2010 – The Beginning
March 6 the Hutton Farmer’s Market was our first event that made us a business in the eyes of the HMRC. We were excited and hopes were high. By the end about three hours, we had made about £25 and Going Dippy! had been launched.
Next we thought we’d try an indoor spot at Cheddar. We didn’t know it at the time, but we were utterly mad. We had to be up at 3.30am. Even our cat thought we were mad. Over the next few months we learned the hard way that car boots and farmer’s markets were not the right venues for our products because no one wants to taste dips that early in the morning.
Then for the next nine months we were on the road. We did shows and events in East Sussex, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Dorset, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Oxfordshire, Denbighshire, South Glamorgan, Gloucestershire, North Somerset and Wiltshire. At one point we had done thirteen weekends in a row away from home before we had a break. Building brand awareness is hard, tiring work and don’t let anyone tell you differently. It can also take its toll on a relationship if you aren’t careful. That first year we learned that paying larger fees for bigger events was no guarantee of success. Usually it just meant that you had to work a lot harder to break even.
2011 – Our second year.
We changed our philosophy a little. This year we were still going to do shows and events, but we were going to stick closer to home and try to build more of a grassroots following. We started to do more school and charity events and lo and behold, we began to receive more invitations to return. It was still really hard graft.
2012 – Time to work smarter!
In our third year we decided it was time for us to work smarter and not just harder. So this year in addition to our retail site which is open to the public, we have added a trade site, which will offer opportunities for working from home. There is also a fund raising plan for schools and charities. There will also be a pantry for caterers etc. To make bulk purchases.
Along the way we did have our funny moments.
There was the morning we were set up and ready for trade only to discover that we had nothing for people to dip into the samples with. A mad dash around the venue turned up a case of nacho chips which we hastily purchased from another vendor.
Then there were the silly comments such as the one woman who looks at the dill dip and asks what’s in the dill dip.
Then there was the woman who drank our homemade lemonade and exclaims with pleasure “very lemony”.
In this our third year we are going to try to balance our business with having as they say a life. Wish us luck.