Gavin’s Butter gives back
A lot of “really, really positive things” have happened to Gavin Carter since he took a friend’s advice and put his flavoured butters in stores.
At the Bermuda Economic Development Corporation’s 14th Annual Rocket Pitch Competition in November he walked away with a $5,000 cash prize.
Gavin’s Butter was also selected for the Forbes 30 Under 30 programme in which 30 of the world’s “innovators, game-changers and disrupters” spent a month here mentoring local businesses.
With both of those came a lot of support that helped his company to grow. Grateful, Mr Carter decided it was time to give back.
At The Garden Market he hid two vouchers inside tubs of butter: one for $50 worth of groceries, another for a bottle of wine and the winner’s choice of meat. He was thrilled when Janay Trott discovered the shopping voucher last week.
“The support that we've seen … I think it's important to recognise that. That was one of the ideas for the promotion, to give back.
“We're a for-profit business, we’re not going to give away the whole farm, but we do think that it's important that we show our appreciation for the customers that have supported us for the last year-and-a-half or so.”
He came up with a plan to “give some money back” to his customers hoping that it would also increase foot traffic in a relatively small business.
“I approached Garden Market about it and the owner, Susanne De Frias, she was excited about the idea. We have a great display on their shelves; they do an excellent job of displaying our product.”
Once everything was in place however, “some time went by” before anyone called the number he’d put on the tickets hidden inside the winning tubs.
“We started getting anxious about it because we didn't hear anything,” said Mr Carter, who had marketed the contest in the store and on social media.
“I was sitting on my couch scratching my head and thinking about what we could do to get someone to win this prize. Just as I'm thinking that, the phone rang and there was this girl on the other end saying: ‘I just opened up this package of butter and I see that I’m a winner’.”
As it turned out, Ms Trott was a huge fan and had decided to try a new flavour, Thyme and Parsley.
“She said she stood there for so long wondering which package to buy,” Mr Carter said.
Eventually, Ms Trott picked a winning tub. “She told how much she uses the product,” Mr Carter said. “How she has been using it for everything.
“So I'm extremely happy that it was someone who was already using the product; that this was a new flavour that she decided to try and that she won the prize.”
It also felt good to give back at a time when many people were suffering financially, the entrepreneur added.
“People are complaining that prices are going up. Entrepreneurs are really trying to hang on and keep their business afloat.
“It's difficult for us too, because everything's going up. And that could be everything from the price of butter to the cost of shipping in labels,” Mr Carter said.
“So we have to contend with that. On the frontline, we understand just how difficult it is.
“For the community, we're understanding that people are still trying to make ends meet; some people have got two and three jobs and they still can’t do it.
“For us, for a company that’s just starting up … we’re doing a pretty good business, but it's hard to make ends meet because it's so expensive.”
Although they have hired someone to help with merchandising, Gavin’s Butter remains a family business.
Mr Carter’s wife Tanika does most of the prep work; their son Sage helps wherever he is needed. Mr Carter, who has a full-time job with the Bermuda Fire and Rescue Service, comes up with the recipes and puts everything together.
“The choices are endless. It just depends on what I feel like – an idea in my head or something I might see,” he said.
He started the business selling the tubs on Instagram and in a couple of stores. Today they are available at grocers across the island. It has allowed him to track which flavours are bestsellers and which are not as popular.
The company’s Herb Medley, Rosemary Thyme, Just Garlic, White Wine Shallot and Honey and Garlic all “fly off the shelves”.
“We have tried to come up with a plan where we can still keep all the flavours, but we may scale back on what actually goes out to market.
“It might be where some of them go direct to consumer because some of the flavours [that aren’t working so well] people still really enjoy,” Mr Carter said.
He has a long list of ways to move the business forward but with two jobs and a family he “just doesn’t have the time”. Sleep comes only when he “gets the chance”.
“It’s just kind of evolved into this thing. If I'm not at my full-time job then I’m doing this.
“Right now we’re looking at the idea of expanding into restaurants. So I have approached a few restaurants down at the East End about using our product. So whatever that looks like I'm willing to tailor the business to include restaurants as well.
“My goal is to make Gavin’s Butter a household name. It’s out there now, but there are still some people who don’t know about the product.
“We want to build a community around Gavin’s Butter. It’s a local product. Everything is done right here in Bermuda. The community is enjoying the product.
“We want to make sure that we're doing our best to make sure we get this product across the island in whatever capacity – whether it be households, catering businesses, restaurants, whatever.”
Look for Gavin’s Butter on Instagram: gavins_butter