I went along to an event as part of a startup gathering and there were a few speakers from the Food Academy, an initiative run by Bord Bia and the Local Enterprise Board which helps small local businesses get their products onto shelves. It’s nice to hear people who have done it and come out the other side. One of the best tips I got was from Boutique Bake who said- ‘just start’ and you’ll find your feet. That is exactly what I need to do, just start. One of the speakers put up a photo of a roller coaster in her presentation which was the title of my first blog post so I’m on the right track 😉
I tried a different tack with the HSE. I made the mistake of not really doing my homework when I first spoke to them and although you’re advised to make contact them as a first port of call, they definitely want people who know their stuff. At this stage I was pretty much ready to go with all the equipment and had read the manual so I called the branch in Dun Laoghaire instead of the city centre who I had spoken to originally.
I spoke to a nice girl who grilled me with questions and by the end of the conversation (about 45 mins) she was satisfied I knew what I was at and would register me which was eggsellent news (sorry). There was nothing about setting up first and coming out to inspect me, I had been given two totally different directions and had spent all this time getting the equipment for inspection and registration so I could apply to the markets when I didn’t have to!!! Anyway this was progress.
I received my confirmation of registration. I also had my logo and name confirmed at this stage – I had hummed and hawed over ‘The humble egg’ and ‘Cracked’ but I loved the different meanings Cracked gave and the firm nod it gave to the endless egg puns out there. I sent in all my applications to the markets I had looked at and pretty much stalked the guys who ran Dun Laoghaire but I was at the end of a very long list and it didn’t seem like my product and customer offering was the important thing.
I remember sitting at my computer on a Monday morning at a low point and thought right, Christmas markets. I’m thinking it might actually be really good to start an event as a testing ground, that way I’ll have it all sussed out by the time I start regularly trading.
I ring ‘I believe’, the one in the docklands and they said there was too much footfall to put in a stall with no experience. I try a few others and then Dun Laoghaire Christmas market. I am actually getting quite excited about this one and I need to reign myself in!! They are little huts and it’s in a different location to last year in the grounds of the Maritime museum so more like a park for people to convene. Its on Thursday and Friday evenings and all day Sat and Sun for 5 weeks in the lead up to Christmas which is a great amount of time and means I would hopefully learn a lot in a short period. The applications said they closed a couple of weeks ago but I ring up anyway and they’re looking at them now so I apply. It asks for previous trading history and I feel like I’m back at the very beginning of my career when I have to say I don’t have much previous experience but I am really keen and passionate about what I’m doing! I got quite used to being able to say that I had 7 years in marketing!
I ring them about a week later to see if there’s any news and I’m actually nervous. Automatically I think that if I don’t get in its fine, I’ll find somewhere else. You have to practice self-preservation in these situations! They say no news for a few days but then just before lunch time I see an email come in from them. Shut the front door, I’m in!!! ‘We think Cracked could work very well at this year’s market.’ Magical words. I literally start jumping up and down clapping my hands like my 1 year old nephew. The agony (so far) has definitely worth the achievement. I remember reading somewhere that it’s so important to celebrate the small wins.
This has literally given me a new lease of life,a focus and a goal which is what I’ve been trying to get to for the last 2 and a half months.