$4 Start Up  

$4 Start Up  


Chapter 1 – $4 Start Up


Starting a company from scratch on a $4 budget is tricky business. My names Soraya Butterworth, and I’m the Owner/Director of Smoups Ltd.
This blog will follow the trials and triumphs of an interesting new startup, and how I found out first-hand why having an amazing idea doesn’t necessarily mean a big budget to make it happen.


To start your own enterprise, you don’t have to be the sharpest tool in the box, you just need to be inspired and driven. I myself am dyslexic, so writing this blog wouldn’t be possible without some help, my beautiful daughter Ebony is typing as I dictate. But I do want to empower you, so, this is my story.
When my hubby Paul and I moved to NZ we had no idea what was about to happen and how our lives would take such a dramatic turn!
We found out my so-called ‘lazy’ oldest daughter, Ebony, was in fact allergic to dairy and gluten, the cause of her tiredness and sensitive tummy.
And so, the journey began to learn how on earth to cook GF & DF food. I found that raw food was easy to start with as there was not much to it, and we would add in more cooked options as I got better at knowing what she could and could not have.
This set me on a mission to go researching online and get inspired. It was my main mission in life to educate myself, her and the whole family on healthy, wholefood living.
I learned fast that you needed a dehydrator for most things raw, I had a budget of zero so I used YouTube to help me figure out how to make your own dehydrator.
I started with a home-made dehydrator (think of a cardboard box, tin-foil & bulb!) & made my 1st batch of dairy-free, gluten-free, raw cheese… macadamia & cashew cultured nut cheese – it took 32 hours but tasted amazing!
The next idea was coconut bacon, having never opened a coconut in my life I figured all you have to do is throw it at something hard and it would open! NO THAT IS HOW YOU CRACK A KITCHEN TILE!!
After watching another YouTube video on how to open a coconut I tried my hand at coconut bacon, it was ok, but not how I liked my bacon (we were meat eaters at this time).
So, I decided to play around with it. At first it was too soft, then sometimes too sweet and sticky but over time, it started to turn out super tasty.

When experimenting with the coconut bacon, we had just moved into a new home. My birthday was coming up so we had a house party and invited a few friends round.
I’d made so much coconut bacon I figured I’d put some out for our guests, amazingly it all got eaten and when I asked people what they thought it was, they said bacon!! They were shocked when I told them what it really was.
A family friend Debbie, who was also GF due to Coeliac Disease, even said she would pay for it! I’ll always remember those words because it lit a fire in my belly. By selling this, not only do other people get a wider option of GF food but it would help me pay for Ebony’s ridiculously expensive allergy friendly food.
Being the entrepreneurial type, I set a plan in action, only I got stopped in my tracks when Paul told me there were no funds to start a business (we were surviving on his wage only at this time) and any extra cash was to buy Ebony’s GF food.
I knew if I could make money doing something that made a difference to people and the planet then surely I could make it work!
Paul passed me $4 and said, “here it’s all I have”… So I took my $4 and bought another coconut.
Next, I called a paper bag supplier and asked for a sample bag, they sent a hand full for free!
Then I printed off an old logo I paid a lot for on an old business venture that sold smoothies and soups back in the UK. This venture had failed after just 8 weeks! I figured I’d get my money worth and use it again. No remarkable story behind the name Smoups, I just liked it and never really got the chance to use it before now.
I stuck a label to a free sample bag with sellotape, filled the bag with the coconut bacon made with my extra coconut and off I went to my local health food shop. They liked it, in fact they loved it but said they had no need for it ☹
That didn’t stop me though, it only encouraged me more.  I posted in a local community business Facebook group asking if anybody would be keen to see my new product, I had a few replies and so arranged to meet them.
One store I met with called ‘The Goodness Grocer’ www.thegoodnessgrocer.co.nz said they would stock it! I explained it would look better and more professional by the time I had it ready. I asked for 2 weeks to give me time to make 10 bags. Hand chopping coconuts and using a potato peeler was bloody hard work!
I again took to Facebook looking for someone who did marketing/logo designs, I got a response from a local who said he would charge me $25 to change and  that I could pay him in a few weeks. When my first order got paid, he put me in contact with a local printer who offered to do me 1 sheet of labels for $10, it seemed to be coming together!

Next, I needed the back label to include all the nutritional info, I looked online and found a company, a very nice lady called Cathy did it for me for a few dollars and it only took 20 minutes! www.mcfoodies.co.nz That was it, I was ready to start selling.
As this all came about because of Ebony, I thought it would be a good idea for her to have some involvement hence helping me with this blog…. she is only 12 but has done a fantastic job! I also get it double-checked by one of my lovely friends, Chez, who also does a lot of our social media posts… with my dyslexia, if I was doing it you might struggle to understand!
What moral to take from this story? When you get the idea don’t try figuring out the HOW, that can come later, you just have to figure out WHY and the rest will follow! www.smoups.nz

  • Tennille murdoch
    Posted at 20:55h, 26 July Reply

    Love this! Great story! I always wondered how you got the name Smoups!!! Good on you – so inspiring!

  • Eric Pare
    Posted at 00:21h, 27 July Reply

    Well done girl your family must be very proud of you.

  • Samantha Lenik
    Posted at 10:13h, 27 July Reply

    Good on you Soraya-you are an inspiration and proof that if you believe in yourself good things will happen. Well done honey x

  • Lynda Atkins
    Posted at 11:30h, 27 July Reply

    Well done Soraya, that was really interesting reading, not knowing how to make something happen is what makes most of us quit too quickly. You have done so so well. I love your determination! Looking forward to many more blog posts.

  • Bonnie Fraser
    Posted at 11:54h, 01 August Reply

    Such an inspiring story 🙂 I know the goodness grocer too, lovely lady. She also stocked some of my Birds in Uniform artwork on cards. Hope to try your coconut bacon sometime. It could also possibly appeal to muslims who don’t eat pork

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