“Never stop learning”. It’s a mantra that we carry into every day at FFMM. We have to. We’re totally self-taught. It would be arrogant and stupid to think there wasn’t room to grow. One of the ways we improve is to travel. By linking up with like-minded people from across the world, we’re able to meet colleagues who have been in the game for a hell of a lot longer than us. Spending time with people - and brands - that we have admired from a distance allows us to borrow ideas while teaching us two things:
- We’re doing fine. We can always push for more, of course, but we are on the right track.
- Cape Town is tiny. Like, teeny tiny. As hard as we work to improve the brand, the product and the service we cannot change the fact that we are fishing in a very small pond.
Point 1 leaves us excited. We get inspired. We get pumped. We brainstorm ideas. Notebooks get filled with black scribbles.
That’s the easy part.
Point 2 leaves us a little bit demoralised. If the market is so small, why are we doing this? Will we crack it? Is there light at the end of the tunnel?
Obviously, we believe the answer is yes.
The trick is to filter through all of those ideas and make them relevant. In South Africa, there is no high street. People aren’t walking from home to stop in at the local greengrocer, the baker and the butcher. South Africans are getting in a car and driving to a shopping mall. That’s the truth. That's how we shop. We were recently lucky enough to spend some time at some of the best butcheries in the world. Literally. We hung out at the iconic Victor Churchill, as well as Meatsmith. Both in Australia, both with a very different shopping culture to back home. Likewise, one of our crew has been working his way through places like White Gold, The Meat Hook, Dickson’s and Fleisher’s. These are New York institutions. With all of the lessons learnt, coming up with ideas is not the challenge. It’s finding a way to introduce them to South Africa.
For us, that means more stores. Choosing the location has become more important than ever and our strategy now is to take “inconvenience” off the table as an excuse. It’s with that thought process that we are able to finally announce that we will be opening a store inside the Gardens Centre by the middle of July. We see it as the perfect neighbourhood centre, where we are still able to interact personally with customers. Yes, you can pop in to buy your weekly eggs and a few chicken thighs but you can also ask us to slice you off a piece of porchetta. You could buy some mince for a weeknight meal but you could grab a prime rib roast for the dinner you’re cooking your boss. This site ticks all of those boxes.
We believe, more than ever, in ourselves. Our brand can stand toe-to-toe with butcheries overseas. We’ve seen that. The trick, now, is to get the message out there even stronger. We need more people asking more questions. We need more people refusing to accept the state of affairs within the meat industry. We need mavericks and we need innovators. We need to push back, together. We hope Gardens gives you a platform to do this, by providing a CONVENIENT alternative to commercially farmed meat.
Thank you to all the incredible butchers who continue to inspire us from around the world. You guys have set the bar and we’ll continue to chase you.