May 6, 2014

Tim Forrest Helps First-Time Olive Growers Create Nationally Recognized Olive Oil Brand in 18 Months.

Garden and Gun Magazine, Next Oil Barons, 2012
hen the Shaw family decided to get into olive oil retailing in 2009, they had little experience in the consumer product business. They were successful and talented farmers with a dream of getting into the retail business, something that was completely new to them. They needed someone with an all-round expertise in marketing, branding and distribution. Someone who has a great track record of delivering both the big perspective tasks (like marketing, branding, distribution) and the smaller building blocks (like labelling, UPC codes and FDA rules), and skillfully piecing them all together. They wanted to shorten the learning curve and avoid the big mistakes that new entrants can’t afford to make.

 The Shaws Get Their Task List Cut Out

"Biggest challenge was that we were starting from nothing”, says Jason Shaw. Olives had not been grown here in over 200 years. They had set their eyes on growing their domain beyond farming, and into building a successful consumer brand of olive oil.

They identified their top goals:
  1. Find their core olive oil consumers
  2. Create a differentiated product
  3. Create a brand design that demonstrates the superior GOF olive oil quality. 
“We had to prove ourselves to other growers”, says Jason. “We had no experience in trying to market our own brand”, says Shaw. He adds, “we were looking for someone who was willing to grow with us, and to offer ground-up type support.” That’s when they learned about Tim Forrest.

They did their research about Tim’s work and learned about the results he had produced for some of the largest food brands in the world. The Shaws knew they had their man: “Tim had the knowledge level and all we had to do was listen to him and put the plans into action.” He adds, "other consultants were just specific, but Tim could help with everything.”

Success Planned for and Executed Professionally
Tim Forrest Elevates Georgia Olive Oil With His Consulting and Market Management Expertise in under 18 months.

he four partners started working under Tim Forrest. They had frequent face-to-face meetings, and swiftly rolled out their plans. “[Tim] He could always be here if we needed him”, says Jason.
Tim set the best retail opportunities and distribution targets. He dropped their focus and sales efforts with big chain retailers as well as building giant case displays in the larger national chains and regional grocery chains. He applied his experience and insight for Georgia Olive Farms by getting them up to speed while avoiding the many pitfalls of navigating in new areas. Jason says, “He [Tim] laid out a marketing plan that would work from the beginning.”  

There were many Italian olive oil brands in the market, and it was important not to get lost in the crowd. The packaging design also had to be impart the distinction of a better product. Tim led the brand effort and worked with the creative agency. The market took to it and the brothers were happy about the creative outcome: local, bold, classy and at the same time international. Tim led the creation of a family of products, price points, and names that worked for their market.

Tim also tapped his network of business associates, many of whom became retail partners of the olive brand. Tim assisted obtaining favorable media exposure from Esquire Magazine, Food Channel, The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Food Network, The Olive Oil Times, Garden and Gun Magazine. Jason says, “High-end chefs were educating consumers that led to more media exposure.” Jason admits that they sold out of olive oil several times. “We are the only source for local olive oil on the entire east coast”, he adds. 

What Success Tastes Like

Georgia Olive Farms, with Tim’s help, achieved:
  • two successful olive oil products - Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil and the Chef’s Blend Extra Virgin Oil
  • brand acceptance by core market, resulting in significant cash flow in a market untainted by competition;
  • fast growth without dealing with many of the issues and problems associated with going in the wrong direction; and
  • strong public exposure.
Tim has decades of food marketing and distribution experience. He strategized, modified and simplified many processes. Georgia Olive Farms moved forward with speed while avoiding the pitfalls of navigating in new areas.

Talking about working with Tim, Jason says: “It gave you a peace of mind of having Tim to back me up. He stops what he’s doing when you need him.”

Jason says, “we've already met our short-term goals, and now we are working on our long-term goals. Tim has been a key to our success. I hope to continue to keep working with Tim as long as we do this.” Georgia Olive Farms, with Tim's guidance, completes our projects on time and on budget.

When asked about recommending Tim Forrest, Jason Shaw was quick to say: “Oh heck ya, I've recommended Tim and will continue to do so. We couldn't have done it without him.”



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