Meet Michelle Farina, founder of dairy free and cruelty free cheese business, Noshing.

Michelle has taken Noshing from a standing start to a dairy free growth business.

Before Michelle launched Noshing, she says she knew nothing about food manufacturing, now she not only knows a lot about food manufacturing, she’s paying herself a decent wage, has moved her operation into a commercial kitchen and is preparing for scale.

Michelle launched Noshing because its purpose aligns with her ethical beliefs and because she loves to create and develop innovative cheese recipes and products for cheese lovers who can’t, or choose not to, eat dairy.

Watch this space, Noshing is a name you’ll hear more and more about in the near future.

Your business name: Noshing

How would you describe the business you are in?

Dairy free cheese making.

What do you love about your work? 

Firstly and most importantly, it aligns with my ethical beliefs. I love getting to create and develop innovative cheese recipes and products for cheese lovers who can’t or choose not to eat dairy.

I also love having my own company because that gives me the autonomy to make my own decisions.

What part of your job would you gladly give away?

As a creative, having to ‘crunch the numbers’ is a tedious task, however I do it because as a business owner, knowing the numbers is vital. Knowing what capital I have, to continue to innovate and develop new products with, helps me stay on top of my business.

If you were starting out in business again today, what piece of advice would you give your younger you?

Have a clear plan on how you’re going to scale-up from the beginning, including figuring out how you’re going to secure capital for growing the business.

Women start businesses 41% of the time to solve a problem. Sometimes this means we have a great vision but don’t have enough resources to sustain our business for the long term. Tell us what resources you started your business with eg. money saved, business premises, business partner, and how long before you started paying yourself?

I started with limited personal savings and operated from our home kitchen.

We setup a basic market stall at local farmers markets in areas where we believed our products would appeal to the local demographic to gauge the market. Once the product gained popularity, we reached out to specialty grocers to stock our products and after 12 months of continual orders we felt confident in the product to move the business to a commercial kitchen. Once we had the larger space we were able to scale up our production, which enabled me to begin taking a wage.

As you know we are passionate about women #backingthemselves. So tell us about a time in the last twelve months that you’re really proud of.

For me, 2019 was all about scalability and increasing productivity. I spend a lot of time going through costing for individual ingredients with a fine tooth comb, seeking out dairy free alternate suppliers and negotiating better pricing with existing ones. I also focused on work processes in detail to find as many areas of waste to help increase scalability and increase our margins. This has meant that not only are we able to make increased margin for each product we sell, but we are also able to make more dairy free products per week, resulting in a healthier business that I’m looking forward to scaling even further in 2020.

As we are always growing and learning, what is the one thing you would like to take time to learn more about?

I’d like to learn more about marketing and advertising, specifically how can I leverage these to help grow the business and get increased brand recognition.

The world is changing so fast and technology enables us to do so much more. We’re interested in which app you could not live without and why?

I can’t live without Quickbooks and Excel.

Turning a passion project into a successful business means whilst we love creating new and innovative products, we need to know the exact costs and labour that goes into making each product to ensure it’s going to be profitable, scalable and sustainable.

Why did you decide to become a member of the Foodpreneurs Formula®

Because it’s my first time working in the food manufacturing industry as well as running my own business, so I wanted to join a group of like-minded people to help me to become a better business owner. I was also looking for a group of people who were in a similar position as me so I could ask questions and share challenges.

I like that the training materials and interviews are tailored to the type of industry that I am operating in.

We love to celebrate our successes. Can you give us an example of how joining the Foodpreneurs Formula has positively impacted your business? 

It’s given me the resources to know the important parts of my business to focus on in creating a successful food business. Using the templates provided in the membership area along with the training resources has helped me to define and establish a sustainable business model.

Thank you Michelle.

Want to read more about another successful member? Check out our ‘What’s Cooking’ interview with health tonic producer, Sophie Todd, founder Mrs Toddy’s Tonic.