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[APPEAL] Keep The Thorny Fruit Co Alive

I've spent the last week or so completely torn in two. I've hit a financial roadblock because I tried to grow the business too fast without capital and the right cashflow. I've fallen behind...

Now I have to decide if I should close The Thorny Fruit Co business I've painstakingly built the past two and a half years as a sole trader, or keep it going...

Deep inside, I am in love with what I've created. Yes, I made plenty of rookie mistakes - including finances which stem from family trauma that leaves me in the headspace that I can't recover financially.

If you asked me exactly 3 years ago, if I ever have dreamt of becoming a durian seller, I would have cackled. I had a comfortable digital marketing job and was about to give birth to my 2nd daughter.

Little did I know, my already unravelled life would continue unravelling. Within 3 months, my daughter was born, my husband had his second heart attack and I was made redundant.

The Thorny Fruit Co idea originally began in a voluntary-run community group where I bought 400kg Australian durians in November 2018. It was fun.

Then I started buying Australian-grown mangosteens, rambutans and pomelos in bulk for people. It snowballed.

Business kept growing, and when the big-C hit last year, it accelerated. My husband lost his job. TTFC became our sole household income, yet wasn't enough.

In a short 2.5 years, business annual sales revenue hit 6-figures. My business inexperience was starting to show. The revenue and profit was not enough to grow this business to keep up with customer demand AND juggle my household expenses (two children and a mortgage) simultaneously.

I have been a stickler for building The Thorny Fruit Co into a strong reliable brand, and where possible with quality and good tasting products (in my opinion). I have developed the business into maintaining the quality & handling of the frozen durians using the hire of a weekly chilled/frozen delivery van contractor, and hired a friend to run my customer service because I was too emotional to do it myself.

In the last 8 months, I have overspent funds on

  • a 6-month hire freezer upgrade,
  • storage units to house the freezer to use as office and packing space,
  • palletised stock ordered bi-monthly to run a wholesale business in addition to the website retail,
  • hiring a bookkeeper to help me through this and learn more about how to manage business financing (it's been an expensive exercise!!), and
  • an advance order of 1000 TTFC-branded cooler bags.

However, I have not been able to retain reliable part time staff and have had to regrettably cut down on orders and deliveries to juggle family commitments and my personal health.

As such, I've fallen hugely behind on cashflow and I've come to a crossroad on whether to shut the business (declare bankruptcy), or keep going...

A big part of me does not want to close The Thorny Fruit Co. But, the lack of capital is holding my business back.

I know that TTFC has touched the lives and imaginations of many individuals and communities who have encountered me and this little business baby. I have a tiny inkling of hope that there are perhaps others out there who wants me to keep going.

I know businesses have suffered worse debt than I have, and recovered. So maybe, I can still do something about it...?

I started a GoFundMe campaign AND as a suggestion from a customer, listed out all the remaining stock I have for sale as an APPEAL to raise money to pay off my debts and help me keep the business afloat.

I am hoping that anyone out there sees value in what I do, can help me keep building the business better. Even a small $10 donation and sharing this appeal will mean the world to me.

 

1 comment

  • Hi Zona. I only discovered your business last night and was so excited, but than saddened to read about your financial difficulties. I love durians and would hate to see you close your business. I am not after money or a job. If you would like some financial expertise to help you decide what to do next, then feel free to contact me on my email and we can have a talk after that. I am based in Sydney. Good luck with everything. Regards. John

    John Lau

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