Riverford Organic Farmers Ltd deliver seasonal, organic produce to homes across the UK via their network of franchisees. Husband & wife team, Matthew & Sabrina Carter, purchased the Hereford & Worcester Riverford Home Delivery franchise in September 2015. Here they tell us why they chose Riverford and how their first year has been:
We chose Riverford because we desired the freedom of being self-employed, however, neither of us had run a business before so we felt that a franchise would give us the support we’d need whilst learning the ropes.
As long term customers ourselves, we felt that Riverford’s ethos of providing high quality organic food, whilst supporting local growers and producers and playing an active role in communities, was consistent with our own values and something we wanted to be a part of.
Before taking on our franchise, I (Matt) was an IT contractor whilst Sabrina was a picture editor at the media company where we both worked and met. We were both based in London and had been considering a relocation for some time. We spotted the franchise page on Riverford’s website and made an enquiry.
We’re both very active people who love the outdoors. Cycling and walking are our passions so when we saw that the Herefordshire & Worcestershire franchise was up for sale it seemed like the perfect location.
Following the application process and being approved, we had a very comprehensive week of training at Riverford’s head office, Wash Farm in South Devon. We then spent a significant amount of time with the out-going franchisee conducting work experience and getting to know the business and the area.
The biggest challenge for us initially, being in a rural territory, was finding all of our customers’ homes! Once we became familiar with our territory it all became a lot easier and we soon got to grips with the daily routines.
Our aim when first looking to run our own business was to avoid the daily monotony found in a lot of jobs and just over a year on, we feel we accomplished this. We don’t really have a ‘typical day’ at work now. Some days we are both out on deliveries, others we are at home responding to customer calls and emails and dealing with the daily office admin. When not out delivering or in the office, we are out and about at various events promoting the business.
We’re very pleased with our performance in the first year. As well as maintaining our loyal customer base, our new customer numbers have grown significantly and is currently one of the strongest, year on year, performing territories in the franchise network.
We’ve found that the most effective way to grow our business and engage with people has been to attend as many face to face events as we are able, such as local food festivals or community gatherings. This has provided a great opportunity to meet existing customers and of course, the opportunity to encourage other people to give us a try and to start regularly ordering with Riverford. As a direct result, we’ve seen a steady stream of new customers week on week. We’ve built relationships with our customers, advising them we sell more than just vegetables, which has boosted the average spend as they’ve become more familiar with the 300+ products that we sell.
Running our own business has been a challenge but one we’ve enjoyed very much. We’re lucky that we were able to choose a territory that suited our needs and lifestyle.
Relocating from London was a big decision for us, however we’ve enjoyed our time in the countryside. Working together has been great and we’ve used our individual skills to make the business work for us; Sabrina as the social media and PR whizz, whilst I’ve enjoyed the customer service side.
Despite the success and enjoyment we have experienced, we’ve recently decided to sell our business and relocate again. I plan to further my education in the field of environmental policy and Sabrina would like to find employment in the communications sector for a non-profit organisation. We feel that our business is one that somebody could further develop and take to its full potential. We hope our second relocation will also be rewarding and successful.
David & Emma Shulman are getting their lives back in balance with their Riverford Organic franchise in West & Central Hertfordshire.
Tim and Jacqui Rix bought their Riverford Organic franchise in South Buckinghamshire in 2011 and haven’t looked back.
Nick Kington is the latest franchisee to join Riverford’s network of veg box delivery teams.
Jim Harbridge talks about why he and his wife Anna chose a Riverford franchise and what his daily life as a Riverford franchisee entails.
Gareth and Gill Rossiter talk about their trajectory from a world of jets and planes to running their own Riverford Organic veg box delivery business in Dorset.
David & Josie Yems talks to us about why they started their Riverford Organic business and the day to day running of the business.
Iain and Liz Pocklington own a Riverford Home delivery business covering Darlington & the Dales.
James Negus took over Riverford Organic in Bury St Edmunds and has turned the business around.
It was while investigating the competition that Charlie Bush decided to ditch dreams of veg box supremacy and join Riverford Organic.
Paul Jardine talks about why he invested in Riverford.
Riverford Organic customers Steve and Lynn Allen decided the time had come for change and started their own Riverford Organic business.
From the RAF to his own Organic Franchise - An Interview with Chris Hayton
An Interview with Riverford Organic Franchisee, Hayley Dwyer
Matt Falkner and wife Jane re-mortgaged the family home in order to buy Riverford Organic’s Exeter veg box delivery franchise.
Chris and Holly Galley, are through to the Franchisee of the Year Awards Final.
Vanessa Cook - A Riverford Organic Franchisee Case Study
When Mary Watson and Husband Chris decided to embark on a new life in business together, they had no idea it would coincide with so many other life-changing events.
33-year-old, dad-to-be, Jim Harbridge has stepped into a new life with Riverford Organic.
Northern-based Riverford Organic franchisee, Alan McInnes, started his business in Warrington and Widnes just two years ago.
It feels good to be investing in a company that has such a strong code of ethics and isn’t all about making more money.Jo & Phil Limb, North Devon Home Delivery
Trust in the Riverford Business planning process. It may seem time consuming and complicated at the outset but is based on sound /tried and tested principles. If you follow it’s logic it'll give you a great steer and provide a solid base for achieving success.Hilary Garnham, Somerset West Home Delivery
Even during the toughest of times I don’t think I have honestly ever regretted taking on my Riverford Franchise.Jim Harbridge, Portsmouth Home Delivery