HarvestBox: From A Dream and a Sketch, to a Brand New Venture

Last fall, Steve Sytsma came to us with a dream and a sketch, and from that moment we were all in...

Since 1946, Steve's family had been connecting with farmers to provide families with high quality meats. But as Steve saw it, the world of farming had changed and not for the better.

As more and more middlemen added cost and reduced value, he realized, "our families no longer have any idea where their meat is raised and our nation’s farmers are being pushed out of sustainable practices by industrialization."

More cost, less value.

More layers, less transparency.

More meat, less nutrition.

Meat became an industrialized product that is no longer raised by farmers to feed the body. Instead, it's sold by intermediaries to fill the body.

So armed with his dream and a napkin sketch, Steve asked Bob Karel from CQL to meet for coffee.

What ended up on that napkin sketch? A better way to eat.

The idea was simple: Connect families directly with family-owned farms, giving them an avenue to easily purchase thoughtfully raised, healthy meats. 

Steve sought out partners who were raising their animals the old-fashioned way. These farmers raise their animals naturally on a farm, not in a factory.

Unlike corporate farms today, these partner farms never feed their animals drugs, antibiotics, or GMOs. They don’t receive growth hormones, steroids, or animal byproducts.

Instead, they’re raised with care, are grass-fed and free-range, and harvested ethically.

Steve's plan was to deliver what they built their family’s reputation on, help his farm-partners be successful, and deliver the best meat available to their community.

Rallying around the big idea.

So our CQL team set into motion four teams to help realize this vision:

1. Business strategy

2. Brand & message

3. Digital marketing

4. Ecommerce development

Our business strategy team helped define the initial business economics, like price, margin, inventory, and capital investment.

Our brand team, together with our partners at Visual Hero, helped build the market targets, core messages, brand identity, packaging and collateral. One of our designers even spent a few days in a meat locker, art directing a photo shoot of raw meat.

Our digital marketing team translated the message and user journeys into an unique web and mobile experience that tells the story and simplifies the purchase.

Our ecommerce development team developed a highly tuned goLang business application to seamlessly connect the customer experience to the shipping and fulfillment system

The Results: HarvestBox

Here's what we know for sure about launching new ventures: They start with a passionate champion and a great idea.

We are honored to be alongside Steve and the entire Sytsma family as they take their 70-year-old company into the next generation.

We are proud of the design thinking that helped them realize this new venture. By being there from the beginning, we know the business strategy is solid, the user experience is tuned to the target market, and the technology platform is both scalable and elegantly simple.

But we know that our work is nothing without an amazing idea and a passionate champion.

Thank you, Steve, Laura, Doug, Andrew, and Andy. You are entrepreneurial rock stars and our farmers and families thank you for your work.

Check out the amazing stories and products at HarvestBox

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