A Local women worm farmer says her only means of staying connected to the world – apart from word of mouth – is via the web. Esther Marina Bourke-Wright says she previously used the Yellow Pages to advertise her products and services. But, since starting her worm farm business nine years ago, Bourke-Wright had to find other means of advertising. “But that was then, and nobody looks in the Yellow Pages any more. These days, if you are looking for a particular service, you Google it. Everybody Google’s everything. That’s why it is important to have a good website. For me, my Eco Worm Farms site is my only means of connection to the outside world, apart from word of mouth. It sells the product” And, at 67 arrears old, she is living proof that small business success is not about how old or young you are, or about the type of business that you launch. She attributes the success of Eco Worm Farms to “knowledge, after sales service, and a good website.” “I started Eco Worm Farms nine years ago and it is still run from my home. What started out as a hobby is now a self sustaining business that is till growing by the day,” says Bourke-Wright who employs two full time staff to help her. A self confessed “encyclopaedia of worms,” Bourke-Wrights’s business sells compost worms which live off kitchen waste and in turn produce environmentally friendly overcomplicate (worm compost) and vermitea (liquid fertsisler) which will not burn plants. In addition, she also sells a variety of worm “farms” ranging in size from starter kits to those the size of a pool table. Her clients include game reserves, shopping centres and hotels, among others. “I eat, sleep and dream worms” says 67 year old Bourke-Wright from Cape Town. Quite an unusual confession – unless you actually own a small business farming with worms, and love doing it. Bourke-Wright has always has always had Green fingers which led her to obtaining a diploma in horticulture. She now has 35 years of horticulture and landscaping experience behind her and it is this wealth of know how that she has brought into her business. “ Through my knowledge and previous experience, I saw that there was a need for worm farms. I know and understand my product inside out, I continue to learn to this day and I enjoy passing on what I have learned. To Bourke-Wright, personal after sales service is of the utmost importance. “ Following up after selling a product and making sure that I am available to talk to my customers, is just as important as making a sale,” She says. The third factor that Bourke-Wright deems as an integral to her success is having an effective website. “I’m not very computer literate, so I contacted Webafrica (a one stop web shop) to set-up my site, which includes a monthly analytic report so that I can keep track of the demographics of my visitors, as well as which pages are the most popular. I also regularly optimise my site in line with this feedback.”Small Business Connect — June 2015
Thank you so much for delivering our beautiful shiny new worm farm. The improved design lid is a triumph!
Thank you for the most wonderful and comprehensive lecture which you a guy’s gave us. BB Ndlovu was more than enthralled by the whole story, as indeed were we. We are all now so well versed in how to look after these amazing little critters – Nature is just phenomenal.
Nothing to eat that we would not eat ourselves although I must confess I have never been particularly partial to coffee grounds or for that matter egg boxes. Your enthusiasm and dedication is more than seductive – I mean who could not fall passionately in love with these “children” in one’s care having listened to you waxing lyrical.
The difference that the tea and the castings have made to our garden is beyond impressive, so happy about our plants that I feel tempted to start downing the magic potion myself.
Thank you for your interest and dedication to what quite obviously is your greatest passion.
It is much appreciated!
Penny DobiePenny Dobie
I would like to thank you very very much for your helpfulness whether I phone you or whether I arrive on your doorstep. You always make me feel more than welcome.
Your abounding knowledge is incredible. The fact that you share it so willingly with any of your customers is such a joy. No question seems too much for you to answer. You explain with intense
Passion and make even the beginners in us as worm farmers feel confident that we can do this. You always offer a follow up or even several without any form of pressure.
Its thanks to you and your sharing of years of experience and knowledge that i have succeeded in owning 2 worm farms and enjoying the many benefits of worm tea and compost
For my garden. Thank you for always being available and so helpful. I wish you many blessings.
Hope to see you soon.Hilde Lotter