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Hillbillie Hogs - Kathy Rowling

TNQ Hone 2023

8 May 2023

Hillbillie Hogs - Kathy Rowling


Kathy Rowling's agricultural roots run deep. Raised in a farming environment, she developed an innate affinity for animals early in life. Her family's occupation in the cattle industry and her personal experience in a butcher shop further strengthened this bond. However, pig farming was not a tradition in her lineage. A unique opportunity in pig farming arose a few years ago when Kathy procured a few for her family. This was a decision driven by her desire for superior quality meat for her loved ones over the bore pigs found on the commercial market. Word of Kathy's pig farming quickly spread among her social circle. An associate requested a pig, followed by another friend expressing a similar interest. These informal exchanges marked the genesis of what would eventually evolve into Hillbillie Hogs.
Hillbillie Hogs, a family-owned and operated farm, has established a solid reputation for its dedicated commitment to ethically raising and selling free-range pigs. Primarily catering to rural consumers and local abattoirs, Hillbillie Hogs has cultivated strong relationships within the community, thereby bolstering its presence through a pronounced commitment to sustainable and ethical practices.

Hone Journey

As part of the Hone program, Kathy Rowling made substantial strides in developing her business model canvas and crafting an engaging pitch during the initial face-to-face sessions.

This progress set the foundation for the subsequent advancements of Hillbillie Hogs' brand throughout the far North Queensland region, with a specific focus on Dimbulah. Kathy employed a holistic approach to enhance her brand, ensuring every touchpoint was meticulously refined. A few notable improvements include the introduction of branded stickers across all produce, the construction of a new and improved website and the inception of a monthly newsletter. These strategic enhancements were designed with a dual purpose: to bolster her brand's following and to fortify customer relationships.

Kathy's new website has played a pivotal role in the scaling of her business. The site features an automated ordering system that has improved the overall customer experience. The effectiveness of this innovation was evident from the outset, with the site securing three orders within the first 48 hours of going live. To further support her scaling efforts, Kathy expanded her customer base to include custom meats.

Additionally, Kathy seized networking opportunities to build valuable connections. Her active participation in a field day and her involvement in various local markets and events, including Malanda and Mareeba markets, Eureka Creek Campdraft, Forsayth Turnout, Banging in the Basalt at Mt Surprise, Rural Women Unite in Charters Towers, and the Terrestrial Market in Georgetown, demonstrate her commitment to promoting her brand and business.

I really enjoyed working face to face with our coaches & other participants.

What's Next?

Kathy Rowling has set ambitious business objectives for the next six months, aiming to sell 70 pigs and double her annual output. To achieve these targets, she plans to further extend her marketing efforts and conduct customer interviews with her newly identified urban customer segment. The insights gained from these interviews will enable her to tailor her marketing activities effectively to reach and engage this segment.

In addition, based on recent developments in her breeding operations, Kathy is forecasting a significant increase in production. She expects to have between 200 and 220 pigs in 2024, marking a substantial expansion in her operations. To handle this increased demand, Kathy acknowledges the need to ensure her business is operationally equipped. This will involve reviewing and optimising her current processes and potentially investing in additional resources or infrastructure to support this growth.

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