Tim says he always knew Bae was a gamble as Australians had never been sold on the benefits of Korean pear.
“When creating a niche product there is a higher risk. People would say ‘you can’t educate a market’,” he says.
“People stressed how hard it is. But (I realised) if you can crack that market you get this rapid growth. It’s risk versus reward. It is risky and it is scary. But at the same time, you can get momentum and you build the brand.”
Tim says COVID-19 has not disrupted the business, although it did make him busier.
“In March 2020, all of our Victorian orders were delivered on the same day. Both Liam and I borrowed our mums’ hatch backs and made deliveries ourselves,” he says with a laugh, “I borrowed my mum’s Renault for what was supposed to be a day – I still haven’t given it back more than a year later.”
A cultural connection
After such rapid growth Tim and the team are not resting on their laurels.
Bae is looking for a brand ambassador who will embody the company’s spirit, something they are hoping to have locked in by the end of the year.
Also on the cards is a push overseas with destinations including Dubai, the United States and the United Kingdom.
While the business is thriving, Tim says it is important to remind himself of the lessons he has learned from Korean culture as a part of the company’s journey.
One of his richest experiences was meeting Sumin’s grandmother.
“It was in the Korean countryside. Her grandmother literally grows her own vegetables and lives right off a rice farm. It was very stunning; it was mind blowing and beautiful,” he says.
“The heating is done by lighting a fire in big steel cauldron to warm the floor. All the uncles and aunties - about 25 of them – were there. They were excited about having an Australian visit.”
He would return on his next trip to help Sumin’s grandmother make a year’s supply of kimchi, the famed Korean household condiment of fermented cabbage.
“We were grinding garlic until midnight.”
But he says this is what Bae is all about.
“This is more than a pink drink sachet we are going to profit from – for us, it’s about having the cultural connection.”