Customer Stories

Misfit Garden is rescued from their ‘whiteboard nightmare’ (video)

“Upstock has been a godsend. I was like, ‘Oh my God, it exists. Thank God!’ And so it's literally been like the perfect answer to the problems that we had.”

When gourmet baby vegetables have an awkward growth spurt and three-legged carrots don’t make the grade Misfit Garden is ready to step in and find the perfect match between growers, veggie box customers and restaurants.

The Taupō based produce rescuers started out in 2020 and like a bolting coriander plant, its growth has been unstoppable. Founder and Chief Veggie Rescuer, Jen Long, says she was looking for a solution to take the business forward to replace their main ordering tool – a gigantic ‘whiteboard nightmare’ – which couldn’t keep up. 

“The reason we found Upstock was because I started thinking, ‘there must be an easier way for this. There must be an online ordering system that we can use, that we can maybe create’. So I started trying to work out if we could make our own app."

Luckily two weeks into the process of trying to find app developers Misfit Garden were rescued themselves.

“Suddenly on Instagram popped up Upstock and I was like, this sounds really good.  And it automatically synced in all of the products from Xero that we already had. And it was literally working within like 24 hours. It was, it was amazing. It was really good. And it's just like literally fixed all the problems.

Moving their orders off the whiteboard and over to Upstock couldn’t have been easier, says Jen.

“Upstock has been a godsend. The integration with Xero from an initial set-up point of view was amazing. It meant I didn't have to load any products. They were there instantly with our prices.” 

Jen also points out how it's been great for new customer growth.

"We've onboarded maybe four or five new restaurants in the last week. It's really easy to go in and show them the stock list and say 'Look, download the app, and you're ordering instantly'."

With existing customers it Upstock has also boosted their sales.

"It's definitely helped us sell more as well because they can see what produce we have available. We can also post on our newsfeeds, our specials, so if we've got a glut or an excess of jalapenos one day, then we can let restaurants know by posting it on the newsfeed."

It’s also made managing staff easier too. 

“Upstock’s so easy for our part-time workers to pick up without training. They just come in, filter things not shipped yet. And then they highlight them all and click print. It's literally that easy.”

More from our chat with Jen 

How did you get started selling Misfit veggies?

We (Jen and business partner Sofia) were actually made redundant in the very first lockdown and were looking for something to fill our time. We ended up speaking to a few farmers, one of which sold baby vegetables to fine-dining restaurants. And at that point, obviously, they couldn't sell anything because everything was shut. And then when things started opening again, all the baby veg were over spec and too big to sell. So it started off really small, basically just at the Taupō farmer's market with a single trestle table and it just grew from there. It's not always just the three-legged carrots and the funny-shaped stuff. It's usually helping farmers shift that excess stock and preventing it from going to waste in the future. We'll chat to farmers and they'll say, “Oh my god, I've got a thousand broccolis that I need to pick now that the sun's kicked off”, and then they'll harvest it for us and ready for our customers that week.

What are your favourite features on Upstock?

The integration with Xero is amazing. And as time has gone on, we’ve realised that having the packing slips is really handy too. So you can print out your packing slips and they've got little tick boxes. So even if it's not one of us that is regularly doing the wholesale side of things and we've got someone helping one day per week, it's as easy as... log in, print the orders that haven't been shipped yet, and then they can just pack and tick as they go. Every part of it is just great. 

How have the Upstock team supported you through getting set up?

We actually gave the Upstock team feedback that we’d love a logo on packing slips, which didn't exist before and now suddenly it's there. The guys on the team, if we've ever had any feedback or ideas and we've given them to them, they've been really quick in doing them straight away.

What do you love about your job?

To be honest, I just love fruit and vegetables. I love the fact that you can put something in the ground and you wait six weeks, then you've got this thing that has harnessed water and energy from the sun and suddenly it's there. I think it's magic. And for our customers, they always say the most exciting thing is opening the box when it arrives at the front doorstep because it's like Christmas once a week. And it's like that for us every Monday, because we obviously chat to farmers to find the produce, but we don't quite know what's going to arrive until a truck turns up at 3 a.m. And so it's like Christmas once a week for us too. It's just really, really cool. I love every part of it.

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