Oct 18, 2020
In this episode, I interview Pam
Brook, the co-founder of Brookfarm, Australia’s leading producer of gourmet
macadamia products known for its Macadamia Mueslis, Walkabout
Mixes, etc. With some friends, Pam and her husband Martin bought
4,500 acres of rainforest with Macadamia trees in beautiful Byron
Bay in 1989. Ten years later, they moved from Sydney to finally
start their business. Since no one was adding any value to
Macadamia nuts, they launched their cereal range and started
selling in the late 2000s at the Bangalow Farmers’ Market. They now
export to 12 countries and sell around Australia but choose to
never stock in Coles and Woolworths after seeing how they treated
suppliers in the 90s. Pam stayed as a part-time dentist for the
first few years and Martin would hit the road selling. In 2003,
they built their own factory on the farm and sales grew between 50%
and 100%, 10% to 12% per annum.
Sales grew 50% to 100% in the
early years, now 10% to 12% per annum. From two full-time employees
to now over 70, they funded their business from their own capital,
bank credit, and some grants without taking on investors. They grew
the business mainly from profits. Pam shares that she felt she had
succeeded when she gave up a part-time job as a dentist and went
all in, winning the Telstra Business of the Year award a few years
later. She says the hardest thing about growing a small business is
getting the finances right. The one thing she says she would tell
herself on day one of starting out is, “You can do it, and focus.
Focus, focus, focus!”
This Cast Covers:
they planted 1,500 Macadamia trees and later on decided to add
value to them which formed the start of Brookfarm.
- Leaving their jobs to go all-in with Brookfarm
and combining their skills to run it
2 full-time employees to over 70, and growing to export their
products to over 12 countries all over the world.
- Growing by more than 50% a year in their early
years while currently maintaining a 12% annual growth over the last
10 years despite challenges.
they decided to make their business a generational family
lessons she learned from being awarded the Telstra Business of the
- Successfully marketing their business by
sharing the genuineness of their brand story.
- Regularly measuring their customer loyalty
using the Net Promoter Score.
- Starting out with their own capital from
savings and using bank credit instead of bringing on
impact that the Export Market Development Grant has had on their
- Losing a customer that set their exports back
about 50% and how it taught them not to be complacent or take
anything for granted.
sales and distribution are some of the most challenging parts of
doing business in the food industry.
- Enjoying the difference that their business
makes in people’s lives.
- Hiring people who are smarter than you at what
they do, understanding them, and trusting them appropriately while
managing them well.
- Leveraging contract manufacturing to use their
machinery to a maximum and help their employees build their
importance of focus and listening for every small business
- Why a
potential employee’s attitude is critical to the success of a
- Building a kickass culture by connecting,
developing, and celebrating team members.
the only brand that adds allergens to their natural organic baby
cereal to meet the health needs of babies.
- Everything she does to achieve some work-life
- Investing in continuous learning, books,
conferences, courses, and networking that contribute to her
- Combining the passion for a business with
getting the business plan and finances right.
- Collaborating with those who can help you grow
Music from https://filmmusic.io
"Cold Funk" by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com). License: CC