Getting a bank account sorted
Tim says one of the most difficult leaps in the business was setting up an official business account.
“It was the hardest step … we had no idea where to start.”
He says he is still thankful to ANZ in Moonee Ponds for clearing away those fears and getting him started with everything from his company accounts to international transfers.
“We walked out saying ‘wow’. It was a cool moment seeing a Bae bank account.”
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.”
A cultural connection
After such rapid growth Tim and the team are not resting on their laurels.
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.”
Jeff Whalley is Senior Journalist at ANZ