In 2013 Katrina and John decided to go to Myanmar (formally known as Burma, next to Thailand) in south east Asia on their honeymoon as John’s Grandmother was Burmese. Little did they know that this trip would turn into a much bigger journey. On seeing the abundance of naturally produced crops, they decided to import sesame and peanut oil from Myanmar to the European market. With the aid of their Burmese business partner they have sourced great tasting, high quality products produced without the use of pesticides or chemicals.
Bayin’s emphasis is on being ethical, sustainable and traceable with everything they do. Something that is very important to their business is giving back to the local schools from where they source their products. For example on past trips to meet suppliers they have brought resources such as books and footballs to the school of Myin Sine Village.
Katrina and John are now in their second year of trading and are stocked on shelves in a wide variety of stores throughout Dublin such as Supervalu as well as other specialist stores all around the country in locations throughout Galway, Mullingar, Sligo, Cork, Tralee and Waterford to name but a few. (a full listing of locations can be found on their website at: http://www.bayin.ie/stockists/ )
But this success didn’t come easy….
Myanmar is a country that has been closed off to the rest of the world due to the previous military government and sanctions from the UN. These were lifted in 2012 allowing trade to Europe. However, being the first business to export from Myanmar to Europe they faced many difficulties. There was no trading route establish, transferring money became complicated, customs had little experience in processing requests and no one that could assist or give advice. But, through a lot of hard work Bayin managed to arrange the logistics through the help of Emerald Freight an Irish shipping company. They believed that once the product was in Ireland it would be clear sailing with the bottling and labeling process but they found themselves with very limited options with no oil companies willing to work with them and all of the rental kitchen the encountered being too expensive or not fully equipped. It was at this point that they came in contact with Newmarket Kitchen and began accelerating their business forward.
How have you found your experience in Newmarket kitchen?
“Newmarket provided us with a shared working environment that provided a space for our startup at a price that allowed us to be competitive in the market. As we both have full time jobs as we start to build our business Newmarket kitchen allowed us to share the space with other like minded food companies at times that suited us whilst juggling our 9 to 5 jobs and Bayin. Being a part of this shared community has helped our business to grow in different ways such as:
-Health and safety courses on offer at a reasonable rate.
-Finding a cheaper company for labels.
-Opportunities to pitch to new businesses.
-Marketing & Food Science advice from the Newmarket kitchen team.
-Met a new photographer to help with our website.
and all within a friendly atmosphere to share business ideas, advice and stories.
Bringing Bayin Sesame and Peanut oils to the shelf has been made possible through the shared working environment of Newmarket kitchen” Katrina – Co-Founder of Bayin Foods