A business-savvy boy has managed to grow his egg business from a small stall at a farmer’s market to being a supplier to Australia’s biggest supermarket chains – all before even being able to get a driver’s licence.
The business began when Josh Murray’s family moved to an old pine plantation in Kerrie Valley, about 70km northwest of Melbourne, in 2008 and were shocked to find the previous owner had left behind 40 hens.
Nine-year-old Josh, keen to make some pocket money, cut a deal with his parents that he would take care of the chickens if he could sell their eggs.
That was the moment when his business, Josh’s Rainbow Eggs, was born.
Josh Murray (right) started his farm-fresh egg business at just nine years old, collecting the eggs himself from 40 chickens on his parents’ farm
Josh’s business, Josh’s Rainbow Eggs, is now sold in Woolworths and Coles and made $5million in annual turnover last financial year (pictured, Josh with boxes of his eggs)
‘He looked after the chickens, he had to feed them, clean out the coop, the hens were his responsibility, he started selling to neighbours but we only had three,’ his 54-year-old mum, Tamsyn, told news.com.
However, Josh quickly noticed he had too many eggs and not enough customers, so he took his business to the local shops and a farmers market.
Ms Murray said when Josh secured a deal with the local Foodworks she realised they should dedicate their whole farm to his hens.
From there, it was all hands on deck.
Josh’s family joined in helping run the business, and the company hired its first outside worker in 2012 to help collect eggs from 1,500 chickens.
Josh’s family (above) all became involved in his business after he began supplying eggs to local stores
Josh’s Rainbow Eggs (above) are now available at more than 100 locations across Victoria
By 2013 their flock had grown to 2,000 hens.
Another two years later and their farm had 10,000 hens and eight employees.
Josh later bought a flatter 250-acre farm, just five minutes from their Kerrie Valley home, so the hens had more room to roam.
‘It is very different from the forested hills we live among. It is easier to have hens here as they have so much space to forage in,’ Josh explained.
‘The flocks are small, the hens are less stressed and can come and go from the shed easily. It is a place for them to sleep and to lay an egg.
Josh (pictured in April) now has more than 10,000 hens living on a 250 acre farm, five minutes from his Kerrie Valley home
‘Sometimes if it rains they go inside. Essentially the hens live outside.’
In 2015 Josh, then 13, decided he wanted to take his business even further and wrote a heartfelt letter to Coles explaining why they should take on his product.
He received a reply later that day inviting him and his mum to meet executives in Melbourne.
Not wanting to put all his eggs in one basket, Josh also approached Woolworths.
Both grocery giants jumped at the chance to sell his farm-fresh eggs for about $8 per dozen.
They are also sold at IGA and LaManna Supermarket, as well as Foodworks.
Josh wrote to Coles and Woolworths when he was just 13 (above) and asked to sell his products
Josh’s Rainbow Eggs are now available at Coles, Woolworths, IGA and Foodworks for about $8 per dozen (pictured, Josh with his eggs for sale at Woolworths)
In the last financial year Josh’s Rainbow Eggs were sold in more than 100 stores across Victoria and generated $5million in annual turnover.
‘When tens of thousands eat your eggs every week, that’s a lot of people,’ Ms Murray said.
In 2019 Josh was awarded the Victorian Young Achiever Award for Environmental Sustainability.
His business is run off a 3KW off-grid solar system and focuses on the wellbeing of its hens.