Making organic eggs 'Pozible'

29 Sep, 2014 02:00 AM
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Madelaine Scott of Madelaine's Eggs.
Not someone to stand around while a dream slipped through her fingers, she got to work
Madelaine Scott of Madelaine's Eggs.

WHAT'S a 19-year-old to do when she has a burgeoning business but no financial history on which to base a loan for expansion? Madelaine Scott went crowdfunding.

Ms Scott entered the organic egg business when she was aged nine, with four hens. By early 2014, she had 900 hens and a thriving business, Madelaine’s Eggs, on her parents’ farm at Clarkefield, Victoria.

She was also working 10 hours a day, seven days a week, packing egg orders by hand.

Her ambition was to order a machine from the United States that washed, candled and packed the eggs for her, leaving her free to expand her flock. The problem: she was 19, and the machine cost $60,000.

But after seeing a Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) talk by musician Amanda Palmer, Ms Scott decided to try crowdfunding.

Amanda Palmer raised $1.2 million to produce an album through the US crowdfunding site Kickstarter; why not try raising $60,000 to produce eggs?

It was far more work than she realised, Ms Scott said. It took her six months to produce a pitch video and a catalogue of rewards for contributors before she launched on the crowdfunding site Pozible.

The funds trickled in, but then stalled. “Not a cent for 10 days,” Ms Scott said.

Not someone to stand around while a dream slipped through her fingers, she got to work, hitting the phone to newspapers and television stations so they would give her project some exposure.

The result: her $60,000 target was oversubscribed by about $7000. Counting transfer fees and other things she hadn’t factored in, $67,000 was almost exactly the price of the machine.

The money was terrific, but Ms Scott said she may have gained even more value in marketing - which has reinforced her need for automation.

The final assembly on the machine was recently done in the US. Ms Scott has already grown her flock to 1600 birds by taking on a part-time packer, but when the machine arrives and is in full operation later in the year, she will add another 1000 birds.

“I’m finally filling all my orders,” she said.

FarmOnline
Matthew Cawood

Matthew Cawood

is the national science and environment writer for Fairfax Agricultural Media
Date: Newest first | Oldest first

READER COMMENTS

Deregul8
29/09/2014 7:21:00 AM

What a great story! Not enough young ones looking at the plethora of opportunities available in agriculture. Congratulations Madelaine. Keep up the great work and more importantly you will provide inspiration to lots of other young country kids who face the temptation to drift to the city.
Maureen Coffee
2/10/2014 7:27:43 PM

"... pitch video and a catalogue of rewards ..." This crowdfunding actually is not a "something for nothing" thing like e.g. in panhandling. Many crowdfunders stunmble because they know what they want and what they want if for, but then have to come up with traits that are not normally found in "geeks", "nerds" or anyone who is just "minding their own business". Crowdfunders like her should probably get together to train others to follow in their footsteps.

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