We go again
One of the ways of getting our chocolate noticed is by attending markets, expos and other events where likeminded people will be found.
I think it is important to be visible, not just on social media but in person too. it's nice to be able to put a face to the business, to remind people that we are not just another large corporation churning out products that mean nothing to us.
We are invested in our business and we are invested in our product or, quite simply, we wouldn't be doing it!
On Sunday 26th February 2023 we attended the Bristol Alternative Market held at the Trinity Centre, Bristol. This is a fairly new alternative market but having visited the first one just to look round, we knew just how busy it could be!
As per usual, even with the best of intentions, the lead up to the market could have been better. I'm still working night shifts and had to work the night before so only managed 30 minutes sleep Sunday morning before heading off to Bristol.
Add to that a wedding cake due on the 24th which required a 200 mile round trip to deliver and also involved a 2 hour delay in roadworks on the motorway, and I was pretty shattered before I even started.
Thank goodness for an awesome husband who was happy to drive and help out all day!
Thanks to very little traffic around on a Sunday morning we arrived at the venue with plenty of time to spare and the nice thought of not having to rush the set up. We had already rehearsed the layout at home so we knew it would go fairly smoothly.
At our first market there had been some confusion over the fact that the items were actually chocolate. Most people seemed to think that they were resin or wood ornaments. This time I had a sign made that specifically said chocolate in bold letters to make sure that people knew what I was selling. Thank you Five Valley Signs.
This time around we had an entirely different problem.
Although there were many people admiring the work, the general opinion seemed to be that it was too good to eat! Now how do you get round that one?
Do you make your chocolate things ugly?
Do you worry less about getting a nice finish on them?
Do you change what you are doing and try and churn out bulk crap instead?
No is my answer.
I spent a lot of years second guessing the wedding cakes that I was making. Years of trying to adjust what I offered to try and keep everyone happy.
This time round, it's not happening.
Either you like what I offer and you buy it, or you buy a bar of generic chocolate from a faceless corporation.
I'm done with compromising on what I make.
If I'm going to make a serious go of this business then it has to be a business that I am proud of and a business that feels like my own.
That doesn't mean that I will ignore feedback and ignore the suggestions that people make, it just means that I will no longer assume that someone else knows better than I do about what will work for my business.
Maybe that's a sign of growth, maybe that's just my stubborn streak rearing it's head, I don't know. What I do know is that I am going to run my business in a way that brings me satisfaction and a healthy work/life balance, because the other way certainly didn't work for me.