Getting ready for my first market

The excitement of getting into the market is quickly overridden by the million things I had to do before it starts in a month.

Staff. I need to get someone to help me at the stall. I put an add on DIT for graduates from the culinary course, put one in a MAST ezine (the insurance guys) and rang a few people I know in the food area. My best friend’s brother has actually worked at a stall in Dun Laoghaire market and amazingly he’s willing to help on Sundays. I eventually got a student (from the MAST email) to help out Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Unfortunately because the weather was the most shocking December in years, I end up having to cancel him quite a bit which I felt so bad about but that’s the nature of part-time work. And so begins the staff problems that most shops say are the most challenging part.

The set up. I was delighted with the set up of the market – I was going to be in a little hut/chalet which means no wind blowing my tent away and once all the equipment in I can leave it there for 5 weeks which really takes the pain of setting up each day away. They’re very cute so all is need is lots of branding, some creative christmas/egg decs and it will look the part.

Branding. I’ve got my final branding back from the designer and I’m delighted with it. There are a few different versions she’s given me and each could work really well with different elements so I get working on that. I write about what the brand stands for (About the idea) why we chose eggs, why we think they’re superheroes and why we called it Cracked.

 

Social media, photography & marketing. I set up all my pages online carefully filling out the info as people underestimate the importance of that. Good quality food photography is crucial to the success of your brand so I invest in a proper camera and start learning how to take photos. I concoct each omelette with their ingredients for each page. I spend time creating my content for the launch of cracked – from day 1 to starting in markets. After a few days I’m getting loads of likes and well wishes on facebook so I’m thrilled and it really eggs me on;)

Pricing and margins. Takes forever but worth it. I excelled it up and listed exactly how much each ingredient would cost for each omelette – portion control is very important in pricing. Don’t forget to include packaging and any other extras like a chutney you’re serving with it. Once you have the cost of each work out different scenarios on pricing and what margin you would make on each. I sent my final pricing around to some people who I knew would be honest for their comments and feedback.

DIY. I’m making my menus on boards (inspiration from London) and you definitely underestimate how long it takes. It is something I enjoy but when you have all the other things to do it becomes more of a ‘get it done’ type of task unfortunately. My dad is a hero with DIY so kindly helps me one Saturday night in his ultimate man shed and they turned out quite well.

Packaging. In a previous post I mentioned I had found a good box and that I just needed to ring the guy a week before. After chasing James for 2 weeks I contacted another guy John who was providing the cutlery and John knows James. John said he was not off the radar and would contact him for me. James suddenly rings me and says he can’t get the packaging, if he had just told me that in the first place!! To be fair I do panic a bit but things happen for a reason and John is the nicest man ever (JFK disposables) and sends me more samples straight away. I find a box I am happy with.

Farm visit. I really wanted to bring home the fact that I am selling free range eggs and that I know they come from a great, local farm so I organise a trip to Monaghan and it was a fab day. It’s always good to meet people in the industry too and they loved the idea of celebrating eggs through a dedicated food business. We made a little video.

There’s lots of other small things to sort like PAT testing of all electrical equipment, cleaning products, cooking equipment etc and there are lots of hidden costs so you have to be absolutely stringent on your budget. There’s also lots of things to sort out in your head – what way you’re going to do things and that’s what really takes time but it has to be done. As long as you keep your to do list and plough through it everything will be fine!!! I did kinda feel like a superhero throughout that period, it is amazing how much you can get done in one day when you put your mind to it.

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