A business-savvy boy managed to grow his egg business from a farmer’s market stall to a supplier to Australia’s biggest supermarket chains before he was old enough to get a driver’s licence.
The Murrays moved to an old pine plantation in the Kerrie Valley, about 70km north-west of Melbourne, in 2008, but were shocked to find the previous owner had left 40 chickens behind.
A few years later, nine-year-old Josh, eager to earn some pocket money, made 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 aged just nine, collecting the eggs himself from 40 hens on his parents’ farm
Josh’s business, Josh’s Rainbow Eggs, is now sold in Woolworths and Coles and made $5 million in annual revenue last financial year (pictured, Josh with boxes of his eggs)
“He looked after the chickens, he had to feed them, clean the coop, the chickens were his responsibility, he started selling to neighbours, but we only had three,” his 54-year-old mother, Tamsyn, told news.com.
However, Josh soon noticed that he had too many eggs and not enough customers, so he took his business to the local stores and a farmer’s market.
Mrs Murray said when Josh secured a place at the local Foodworks she realized they had to dedicate their whole farm to his chickens.
From there it was all hands on deck.
Josh’s family pitched in to help run the business, and the company hired its first outside employee in 2012 to help collect eggs from 1,500 chickens.
Josh’s family (above all) became involved in his business after he started delivering eggs to local stores
Josh’s Rainbow Eggs (above) are now available at more than 100 locations in Victoria
In 2013, their flock had grown to 2,000 hens.
Another two years later and their farm had 10,000 chickens and eight employees.
Josh later bought a flatter 250-acre farm, just five minutes from their home in the Kerrie Valley, so the chickens had more room to roam.
‘It is very different from the wooded hills we live among. It’s easier to have chickens here as they have so much space to forage,’ explained Josh.
‘The flocks are small, the hens are less stressed and can easily come and go from the barn. It is a place for them to sleep and lay an egg.
Josh (pictured in April) now has more than 10,000 chickens living on a 250-acre farm five minutes from his Kerrie Valley home
‘Sometimes if it rains they go inside. Essentially, the chickens 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 mother to meet executives in Melbourne.
Not wanting to put all his eggs in one basket, Josh also turned to Woolworths.
Both grocery giants jumped at the chance to sell its farm-fresh eggs for about $8 per egg. 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 (over) asking to sell his products
Josh’s Rainbow Eggs are now available at Coles, Woolworths, IGA and Foodworks for around $8 a 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 $5 million in annual revenue.
“When tens of thousands are eating your eggs every week, that’s a lot of people,” Murray said.
In 2019, Josh was awarded the Victorian Young Achiever Award for Environmental Sustainability.
His business is powered by a 3KW off-grid solar system and focuses on the well-being of its chickens.