Continuing with our Back Stories series, Foodie Shots sat down with one of our very first clients, Kylie, from GF Oats Australia to learn about her food journey, and the practical passion behind her products.
Becoming Gloriously Free
Kylie is a Central Queensland girl, whose kids all had food intolerances. When you’re almost an hour from the closest major town you’re naturally prone to being pretty self-sufficient. But when you’re also feeding a family, including a husband, who can’t eat what regular people do, you develop a whole new level of creative cooking. This is what Kylie did.
In the early days she was blending her own flours so she could avoid the gluten and other nasties her family couldn’t have, while still giving them baked goodies they loved. Realising in 2000 just how many others needed great gluten free flours, she turned these mixes into a business and started selling online and in health food stores.
It wasn’t until 2007 that Kylie discovered the secret that would lead to her inevitable success.
“…I started getting …emails about had I heard of these gluten free oats. And I went ‘are oats gluten free?’ I didn’t think they were.”
After plenty of research, and the discovery of a family in Wyoming in the USA who had developed a project to learn about the gluten-free nature of oats, Kylie imported her first pallet of product…and almost immediately was met with opposition. In fact the product hadn’t even made it through customs when she started receiving calls from Gluten Free groups telling her that her oats couldn’t be sold in Australia as a gluten free product.
Back to the research, and she discovered the groups were right. Due to a labelling law, her oats, even in their gloriously gluten free state cannot be labelled as gluten free in Australia. What she also discovered was that while oats do contain a protein called Avenin, studies have found they are in fact gluten friendly.
Because Kylie believes in honesty and integrity above all else, and because she wanted her brand to represent this strong resolve of truth, they steered away from the term gluten free, and instead label their brand as Gloriously Free Oats Australia. This also helps to represent all the things that GF Oats was free of, including refined sugar, wheat, and soy. Being free of these nasties make them a great alternative to the GMO, processed sugar-heavy soy and corn products that seem to dominate the healthy eating options.
From a simple beginning of a mum’s goal to provide better food for her family, Kylie and her husband have built GF Oats Australia into a real contender in the alternative foods market. But not without a lot of hard work. As recently as 2018 they were both still working extra jobs on the side to supplement the business.
Building a Glorious Brand
Kylie eventually moved into running the business full time. But they still had plenty of hard work moving from a backyard business to sharing a shed with another business while dealing with 20-foot containers. Since then they’ve found a base out at Highfields where they have their own commercial space, and just in time it seems.
In the middle of last year, while many businesses were facing the uncertainty of remaining viable with a world-wide pandemic, GF Oats Australia was geared for a positive year. What they weren’t prepared for was the sheer uptake in buyers due to panic buying and lockdown baking.
While there was still a struggle with supply issues, the trust built through honest branding and genuine customer relationships meant customers kept coming back. Quality marketing and, of course, incredible images of the product, meant the product was popular both online and in-store.
Gloriously Branded = Gloriously Growing
The constant growth and success of the brand Kylie credits to both great timing and great business decisions. One of these decisions was working with Foodie Shots.
“When I first reached out to you…I had totally underestimated how much those images would mean to our brand.” Kylie remembers of first using Foodie Shots.
From seeing the value in great images, GF Oats Australia signed up for our monthly subscription, which means new images every month. She uses these for her socials, sends lifestyle shots to distributors, and uses them throughout the promos on her website.
“The problem is we’ve set ourselves a standard now…people connect with those images. They reshare them on social media. So you may have paid fifty bucks for an image, but that’s negligible.”
That’s the kind of advertising Kylie says she can’t buy. It’s a skill she can outsource to someone who she trusts, and know that the collaboration will help build her brand.
With such great customer growth, GF Oats Australia took on a second warehouse and have just recently negotiated a third. The growth has also allowed Kylie to focus more on the part of the business she loves the most—the product development.
Leaving a Glorious Legacy
Outside of creating an honest and healthy brand, Kylie has always had the desire to leave a legacy. One way she’s achieving this is by helping to create the very first gluten free oats to be grown in Australia.
Since 2016, Kylie has been learning and working with Australian farmers to find a way of producing gluten free oats here in Australia. This is tricky business, because the Australian food standards are some of the strictest in the world. But she’s done it! In fact, just last month the GF Oats Australia blog could finally announce that they would soon be launching Gluten Free Oats Australia.
This announcement has been a long time coming, but it is especially exciting because it’s main focus will be selling Australian-grown gluten free oats to the world. What a legacy! Creating a new industry within agriculture means so many things, not the least of which promotion of incredible Australian product internationally.
Gluten Free Oats Australia isn’t the only Legacy Kylie has created through GF Oats Australia, though. The GF Oats Anzac biscuits are not only delicious, but since 2019, they’re also an official supporter of Legacy. This is especially touching for Foodie Shots. As a military family, we love that their choice of charity supports such an important cause.
If you’d like to help Gloriously Free Oats Australia grow their legacy of support, or simply need some healthy and delicious oats, check out their shop here. Don’t forget to check out their incredible pack shots either, proudly produced by yours truly for Kylie and her incredible brand.