Cheese Therapy launches Artisans Bend
Eighteen months after coming to the rescue of Aussie cheesemakers, Cheese Therapy has launched Artisans Bend. The new online marketplace aims to help small food producers and farmers around the country who are struggling due to the pandemic.
In 2020, the online gourmet cheese hamper business recorded an astonishing 2400 percent growth year on year, selling two years’ worth of cheese in one month during the height of lockdown. Cheese Therapy saved the Milawa Cheese Company after the bushfires and went on to support a further 17 cheesemakers during the pandemic, including Apostle Whey Cheese in Victoria, which recorded 52 percent sales growth last financial year.
A new era for Aussie food
Cheese Therapy co-founders Sam Penny and Helen Shadforth say they’ve since been inundated with requests from gourmet food producers, winemakers, coffee growers and other small businesses wanting help to showcase their products. In response, they’ve created Artisans Bend, a food equivalent of Etsy. The online marketplace will officially launch in September, with more than 70 producers already asking to come on board.
“We’re so excited to launch this new ‘Etsy’-style online collective for rural and regional food, wine, coffee, condiments and artisan producers,” Penny says. “Cheese Therapy proved to be a lifeline for cheesemakers; now we’re using our experience, infrastructure and marketing knowledge to launch a new era in Australia’s online food industry.”
A one-stop shop
Artisans Bend will be a one-stop shopping destination where Australians get the chance to learn about and support local producers from across the country, and where our talented artisans can promote their produce and share their passions and their stories.
“Cheese Therapy is a family-run business, and we know that most artisan producers are small mum-and-dad businesses,” Penny says. “So Artisans Bend is a way for us to help mentor these producers and find a market for their products.”
Artisans Bend offers new hope to our traditional makers, many of whom are from small communities that have been heavily impacted by bushfires and COVID. Artisans in rural and regional areas rely heavily on the tourist trade. With borders closed, this has cut off a large part of their income. This new online destination gives these small producers the opportunity to transact with food lovers across the nation. All in the one marketplace.
Businesses helped by Cheese Therapy
Kristina Kucan lost her construction job during last year’s pandemic and began making sourdough lavosh crackers in her kitchen as a hobby. Cheese Therapy created a supply chain for Kucan, who now owns her own small business. Now, 130 retail stores stock her lavosh crackers. Kucan expects to be selling 12,000 crackers a month by Christmas.
Julian and Dianne Bensen had previously struggled to sell their Apostle Whey cheeses beyond their cellar door in Victoria. After seeing a news story about Cheese Therapy, they reached out to Penny. Cheese Therapy has been selling their cheeses ever since. Now, their products are sold all over Australia. Sales growth last financial year was up 52 percent.
Tarago River Cheese has completely changed its business strategy after losing all of its airline contracts as well as a large amount of foodservice sales due to COVID-19. After partnering with Cheese Therapy, demand for Tarago River Cheese has risen by eight percent. This has allowed them to increase and expand their product range.
For more on Artisans Bend and how small producers can join, head to the website.