At just 24, Carla Penn decided to leave her banking career behind to follow her food passion. Having worked for four years in private banking, Carla took a plunge and started building her own business. The result is eFarmersMarket.com.au, an online marketplace for regional Australian growers and producers. eFarmersMarket.com.au sources the finest handcrafted artisan products and delivers them straight to your doorstep.
After completing a Bachelor of Business at the University of Technology in 2008, Carla embarked on a banking career and worked in Private Banking at Credit Suisse. “I enjoyed working in a dynamic business environment which offered a range of challenges and opportunities. I always found the way financial markets operated to be fascinating and I wanted to see what is was really like,” says Carla.
After four years in banking Carla knew it was time for a career-change and resigned from Credit Suisse in late 2010. “I wanted to do something I was really passionate about. I have always felt like passion goes a long way – you are good at what you love. I love food and I am passionate about supporting Australia,” says Carla.
Considering a career as a chef, Carla says her “hallmark” moment came when shopping at the Northside Produce Markets. “My favourite producer, who I visited religiously, stopped coming to the markets. When I found out she left, I thought there has to be a better way to purchase artisan food outside of the markets and regardless of geographic location – and that is how eFarmersMarket was born!” says Carla.
From there, Carla spent her time researching her business idea to ensure it was a viable concept. “I wanted to know every detail about every business that was dedicated to sourcing and selling artisan Australian regional food and I found no one! When I realised I had found a real niche in the market, I quickly registered my business domain and began planning,” says Carla.
Six months later, in May 2011, eFarmersMarket was ready to launch, but not without its obstacles. “The biggest hurdle was and still is to this day, distribution,” says Carla. “A lot of work and co-ordination goes on in the background to ensure the food first arrives from the regional suppliers to our warehouse, and then out the doors again to the customer. It may sound simple, but in reality it is really complicated.”
eFarmersMarket.com.au officially launched on 4th May and Carla already has expansion plans in the pipeline. “I’m in the process of organising a fresh produce delivery service for every capital city in Australia,” says Carla. “This will be finalised in the next three months and we’ll be using local courier services for the fresh food delivery – so it’s just another way we’re supporting Australian businesses.”
“Further down the track I want to export Australian food products to international markets such as Asia, the UK, America and the Middle East,” says Carla. “Then I’d like to open a physical shop front in Sydney. It would be a traditional providore store that allows customers to browse, shop, dine and be educated in seminars and cooking classes about healthy eating and supporting the Australian food industry.”
Carla also recently purchased A Gift Worth Giving, an online gift hamper business specialising in elegant and unique gifts with substance. A Gift Worth Giving has been operating since 2002 and was one of the very first online gift hamper companies in Australia (www.agiftworthgiving.com.au).
For more information, please visit www.efarmersmarket.com.au.