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North Canterbury milk lovers are rejoicing at the re-opening of Ohoka-based ethical dairy operation, Nature Matters Milk Company.
After a month-long hiatus due to a bottling equipment upgrade, the company has resumed production and revealed a new brand name: Happy Cow Milk Co.
“We’d cobbled the old brand together ourselves,” explains owner Glen Herud. “I realised that we needed to centralise our message so I thought ‘let’s do it properly, let’s get our message right’.”
He handed the project to Christchurch branding and design agency, McCarthy, who came up with the new name, logo and promotional designs. “McCarthy came up with the name themselves,” explains Glen. “They picked up on the fact that everyone referred to us as ‘the people with the happy cows’, so that’s what we have become.”
“When we started we didn’t know what it was that people wanted from us; whether it was about the animal welfare, the environment or the taste of the milk. We needed someone to identify the core reasons people buy from us, and centralise that message.”
Despite the name change, Happy Cow Milk Co’s business model remains exactly the same: small-scale, sustainable and humane milk production packaged in reusable containers.
“Nothing has changed,” says Glen, whose commitment to quality was the reason behind the difficult decision to halt production for a month.
“We outgrew our old equipment. The changeover to the new equipment was supposed to be seamless but it’s been a nightmare! Rather than try to put quick-fixes in place and end up giving really bad service to everyone, we decided to call it quits and do it properly.
“You take a big hit when you stop for a month. Just because your production stops, doesn’t mean your costs disappear. I spent the first two weeks just trying to pay bills! But we’ve managed to carry on.”
The business, which launched in February 2015 with 12 cows, is growing at 130% per year. They now milk 70-80 cows at a time and supply their milk to over 30 cafes, retail outlets and farmers’ markets throughout Christchurch and North Canterbury. Soon, their milk will be on the shelves in local New World supermarkets and Raeward Fresh.
“We’ll see how things go, but we’d like to keep expanding,” says Glen.
Find out more about what Happy Cow Milk Co are up to via their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/happycowmilkco