Somewhere between a mountain of cacao Paleo balls and 400 different types of WHOLEFOOD products, you’ll find Emma Smith, co-founder of THE SOURCE BULK FOODS, which is revolutionising the way Australians buy food.
how the source grew to 30 stores in less than a decade
WE FIRST STARTED IN THE HEALTH FOOD INDUSTRY IN 2007
after leaving corporate Sydney to pursue a sea change and a simpler life away from the rat race. We [Emma and husband Paul Medeiros] purchased a fruit, veggie and health food store in Mullumbimby, New South Wales. We learnt a lot about healthy living, good food, organic food and the importance of supporting local businesses and local farmers in that time.
WHEN WE OPENED OUR FIRST SOURCE STORE IN 2012,
we had no idea that it would turn out so big. Once we realised how passionate people were about it, we became quietly confident that it would work in other areas. We knew our challenges would be educating people about the bulk format and ensuring we continued to offer outstanding customer service and product knowledge.
WE ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT REDUCING WASTE AND PACKAGING.
Australians are the second-biggest producers of waste in the world, which is extremely alarming. Studies show that individually, Australians throw away approximately 200kg of packaging waste alone; that’s 1.9 million tonnes of packaging thrown away each year. We are on a drive to educate people on the environmental impact this waste has on the planet – a lot of this packaging is plastic that does not go away and eventually ends up in our oceans.
WE ENCOURAGE OUR CUSTOMERS TO BRING IN AND REFILL THEIR JARS, BAGS AND CONTAINERS.
We don’t have plastic bags and our products are sold in bulk bins with no fancy packaging or excess plastic. Customers can scoop out the amount they need for a recipe so there is also less food wastage.
YOU CAN TELL A LOT MORE ABOUT PEOPLE WHEN YOU MAKE THEM AS COMFORTABLE AS POSSIBLE.
Our store partner recruitment and team employment is more like a personal catch-up with friends over a coffee, lunch or dinner. We only bring people on board that have the same ethos, empathy and passion for what we do. If they are in it just for the money, then fundamentally it doesn’t work for anybody.
I AM OFTEN DROOLING OVER MY PHONE SCREEN.
Instagram is a fantastic platform for our industry as there is an amazing foodie and healthy lifestyle focus. The zero waste movement is also gaining momentum on social media around the world, which is really exciting to see. When we first started we grew the business purely through word of mouth and social media. I’ve always run our main social accounts and it’s something I would never give away no matter how busy I get because it’s such a pure reflection of who we are and what our brand is all about.