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How a ‘paddock to plate’ story, killer video and crowfunding launched Dad’s Oats

The video cost Dad’s Oats founders, Peter Cain and sister Alicia less than $1000, but with 15k views in 48 hours, it delivered the goods.

It was part of a product launch campaign on crowdfunding platform Pozible, which generated $19,300 – almost double their target of $10,000.

“That was the best thousand bucks we’ve ever spent,” Peter said.  “We needed momentum out of the gate and to get that you have to use video. There’s no excuse for not using video these days. As a business owner, one thing I learnt very quickly is you can have the best product ever, but you have to know how to market it,” he said.

Photo by Ali Campbell

“We had 90 people share the video in 24 hours; there was no paid advertising. We sent 30-40 emails to friends. You don’t need a lot of money and big budgets but you do need to put proper thought and planning into it. We’re talking 200-300 customers who joined the campaign and pledged the 50-60-80-dollar mark. We were worried about not delivering; in fact, we nearly didn’t do it. That’s your reputation on the line.”

The campaign helped take Dad’s Oats from idea to market in about a year. They used it to validate the idea for a new concept – ‘single origin oats’; help build their initial customer base; and fund their online shop.

The brand is now sold online via a subscription model and throughout IGAs, Toscano’s, health food stores and at farmer’s markets, with international expansion on the horizon.

The idea for Dad’s Oats came to the siblings over a bottle of wine two years ago. They reasoned if people cared about the story behind the wine, why wouldn’t they care about the story behind the oats. The oats are grown on their family farm at Natte Yallock in Victoria by their father Maurice, a fourth-generation cropping farmer, and brother Matthew, an agronomist. They use sustainable farming practices, no sprays and produce oats without the use of GMOs.

It was then that Alicia and Peter coined the term single-origin oats and hatched a plan to develop a value-added product selling the top five per cent of the oat crop. After some research they came up with the brand Dad’s Oats, in honour of their father.

“We’ve found our sweet spot in the market in people’s connection to where food comes from, and that stems from the interest in farmer’s markets and the whole ethos of more and more people wondering where their food comes from, what practices it goes through, what sprays and chemicals have been applied; if you can’t give consumers all of those answers, they‘ll go elsewhere,” Peter said.

“The customer knowing what’s happening in the pipeline is a massive trend in food from the smallest niche like us, right up to the big guys.

“They know that if you want the best product on your plate, you need to know all the steps between; it’s a key distinguisher to 99 per cent of other oats on the market from multinationals…customers don’t know where it’s from or how it got there,” he said.

“Now that people have access to better information, it help us make better decisions at a human level.”

Images courtesy of Dad’s Oats