We are Steve Ronalds and Sallie Jones, Co-Founders of Gippsland Jersey, a boutique milk brand born out of our own personal challenges during the 2016 milk crisis.
We gave birth to a milk company that we never intended to start: in a nutshell Steve had lost faith in the dairy industry when the dairy crisis happened and he wanted to ensure that he could make his farm sustainable into the future (he carries lots of debt from the purchase of the farm from his mum & dad).
Sallie’s life was tipped upside down when her entrepreneurial dairy farming dad took his own life just a few weeks before the dairy crisis.
Steve was angry and Sallie was heartbroken. Is that a good way to start a business partnership? Because Starting a business partnership is a risky venture, with the potential for things to go haywire.
When we embarked on the Gippsland Jersey journey - literally after meeting a couple of times for a coffee and loose chat over a 3 month time frame before we hit ‘go’ button. We didn't have a grand vision apart from making change in a challenging industry. Our humble aspirations were for Sallie to earn enough to cover her children's school fees to St Paul’s and for Steve to alleviate some farm debt. We're delighted to share that Sallie has achieved her goal and her children are thriving (kids are indeed a costly but rewarding investment!). Steve is steadily working towards his goal - a journey that's proving to be a bit longer than Sallie's 😂
Our partnership thrives on mutual respect, open communication, unwavering dedication, and lots of sacrifice.
Statistics indicate that 60% of startups fail within the first three years, and of those, only 50% turn a profit. It's a challenging landscape, with Australia witnessing a high failure rate in the small business sector.
Gippsland Jersey will celebrate 8 years this September and we seem to have navigated many hurdles, but each time, we've persevered thanks to the sheer grace of God.
Our business partnership flourishes because our morals and values are aligned. Without this alignment, our business would be rife with conflict. Our brand is driven by values and heart, anchored by three pillars that give purpose to all we do:
1. Ensuring fair prices for farmers.
2. Committing to social change in rural health & wellbeing and suicide prevention.
3. Promoting kindness.
These pillars, along with the invaluable and very significant support and contributions of our families (sometimes massive sacrifices!), farmers, factory staff, admin team, stockists, and loyal customers, have guided us on our journey. We are deeply grateful for your unwavering support 🙏🏻
GIPPSLAND JERSEY 2.0: INNOVATING TO CHANGE THE GAME
The Gippsland Jersey journey hasn't been smooth sailing. Just 18 months after starting up, the contract milk processor decided they wouldn’t process the milk anymore. However, this setback was turned into an opportunity by a crowdfunding campaign where people were asked to pre-purchased bottles of milk to help fund the breathing of new life into Sallie's Dad's dilapidated factory in Lakes Entrance so that the milk could be processed in house on their own terms.
THE MODERN MILKMAN/WOMAN CHANGING THE INDUSTRY
Now that the Lakes Entrance processing facility has been operating successfully for a number of years, Gippsland Jersey has been able to be innovating continuously to meet demand for delicious and fair value-added dairy products. With much energy, a creative and a collaborative spirit, the now much bigger team has been creating new products, and finding new markets. And it's paying off, with lots of growth and we now have four local dairy farming families supplying Gippsland Jersey with their delicious and premium milk.
This is just the first of many chapters to come of the Gippsland Jersey story. With an ongoing commitment to premium jersey milk products that ensures everyone in the chain is respected. From the dedicated farmers to the amazing shops selling or serving them Gippsland Jersey is not just about milk, but also about promoting a fair and sustainable industry, mental health and suicide prevention, and spreading kindness..
And did you know that jersey milk has some amazing benefits? Find out more here
What's on the horizon for 2024?
We aspire to grow.
We aim to be the go-to choice for table milk. How we'll compete with the corporate giants is still a question without a clear answer, but we're committed to giving our all and showing up every day. 💪
We're building for the future generation of dairy farmers who desire a fair and independent food system which seems to be shrinking fast - especially in QLD and NSW. It's daunting to witness the unhealthy control that large corporations have over our food. We're determined to remain proudly independent and Australian-owned.
Who's on our team?