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TAS Country : February 24th 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011 Tasmanian Country 7 News THRIVING: Frances and Lou Mamo are always busy at Lavender House. Pictures: KAROLIN MacGREGOR SWEET TREAT: A bee makes the most of flowering lavender at Lavender House. Hobby's sweet smell of success KAROLIN MacGREGOR FRANCES and Lou Mamo's Lavender House business can be described as a hobby gone crazy. When the couple first started growing lavender in a small patch of their Rowella garden and making products in their home kitchen, they had no idea just where that would lead. Now the Mamos sell their Lavender House products across the country and are eyeing off potential export markets. A new perfumery and on-farm shop has recently been completed on the couple's property in the Tamar Valley. Mrs Mamo said the perfumery, built with the help of a State Government Tourism Development Grant, was designed to help them increase production, while at the same time improving efficiency. Most of the critical equipment in the perfumery is on wheels so it can be moved as needed. Mrs Mamo said after beginning with a very basic product range in the early 1990s, they now manufactured more than 200 products on site. ''It got to the point where we had just outgrown our other processing facility, so we decided that if we were going to keep growing the business, we needed something bigger,'' she said. A glass wall separates the on-site shop and the manufacturing area, which means visitors to Lavender House can see first-hand how the products are made. Most of the lavender used for making the products is grown on site. The Mamos have established a large collection of lavender varieties from around the world. They have about 70 different types of lavender, and plan to keep expanding to about 100 varieties. Mrs Mamo said most of their product range had been created through trial and error using their own ideas, as well as suggestions and requests from customers. ''Quite often I'll wake up in the middle of the night with an idea for something we can try,'' she said. Mr Mamo handles most of the day-to- day production and also works on perfecting the recipe for each new product. Mrs Mamo said it took about 12 months for a new product to be developed from the initial idea right through to being placed on the shelves. Being able to see the production process from the lavender plants to the shelves is one of the main drawcards for many visitors to Lavender House. ''People are more concerned about what is actually in the products they're using and what they're putting on their skin, and that's something we're very aware of,'' Mrs Mamo said. ''There does seem to be more people looking for simple homemade products.'' She said while their markets were expanding and production at the new perfumery could increase, maintaining small batch sizes and quality was a priority. ''We're not going to go out there targeting the supermarkets or anything like that,'' Mrs Mamo said. ''We want to be able to continue to use small batch sizes, because that way we can have control over the products and make sure they're very good quality all the time.'' This approach has helped the Mamos develop valuable niche markets across the country. Mrs Mamo said tailoring product types and packaging to individual markets was also vital. Most of the lavender used in the Mamos' products flowers during December and January. However, because of their extensive collection the Mamos have at least some plants flowering at most times of the year. During peak production the Mamos employ about 10 people to help out in the perfumery. Mrs Mamo said summer was also a busy time in the on-farm shop. ''We get a lot of tourists and visitors coming through, especially over the summer,'' she said. The Mamos are now looking at potential export markets in Singapore and China. Elders closure angers From Page 3 ''Farms are becoming much bigger in size but there are fewer farmers in total,'' he said. Bendeveron property owner and staunch community member Barbara Fowler said the closure of Elders store was ''a disaster for the town''. ''They are calling it the dead centre of town,'' Mrs Fowler said. She said the store had an enormous turnover with the cropping in the district and was one of Elder's better performing stores. Bendeveron is a large mixed crop- ping and livestock enterprise. Mrs Fowler's son manages the farm and her daugther-in-law is on the board of the Tasmania Farmers and Graziers Association. ''I don't think it's fair to the country,'' Mrs Fowler said. ''They ought to be ashamed.'' Rival agri-business Roberts Ltd would not comment on the closure. 55hp 4WD Rugged & Reliable COMMANDO 70hp 4WD TIGER Built to LAST and easy to USE $29,995* EX GST $32,995* INC GST COMMANDO Tractor & Loader Price $36,995* EX GST $40,695* INC GST TIGER Tractor & Loader Price P +61 (03) 9368 8888 W www.pfgaustralia.com PFG Australia Pty Ltd FREE CALL 1800 186 866 www.same-tractors.com.au Prices valid until 30th April, 2011.
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