Imagine if instead of paying big bucks to market your business, you actually made money doing it. Jordan Marchant, founder of specialist desserts retailer Whip It Good, doesn’t need to imagine – he’s living it.
Jordan spoke with My Business about how he is achieving this feat, taking control of his own capital raising, and building a business around a personal mission.
Falling into business
Like many people in business, Jordan didn't plan on running his own company. It was a search for alternative options – and finding none – that led him to establish his dairy-free desserts business, Whip It Good.
“I’ve had serious health issues, so I’ve always chased food that wouldn’t upset my gut so much,” he says.
“I was very well entrenched in the Perth health scene, and well aware there were a lot of other people going through the same thing I was, looking for dairy alternatives.”
Together with his girlfriend, Jordan began making his own treats using coconut milk and other non-dairy ingredients, and selling them at a stall at Fremantle Markets. It proved to be an instant hit.
“Originally we wanted to do a bigger store in Perth, but the economy was a bit funny,” he explains.
So Jordan decided to sell the Perth-based business after just 12 months, and moved east. Originally the plan was to take the concept to New Zealand, but that didn’t quite work out.
“My partner is a Kiwi, and we thought we’d move there to be closer to her family. But we fell in love with Sydney on the way through,” he says.
Getting the business off the ground in Sydney has taken considerable capital – money that Jordan says was chewed up by the move to the other side of the country.
“We ripped through the cash we had from the sale of our previous business, so I was looking for ways to get cash coming in while the business was up and coming,” he says.
While investors can take time to onboard and may impose strict conditions on a fledgling business, Jordan opted for a different approach. He splits his days between running his business and working as an Uber driver.
In fact, when My Business called, he was out on the road conducting one of his Uber trips.
“Uber has been good. It’s roughly given me a bit under $10,000 in two months,” says Jordan.
While Jordan admits it can be difficult effectively working two jobs, the incoming revenue and flexible hours have afforded him more scope to grow Whip It Good.
Getting paid to market his business
Jordan originally began working as an Uber driver to raise start-up capital for his business. However, he now admits that “Ubering” is something he won’t walk away from entirely.
That is because he has found it a really useful means of marketing his business – an opportunity to put himself face-to-face with prospective customers as well as business contacts. And he gets paid for doing so.
“When I started, I didn’t think of it [as a marketing tool], but it’s just been great for making business connections, and every week I make a couple of contacts,” Jordan explains, adding that he used one such connection for the fit-out of his store.
“And the other day I had my first person who had been to my store, and I’ve had others that ask what I do [when driving] and they are happy to support a local business.”
Making time in a busy day
Managing one business consumes enough time on its own. So how does Jordan split his time to be an Uber driver as well?
He explains that to do so effectively, he breaks his day into segments and devotes his time to where he can be most productive.
“I work early mornings and do airport runs and trips to the CBD back and forth from the eastern suburbs,” Jordan says, noting this is a particularly busy and profitable time of day.
He then has a nap to break up the day before heading down to the shop, which opens from midday to 10:30pm.
Looking to the future
Having only begun trading in December 2016, it’s still early days for Whip It Good. But Jordan is confident he is onto a winning idea.
“We see it as such a great little brand, it’s been so well received,” he says.
“We basically want to get this first store up and running and get it strong, and that requires a lot more hours being the face of the business.
“Potentially down the track [we will look at] doing more stores.”
Business name: Whip It Good
Location: Sydney, NSW
Industry: Food retailing
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.