes, but they couldn’t find similar products in Canada. They felt like the Canadian market lacked “authentic, traditional, European cheeses”.
In an effort to fill a gap in the market, Saskia and Hans took it upon themselves to create those cheeses that they missed so dearly, calling their new business Say Cheese.
Over the years Saskia and Hans have been getting the business off the ground. For cheese makers, this is a long, labour intensive process. They had to set up their facility, source local milk, gather proper licenses, and perfect their recipes and products. By mid-2016, Say Cheese had to figure out how to get new customers and expand the business.
“When we heard Local Line got the Premiers Award, we contacted them to tell us more about the platform. We had already heard about the concept and were convinced that the set up would work.”
Say Cheese joined Local Line in December 2016 and since then, the business has grown steadily. Today, Say Cheese is a growing brand, offering some of the best sheep’s milk Ontario has to offer. They service household, wholesale, and retail customers all across Ontario and credit Local Line as an important ingredient in their growth. Prior to starting, Say Cheese had three questions about gaining new customers:
- How do I find new customers?
- How do I sell new customers?
- How do I service customers once I get them?
Finding New Customers
When it came to finding new customers, Local Line helped by exposing Say Cheese to a wide variety of potential customers on the Local Line marketplace. A half-day consultation helped narrow down to the niche Say Cheese was targeting. This helped identify customers with the greatest probability of placing an order. We determined that the customers most likely to purchase were independent cheese stores and independent restaurants who promote local on their menus.
Selling to New Customers
Once Say Cheese was able to identify the right customers, they had to consider what it was going to take to sell them on their cheese. We discovered that there were three important factors that influenced a customer’s decision to order:
- Products: Was Say Cheese offering the right products? Did their products fit a chef’s menu? Were the products traceable and safe? Was the quality consistent?
- Delivery: How often were their customers going to order the cheese? Where were the customers located? What was the minimum order?
- Story: It turns out this was the most important part! Customers can market a unique story to go with high quality products, so Say Cheese had to find a way to promote her business through their story.
All of these factors are accomplished through her Local Line store. Say Cheese can inform potential customers of their products, delivery info, and share their unique story.
Servicing New Customers
Good service quickly became an important part of keeping customers. “Other than my cheese, what else do my customers need? How do I keep them happy and ordering?” Saskia learned that continuous communication is important to maintain relationships. The relationship with a customer doesn’t stop after the first meeting. It’s important to keep the customer informed of product changes, price changes, and other info that affects the relationship.
Say Cheese makes sure to send out updated product catalogs to all her customers through her Local Line store every week, effectively answering all questions her customers have about pricing, inventory, or delivery before they even need to ask. It saves her customers time and keeps them happy. Today, Say Cheese has more than 50 customers in their Local Line account!
When discussing how they use Local Line, Saskia says, “I use it as an order system; I have customers submit orders and also submit orders on behalf of them as well. This helps me track everything.” Their favourite part other than gaining new customers? The answer is simple:
“Whenever there is an issue or a question arises about how to do something on the platform, the team at Local Line is always there to take my call.”