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Customer story: I Love Pies print Print

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Innovation, pragmatism and sound business advice have helped two Kiwi mums build up a successful pie business. Now they are setting out to conquer the world.

When Maree Glading and Jessie Stanley came back to New Zealand from their big OE in the UK, one of the first things they looked for was a good Kiwi steak and cheese pie.

To their horror, they couldn’t find one that met their expectations.

“We bought a pie to satisfy our craving and were disappointed with the quality,” Maree says.

The solution? To craft their own version of what they thought a good pie should be. And so the ‘I Love Pies’ brand was born.

Maree and Jessie, proud owners of I Love Pies

Maree (left) and Jesse (right), proud owners of I Love Pies.

The vision from the start was to use only top-quality, wholesome ingredients – sour cream in the pastry, free range eggs, no palm oil, no artificial colours or preservatives.

“We decided we would only put into our product what we would give our children,” Maree says.

The first sales foray involved taking 100 handmade pies to the Clevedon Village Farmers Market.

The pies were snapped up within an hour, and the business was profitable in its first year.

Seven years later, sales have grown over 700%, and ‘I Love Pies’ are now sold in more than 300 stores around New Zealand. The company started exporting to Hong Kong in late 2014 and they are set to explore the Aussie market this year.

Jessie says the launch of their company coincided with the movement towards gourmet food – with MasterChef on air and the emergence of specialty food companies such as Farro Fresh.

On the downside, the start-up of their business also collided with the global financial crisis, she says.

“We were turning on the television and looking at all the news on the recession, and wondering about how crazy it was – starting a business given the economic environment. We were also both thinking about starting families at the time.”

She says one of the most important business decisions they followed from the initial stage was to seek good business advice. As a start-up business customer at ANZ, Jessie and Maree were put in touch with an ANZ Business Specialist, Brodie.

Brodie conducted an A-Z Review with them, which helped to explore their financial situation and goals. From this, they were able to expand their working capital, which was key to helping the business grow.

As they move into international markets, Jessie says their relationship with Brodie has also been invaluable in unravelling the intricacies of managing foreign exchange.

“Brodie has helped us understand currencies and how it all works. The bank has a lot of knowledge of start-ups and small businesses, and knows how to support the sector.”

Jessie says being a business start-up is tough. “You can’t imagine what you have to learn when growing a business. You have to learn when to ask for help from the experts. You have to learn ways to conduct yourself, how to tap into parts of your brain; how to trust your sense or gut feel, to know which levers to pull.

“Business is so dynamic. But we love what we’re doing; it’s definitely worth it.”

 

Thinking of growing or starting your business, and after some expert business advice? Talk to an ANZ Business Specialist today

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