The Operational Octopus!

There are a lot of different avenues to cover when you actually start setting up like equipment, branding, food, electrics, insurance, plumbing etc, some things I haven’t a clue about like the latter! It’s also still constantly on my mind that I’m setting all this up without a location which doesn’t help when feeling a little overwhelmed. I think that emotion probably sums up the entire process.

I’m trying to get set up without spending too much cash. That way I can get registered and concentrate on finding a location, then I can buy whatever else I need. I get a lot of the equipment in Musgraves and the smaller things in Homestore and More. Luckily, one of my family has a warehouse that is a hoarders dream and I find lots of good stuff in there, even a sink!

I haven’t found my egg supplier yet so I spend some more time ringing around. They have to be free range but I’d also like to get them from a small family farm as I think people would relate to that. Most importantly they have to be happy hens! There are things like minimum orders and delivering times that need to be considered. I leave messages for a few places but they don’t call back, I find that odd as all the message said was that I had a business based on eggs so they don’t know how much business I could be offering. I eventually speak to a salt of the earth farmer in Cavan and he (very nicely) advises me to buy them from a local shop or market for the moment where you can trace the supplier and buy as you go. You don’t want to end up with thousands of eggs when you don’t really have a clue how many you will need. Ok this could be an easier way to go.

I head down to the butchers in Ringsend as I go there a bit and they get the eggs in for a great price. They say they’re sure we can work something out and promises to ring me. After a week and phoning a few times I don’t hear back so I head down there again. The shop is now a barbers, oh dear. Probably pricing the eggs too cheap. Within that time I’ve found a supplier for my veg and they also do free range eggs from a local farm in Monaghan so I order a few to test them out. They’re lovely and priced well so I’m happy with that.

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I have to work on the design side of things too which is the fun part. I wrote in a previous post about making the stall look inviting so I get to work on getting a shop front made by a carpenter in the shape of a giant cracked egg. It’s supposed to be light enough for me to lift and fit in a jeep but I’m not sure how that will work if it’s supposed to withstand that elements! I brush over that one and wait to see what it will turn out like!! I put together my brand values; what the brand stands for, creating my superhero character and all of that exciting stuff which definitely motivates you, it’s kind of like a part of you is in the brand. I meet with a freelance designer a couple of times about doing the logo (a friend in advertising put us in touch). She really gets what I want it to be about and is also into food so I give her the go ahead. Some initial ideas below.

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The boring side of it still carries on and I order the HACCP manual from the Food safety authority (€70) which you have to fill in to be compliant. It’s actually not bad for learning the details and it comes with tonnes of books for control checks that need to be filled out on an ongoing basis, esp if an inspector comes a-knockin. I also have to educate myself on what foods can be pre-prepped and how long they will last, there are a certain amount of days each food ‘officially’ lasts. Are you asleep yet?

A girl who set up a similar business recommended a good insurance company to go with so that’s ticked off the list pretty quickly which is great. Some things you think will take time are sorted pretty quickly and others you think will be a quick job are painful.

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Packaging is the last big thing I need to sort. I do a lot of research on what type of packaging retains the heat the best as the omelette will go cold quickly and taste rubbery and bluh. Those white polystyrene boxes are tacky, I need something to look organic and be easy to eat from. The first guy I talk to seems to understand what I’m on about and is sending me some samples. Although when I give him my email address, he decides to call out my age! I set up a gmail years ago and at that time it seemed to be the done thing to put the year of birth at the end of your name and I haven’t changed it since. I get some packaging from a ‘very green’ company too, sustainability is important.

I test the packaging one night. One provides a load of condensation and makes the omelette soggy, ugh, bin immediately. Two are good heat retainers and one is really firm, you could eat it on your knee no bother. I try a few more but that seems to be the winner. James tells me he has it in stock so just to ring a week before I need it. I’ll come back to this story in another post but needless to say James does not deliver on his promises!

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