Fiona started her business journey at the local farmers market in 2013. Since then, she has won multiple international awards and now supplies liquor stores and supermarkets nationwide.
The Whole Story...
The tale of The Damson Collection actually starts way before my time…
It was founded by Tom and Margie Chambers, back in 2007. In fact, it was a bottle of home-made Damson gin that first ignited their relationship. Love blossomed, both for each other and the Damson, and before long Margie had convinced Tom to plant a Damson orchard in the fertile soils of the Heretaunga Plains in Aotearoa, New Zealand.
Along with their friend Catherine Rusby, and a bumper first crop of purple Damson, an artisan food company specialising in all things Damson was born. The three friends each had a clear role to play – Tom was the grower, Margie was the cook, and Catherine handled sales & marketing.
My introduction to the Damson Collection...
...actually came through a side entrance, perhaps a serendipitous one. Already a passionate foodie entrepreneur, I was happily leading a taste reconnaissance of another kind – whipping up sweet treats with love under the banner of Macarons.co.nz.
Margie initially approached me with a request to make a Damson flavoured macaron. I obliged and the result was phenomenal – the tart of the Damson providing the perfect balance in a sweet macaron. Quickly, the Damson macaron became the most popular in my flavour range, knocking the long-time favourites of salted caramel and mint chocolate off their perch of top spot in the coveted range.
As life unfolded, a series of personal events led me out of the rat race of Auckland and to a new chapter in Hawkes Bay, bringing my elderly Mum, my trusty canine companion, and my Macarons business with me. My call out for a commercial kitchen to lease was answered by Margie, and soon my Macarons were being lovingly crafted out of the kitchen on the Damson orchard.
Whether by fate, luck, or clever design, I was now immersed in the Damson environment and came to know the Damson Collection intimately – the fruit, the orchard and the products.
...the winds of change started to gently blow. Margie and Tom were getting ready to close their Damson chapter, and pass on their much loved adolescent to a new guardian for the next phase. Already bursting with ideas and excitement for what the next chapter could look like, it was clear that I was the natural buyer to take on the Damson Collection, and breathe fresh energy into it for the next iteration while respectfully balancing the time honoured traditions and faithful product range.
My dream of sharing the Hawkes Bay Damson with the world is gathering momentum. We were a finalist in the Best Emerging Business category in the 2018 NZ Export Awards, and are steadily rolling out our carefully crafted range to select supermarkets and specialty retail stores throughout Aotearoa NZ, and beyond.
My son Rogan (the Damson heir) has recently finished his university studies and joined the team, bringing his skillset of logistics, systems, and marketing to the mix. We continue to involve other passionate humans wherever their talents can add value to our vision. And the menagerie of four legged friends ebbs and flows, always keeping a watchful eye on proceedings.
Our mission – to completely satisfy the cravings of Damson lovers, here, there and everywhere.
You too can become part of our story. Try our specialty goodness now, and join the Damson revolution!