A smokery in the heart of Wales has sold produce to over 70 countries, thanks to digital.
Award-winning Black Mountains Smokery took 4 times as many online orders in busy end to 2019. They have made the most of digital technology, having installed a VOIP telephony system and finance software to take care of the back office, while reaching out to new customers worldwide through social media. Existing customers are kept warm with email marketing, where special offers and new products are promoted.
Discover how Superfast Business Wales support has helped this family-run artisan food company stay ahead of the game.
Jonathan Carthew: Here we are at Black Mountains Smokery. Here we produce a range of smoked foods. We also have a range of Welsh produce that we put in our hampers.
Jo Carthew: We started the business in 1996 with a view to being artisan smoked food producers.
Jonathan: In this one here, you should see a load of sausage coming through.
Jo: Digital technology has just been something that has been the most amazing evolving tool for a small company like us because it's given us access to a far, far bigger market. Last year we had online orders from over 70 countries.
Jonathan: In this kiln here we've got some salmon smoking. This is hot smoked salmon. They've been cured and this is them very slowly bronzing up in there.
Jo: We contacted Superfast Business Wales really so that we could check that we were really using all the available technology that was out there. I went on a day's workshop and then they sent a consultant back to us who then did an overview of our website and saw what we had in place and they then sent a report.
Jonathan: Here we are now in the processing room and going on here at the moment we're labelling up final products here. Behind us on this side we've got two people slicing up salmon. They're making packs of 200 grams salmon, exact weight. And then we've got Naomi over there who's making up some smoked salmon pate for us.
Jo: One of the most useful tools that we use is something called Constant Contact, which is a an e-marketing package online and it enables us to send a branded newsletter and it also allows us to control our data. So we send one at the beginning of every month, it'll have a product of the month, it'll have a special offer. We're on the social media bandwagon very much so. I would say that it's very much for us a way of sharing our brand and our ideas and our sense of place. We do try to use social media to drive traffic to visit our website and also just to give a less formal image of ourselves than we do on our website maybe.
Jonathan: Here we are picking a pretty typical order. We're putting the last things in here, but the first thing to go in are to put a lump of ice in the bottom of this insulated box. We've got some smoked salmon going in, some smoked chicken. We've got a couple of duck breasts.
Jo: Now that we've got access to a strong fibre internet supply, we've been able to move over to a digital phone system. And that has made it very affordable and much more flexible. Superfast Business Wales did suggest that we needed to use one of these online cloud-based accounts packages. As a result of that, the way that we use our manpower is slightly different and we have now taken on a part time bookkeeper.
Jonathan: And we've got some sausage there, Welsh Dragon Sausage going in and some Welsh cheddar with paprika.
Jo: In 2005 with our first eCommerce website, we took 425 orders in two weeks of December. And last year we took 1,900. So it's a massive growth. I would recommend Superfast Business Wales highly. They are very much to do with where we find ourselves today.
Jonathan: I'm going to put it in there a hedgerow jelly with port and a citrus jelly as well. It goes extremely well with the chicken. And that's that one ready to go. And we'll be in someone's doorstep tomorrow morning.