For Jane, progress is a squiggly line. Yet finding a way forward is always her focus.
Jane's story of progress
Progress from a start-up into an international brand in the face of major setbacks has taught Golp founder Jane Templeton to be resilient – and to have a plan B.
In 2011, after years of observing Australians dote on their furry friends, Jane Templeton was inspired to develop a selection of natural dog treats good enough for humans to eat. The Melbourne animal lover sold her initial Golp lines – dog yoghurt and ice cream – through veterinary practices and pet stores.
Heartened by a positive response from pet owners, and steadily growing sales, Templeton added long-life products to the range and set her sights on progressing to mass distribution and the overseas market. Fast-forward to 2019 and Golp products are stocked in supermarkets and stores around Australia and exported to Taiwan and Canada, while the company is gearing up for a foray into China in partnership with a local marketing company. Watch the video of her story.
Turning disaster into opportunity
For Templeton, taking her business from bright idea to established international enterprise has not been without its challenges. This included the shock news, four years ago, that a contract manufacturer was pulling the pin at the worst possible time – just as Golp was preparing to sign a distribution deal with a major supermarket chain.
“Most of our orders prior to that time were by the carton, and they were looking to buy more like six pallets,” Templeton explains. “We’d been using a commercial kitchen to make our products, but we realised we needed to scale up quickly so we were in talks with a manufacturer we thought could help us.”
“At the eleventh hour, they said their tooling equipment was failing and they’d have to walk away. There we were, ready to score our biggest deal ever and about to fall flat on our faces!”
A few frantic days and sleepless nights followed, as Templeton and her husband raced to rent temporary premises, obtain the necessary food processing permits and churn out the order themselves. The blow turned out to be a blessing in disguise: Golp went on to find another manufacturer with a compatible business ethos that was able to offer keen prices and flexible product runs. It’s an enduring partnership that has helped Golp progress from boutique label to bona fide mass market brand.
The power of a plan B
Welcome to life in business, Templeton says. Disaster strikes and you deal with it – and sooner or later you realise there’s an upside, another opportunity preparing to unfold.
“Through this whole ride, I’ve learnt you just can’t panic when you hit a hurdle, even though that’s your first instinct,”
Having a plan B can be an antidote to anxiety when the going gets rough and, for Templeton, making them as Golp has advanced has become second nature. “The majority of the time, people want to work with you and help you, but sometimes unforeseen situations arise and things don’t work out,” she says. “You can’t go thinking, ‘Oh my god, that’s a disaster, I have to close the business’ when it happens."
“You always have to have something else up your sleeve, or know your industry and who or what else is out there to help you move your business forward.”
Helping a start-up onto shelves at home and abroad
Golp has been a NAB customer since inception. Leo Delponte, Senior Business Banking Manager at NAB, helped the company establish an overdraft facility to manage the cash flow variations that are part and parcel of running a young consumer goods business. While finance for new ventures can be difficult to secure without bricks and mortar security, Delponte says Templeton’s passion for her fledgling enterprise and belief in its potential were evident from the outset. Her practicality and sense of purpose also stood her in good stead.
Templeton says NAB’s support has been about more than money. As the business has progressed from start-up to international exporter, she’s made extensive use of the bank’s network of support and insights, and believes they’re a boon to new businesses in growth mode.
Advice about letters of credit helped her plot her first foray offshore, while a referral to NAB Labs resulted in her attending e-commerce trade fairs and receiving information about China’s growing online market.
“There are so many avenues to tap into, indirectly as well as directly,” Templeton says. “If you reach out, they’re there. People are really willing to help, and they seem to enjoy being part of the journey as well. Having NAB right behind us is such a great support as we move to the next stage of building our presence in China.”
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