It might sound trite, but at Eskywell we believe that the pace of life has far exceeded what is healthy, safe and enjoyable. We believe that there are not enough opportunities for families to live, work and play together, side by side, without the distraction of our devices, media and stress.
As such, our mission is both incredibly large and incredibly simple: To provide a place for people to reconnect with nature, family and themselves.
Each of us may have our own interpretation of what that means. To some, simply getting outside is connecting with nature, to others it means having their hands deep in the dirt. Family can expand beyond the household or bloodlines and reach into the folds of our friends, our animals or simply those who share a similar mindset. And connecting with ourselves could mean walking alone through a field, sharing a meal with a stranger or sitting in a chair enjoying a book.
We live in a world of constant information, fear, propoganda, pressure and stress. At Eskywell Farms we provide a sanctuary outside of all that and we invite everyone to join us.
At the heart of every decision we make is a reflection upon our core values:
Peace - with each other, with our surroundings, with nature
Charity - this extends far beyond financial giving
Family - many definitions, one feeling
Joy - we need to make time for more joy in our lives
A mission without vision is simply a daydream. Our vision is what drives us every day to strive for our mission. Simply stated our vision is to inspire every person who visits us to incorporate positive change into their life and the lives of those around them.
There are so many ways people can positively change their lives and in doing so, positively change the world. It is our greatest hope that we can provide a little spark that can help provide the light for the rest of the world.
Down to Business
While we spend a lot of time creating, refining and reflecting on our mission, vision and values, at the end of the day, in order to accomplish our goals, we need to have a functional, sustainable and profitable business. Rather than looking at the business aspects as a necessary evil, we have created a model that encompasses everything we stand for and allows us to work hard knowing that everything we do and every dollar we make can further our mission.
WHAT IS ESKYWELL FARMS?
At its heart, Eskywell Farms is a local gathering place. Free to visit, free to enter. A place to play games, enjoy food, to study, to work and to relax. It is also very much a farm. A place to connect with nature by growing food and providing a place for rescued and abused animals to live out their days. Most visitors will come to spend the day wandering the fields, meeting animals, playing lawn games, enjoying some local food and perusing local goods. In the evenings, special events such as concerts, outdoor movie nights, cookouts and more will attract paying customers and provide recreational activities for families and people of all ages.
The venue will be available for rental for larger, private events, such as weddings, birthday parties, graduation parties and corporate events. These events will bring in revenue for Eskywell Farms and the vendors.
Other areas of the farm will be made available for smaller, shorter term renting - co working spaces, meeting spaces and smaller parties.
Eventually, the goal is to harness the produce grown on the farm and other local farmers to start a cafe, then larger scale restaurant operations. Along the same lines, a small batch brewery, in partnership with existing brewers would be established.
Once established within the community, Eskywell Farms will be a destination for events as well as a place to come spend a lazy afternoon with friends and family.
Creation of a well-diversified set of revenue streams is a major operational goal of Eskywell Farms. We believe strongly in taking the pressure off of any one specific stream and allowing ample time to test and evaluate several opportunities. In addition to creating multiple income options, we also believe a key to sustainability is slow, responsible growth. As such, we look to take advantage of "pop up" and "gig jobs" to limit up front costs while establishing a firmer presence in the market. Short and long term revenue streams are as follows:
-Special Event Ticket Sales (movies, cookouts, camps, concerts, seminars)
-Artisan Space rentals (antiques, soaps, furniture, all local artists and business)
-Food Truck Space rental (events, rallies, parties, weddings)
-Plant/Produce Sales (as crops become available)
-Venue Rentals (Weddings, Birthdays, Grad Parties, etc)
-Co Work Fees (offering a few open co working spaces and meeting spots)
-Beverage sales (coffee, eventually alcohol)
-Prepared food sales (longer term goal, utilizing farm produce, limited menu)
-Branded merchandise (shirts, hats, cross promotional items)
One of the beautiful aspects of this business model, is to take advantage of creative structure to limit risk and expenses in the short run. As the gig economy and pop up business models have flourished, Eskywell Farms can take advantage of many cost saving opportunities to limit up front expenses. That said, there are a few major fixed costs that will stress initial finances:
-inspections and licensing
-general labor and supplies
-marketing and advertising
A special note on expenses - the core team at Eskywell adheres to a strict belief in limiting sustainability risk due to expenses to the extent reasonably possible. As such, special effort is placed into creatively solving problems rather than throwing money at problems. Eskywell Farms is intended to have the feel of a hands on family run business. Many aspects of the business will be handled directly and not outsourced.
Eskywell Farms is based on the best concepts present in a variety of successful establishments. We look for inspiration across the globe and at home in Michigan and have visited a variety of venues including farms, nurseries, breweries, wineries, wedding venues, hotels and parks. The case studies below represent just a small sampling of the inspiration for Eskywell Farms.
POND HILL FARMS
Pond Hill Farms, located in Harbor Springs, MI, is a fully functioning farm. In addition to a variety of crops, the farms also raises several different animals as well.
Pond Hill Farms went from selling produce, to having a cafe, to making wine and now having an onsite micro brewery.
The venue is rented out for weddings, rehearsal dinners, birthday parties and much more. Additionally, themed dinners and dances are held throughout the year.
The feel is very casual, there is no entry fee and visitors can hike, play yard games, pet animals and get a first hand look at the operations of the farm.
Petersham Nursery, located in the borough of Richmond in London, UK, serves as a great case study for a location that utilizes its products for sale as decoration, offers free entry, is a destination for international visitors as well as local visitors and also rents out as a wedding and event space.
Petersham utilizes a rustic, eclectic decorating scheme which allows them to inexpensively create a unique aesthetic. Also of note is that almost all of the display pieces and furnishing are also for sale.
There are also extremely large gardens with produce and flowers, both of which are utilized (sold) for events, food dishes are prepared in house, floral arrangements are made in house.
Great study on maximizing the space and finding creative ways to cut costs while creating an international destination.
THE LITTLE FLEET
Little Fleet has locations in both Traverse City and Alpena, MI. The unique set up allows the venue to circumvent a lot of the licensing requirements that can be a barrier to entry for many start up locations.
Little fleet does not make or serve any food, it is all provided by food trucks, who all pay "rent" for the opportunity to serve there. Even during winter months there is a food truck providing all the food. Due to this, Little Fleet does not need to abide by or obtain licensing for many of the strict rules set forth for restaurants.
Little fleet also maintains a very low maintenance decorating theme, concrete floors and simple wood create a very casual, easy to maintain atmosphere.
The venue is extremely family (and pet) friendly, allowing space for kids to run and play, and adults to unwind.
Hop Lot Brewing is located in Suttons Bay, MI and was awarded the best new brewery award based on its venue.
The key feature year round is the expansive beer garden. Furnished with simple, picnic table style furniture and easy to maintain gravel. The garden features a fire pit, trees, hops growing, a river and several lawn games.
Additionally, a stage and outdoor service area are placed in the garden allowing for entertainment and service outdoors year round.
The staff promotes a casual vide and it is not uncommon for patrons to spend an entire day lounging outside. Visitors are encouraged to share space at the long "family style" tables, meet new people and embrace a comfortable family bbq style day.
The Eskywell Team
Eskywell LLC is a business development company operated by Brandon Still. After almost a decade as a partner in a national marketing and management agency, Brandon left for a more family-centric lifestyle and created the business development company in Oakland County. Fortunately, an established professional network came along for the ride and specialized marketing, technology and sales services are a core part of the offering of Eskywell.
Eskywell Farms will be a unique, family run business, which has an incredible advantage in that the family brings an array of professional talents and network to the table. As a larger team is built, the hiring focus will be on finding team members who share the values of Eskywell and the Still family.
If you are interested in learning more about Eskywell Farms, joining the team or exploring other ways you can help, please feel free to reach out at or use the contact form in the website's footer.