Posted: 14/01/2022

Minskip Farm Shop’s secrets to Farm Retail Awards success

Ben and Emma Mosey have cracked the farm shop business, thanks to their strong proposition and clever branding.

Ben and Emma Mosey have cracked the farm shop business, thanks to their strong proposition and clever branding.

It might seem inconceivable that the cornerstone of a £1.6m retail business could be something as basic as eggs, but this Yorkshire farm shop knows what it does well and maximises it.

When husband-and-wife duo Ben and Emma Mosey took over the 16-hectare egg farm and farm shop in 2017 after the previous owners retired, they were concerned that its niche focus might be a disadvantage.

However, in the five years that have followed, they have found that an emphasis on free-range eggs has proved to be a strength rather than a limitation. 

“The consumer likes to know what you are good at. The number of people who come in here for a box of eggs and then bring a basket full of other items to the till is unbelievable,” says Emma Mosey, pictured far right. 

But it’s not just a case of selling box after box of eggs. The “show-stopping” fresh fruit & veg display that greets customers as they enter the shop is another big draw. 

“We grow a lot of produce in our market garden and our fruit & veg display is a mountain of colour and freshness,” says Mosey. “I think it is an evolutionary thing. We see bright colours and we want to eat them.” 

The couple has also been smart in how they have capitalised on their USP, from their branding strategy to the way they have staked their claim as the world’s first egg restaurant on a working farm. 

The business has two brands – Minskip Farm Shop and Yolk Farm. In the wrong hands, this could result in confusion but the way the brands interact with one another and engage different audiences amounts to a savvy marketing strategy. 

Yolk Farm is the umbrella brand for the business. Mosey adds: “It’s centred around the eggs and is all about fun and learning about farming. It’s modern and very instagrammable, reaching a younger audience.” 

Minskip Farm Shop, meanwhile, represents values that engage an older demographic of customers who tend to visit the shop. 

Both brands have separate social media accounts so that messaging can be audience-specific. 

She says the strong branding they have created also helps when it comes to recruiting and retaining staff. “I think they really buy into the brand and what it stands for.”

Managing a team is something Emma and Ben have had to get used to fairly quickly, having expanded rapidly from employing a few members of staff five years ago to a team of 35 today. Fortunately, people management is something else they seem to do well.

The FRA judges described their focus on staff development as “outstanding”, illustrated by the number of staff members who started in junior roles and have worked their way up. Both the front-of-house manager and the shop manager started as shop assistants, for example. The Moseys take a meritocratic approach to progression. If people go “above and beyond”, that will be recognised and rewarded, and they give staff plenty of autonomy.

“If we are breathing down their necks they can’t do their jobs properly,” says Emma Mosey. We give them direction where they need it, but we give them as much autonomy as possible.”

With turnover on track to top £1.6m this year (versus £300,000 in 2019 and £1m in 2020), the owners have clearly cracked retail. Not even COVID put a spanner in this trajectory. Mosey says that the pandemic has had a positive effect on the business, with the farm shop four times as busy as it was previously. But that’s not to say they are immune from the challenges that face retailers across the board.

At present, Mosey says they are honing their margins and staffing costs, looking at high- and low-performing products and wastage, in an attempt to maximise profits. In terms of future plans, Emma says the business is “at a crossroads”. 

“We have achieved a lot of what we set out to, so our next stop is potential expansion of the shop and café,” she says.

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