Tracking the “RecreAte” project and its conceptual phases has been interesting for me, watching the growth from a simple and easy food recipe site for University Students, to growing into a food waste initiative focused project, whilst retaining the simple and easy recipes and not shifting the scope entirely, but expanding it to incorporate the new ideas, was a bold move, that I think has paid off.
Whilst I had not seen the project in BCM206, the concept of “Foods that are easy to make for students” was hardly new, the spin of using leftovers was. And whilst that might seem obvious, many people overlook that component of cooking, and by focusing on re-use, you also can reach a wider audience.
By making the core concept simple, eco-friendly food stuff, you carve yourself a small place in the larger food market, by creating what is distinct about your cheap and easy meals, the focus on leftovers and re-using meals, focusing strongly on what the utility of the project is, rather than attempting to be a ‘everything’ food website. The utility of your website also comes down to the sorting by ingredients, and what it is you have left-over, to being able show recipes with those ingredients. This is a crucial part of the design, and seeing it on the website is definitely moving the website in the right direction. Addressing the concern of not being able to search for more than one ingredient at a time, this is an issue that can really be solved by swapping platforms, as you have mentioned. Whilst I will mention it in the recommendations, you have addressed it, and the problems around it.
With the addition of the store, you have found an unconventional revenue source within your project, selling little bits of laser cut scrap wood and plastic, repurposed as earrings. This suited the vibe and feeling of the project you created, and added to concept nicely, giving people a way to get into the feeling and vibe of your project, by wearing eco-friendly creations. As long as the creation of these items, which hinges on the free supply of material and use of laser cutting, doesn’t become a large cost burden, this is a great way to earn extra cash.
By creating cross-platform media feeds for the website, you definitely curated look for the brand, focusing on natural, healthy, organic foods, and then linking across to your website for ingredients and more. The success of Instagram over Facebook does not surprise me at all, because of the difference in interactions on the platforms, with food blogging and photography have a special place in the realm of Instagram, whereas Facebook is more of a ‘news’ aggregate, not necessarily promoting the newest content. The declining overall interaction would be akin to the plateauing of business after the original opening growth boom, which I do not think you should be concerned with, because it can be easily treated to.
The declining feedback from social sites does not necessarily mean that less people were engaging with your brand, it just means that they may not have been using social media as a port-of-call for your website anymore, especially with overall website traffic increasing, although still one visit per user. The transfer of people from social media to your website will probably continue to decline, unless you post the recipes as you make them onto your social feeds, creating a regular content schedule.
The overall presentation and look of the powerpoint was incredibly professional, but also felt mellow and informal, an oxymoron, I am aware. Whilst the presentation was not performed in class due to external circumstances, the previous presentations included models of your products and demonstrations that are still available, and in working order, and gauging how they went, I could only assume the final one would have been the same. The earrings you showed last time were completed products, with well-made designs and thought going into them. The website is also clear in how it works, with a simple user interface, that clearly states how and where you are, with very little struggle to grasp navigation, plus looking incredibly inviting, but not pompous. “Homely” might be the closest term for the feel of your project and brand.
Showing your social media stats, and the engagement, or lack thereof, was also very important in assessing the trajectory of the project. As mentioned earlier, this information can change, and is not a reflection of the project overall, considering the small time frame it is within, and the small effort into advertisement made thus far.
For the final project, I would be looking to possibly spend money on either some online advertisements or social media promotion, or alternatively making yourself known at foragers markets by handing out book marks or pamphlets and having engagement that way. The latter suggestion I believe will create a more authentic audience base, as many people who believe in recycling, reusing and environmental causes, spend less time online. This may seem like a generalization, but it would fit into the starter pack, of creating a relationship with people rather than with a product. It also works as a great way to sell some extra earrings and jewelry, although the temptation exists to chase down the part of the project that is making money, rather than the sustainability portion of it, which is much more niche and, I believe, personally fulfilling.
With the website and searching by ingredients, I have very little knowledge, apart from website I know that use this model, although I can’t find how they created them.
Overall, I believe this project to be one of the more successful in my class, and that the “RecreAte” site has lots of practical everyday utility, and could find itself as a staple in the Wollongong-based Fair Food Foragers organisation, with the right movements and timing. Great work on the project, you should be proud.