Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 24th 2015 Contents 5
Friday, April 24, 2015 • Issue 177
When David Thomas and Rachael Ren-
nie decided to start up their online com-
pany Market Movers in 2000, they
became pioneers, for they were one of the
first online businesses in the country.
"I used to work in the bank and that's
where the idea started because I used to
bring fresh chive and fish to sell to co-work-
ers, and people appreciated that because it
was one less thing for them to do on a Sat-
urday morning. So the idea to bring fresh
produce to offices is where the idea
started," said Thomas.
Initially Thomas worked with orders he
tallied on a spreadsheet. Rachael, who re-
cently returned from studying in the USA,
asked him to consider taking the business
online to escape the complications of paper-
work. At the time this was a relatively new
concept with most online businesses at the
time being fete photography sites and such.
"Taking the business online allowed us to
move away from the brick and mortar
model, so we didn't need to have an outlet,"
Agriculture wasn't a natural choice for
Thomas as he came from an academic
background (hence his former bank job).
However, after ten years there, the monot-
ony proved unbearable for him as he desired
a way to earn money while enjoying fewer
restrictions. So, as he was originally from
Las Cuevas, he decided to get himself a
boat and become a fisherman for no other
reason than it made sense to him at the
time...it didn't work out.
"I envisioned a freer lifestyle for myself.
Just the drive to Las Cuevas on an evening
to get fish, or visits to the garden and mar-
ket were things that made me feel more
comfortable than working at the bank. To
me it was doing something different every-
day and the constant change in scenery
that made it worthwhile and fulfilling to
me," added Thomas.
"There is a demand by fresh, low spray
produce in Trinidad. Our clientele consists of
more discerning buyers interested in natu-
rally produced food. So when selecting
fruits and vegetables we look for either no
spray, low spray or pesticide free. We don't
like to use the word organic because it's a
term used loosely here because there is
nothing in place to certify or regulate that
process. We push as much locally produced
stuff like fruits, vegetables, yoghurts,
cheese, free range eggs, full cream cow and
goat milk, so we try to keep things as fresh
and unprocessed as possible. That is our
Forming networks of farmers and manufac-
turers is key to the success of the business.
"We try to be involved in different groups
like Farmer's Market to align ourselves with
the right people. We're here to provide ac-
cess to the consumer and the producer. So
if a farmer has good produce and can't sell
in the market because people won't appreci-
ate the quality of let's say, tomatoes that
they have, they know they can come to us
as we have access to a more discerning cus-
tomer who will be more appreciative of food
that was created with less chemicals. So
that's we are about."
"We are just about to launch a product.
We're doing frozen fruit, so that will be our
signature product. We're geared towards
the local and regional market and intend to
export local fruits like mangoes, paw-paw
etc. We intend to set ourselves apart with
not only the fruit but with our packaging
and presentation, so that's where we hope
to stand out.
"Plus, we work closely with greenhouse
farmers because they're stuck in a weird sit-
uation where they produce a superior prod-
uct but when they hit the general market
they get stuck with regular prices. These
peppers have a shelf life of up to three
weeks, not because it was over sprayed on
anything like that, they were simply allowed
to mature naturally in an environment free
Focusing on the business aspect of things
has taken Thomas and Rennie out of the
garden and off the road for at least for a
while. They now use driving services to get
the stuff out there. Though this has proven
to be hugely effective in terms of timeliness,
it has taken away the one on one relation-
ships that they once enjoyed with cus-
tomers, but they still make the time to
make follow up calls to ensure that every-
one is satisfied.
"At first we wanted grand things and
when we presented our business plan finan-
ciers went through it with a fine tooth comb
and brought it down to the start up basics.
Separating your needs from your wants is
crucial to success in starting and sustaining
a business. Start with satisfying the needs
of the customer first. It was something that
we learned and carried through since we
first started. Would you believe when we
first approached banks for financing, our
business idea seemed unfeasible, even
funny to them? The idea of selling produce
on the internet was laughable to them;
loans officers were actually laughing at us.
Now they're offering us overdrafts."
(Thomas's smile was priceless.)
• To find them, visit their website online at
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