Getting off the starting blocks

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Last year I launched a little business. After planning and hosting a spectacular birthday party for our mothers’ 70th birthday, my sister and I came up with the idea of doing something together, a joint venture. Although organising the party had been stressful at times, what we found most frustrating was waiting for the china to turn up. We had booked some vintage china from a local company and had found the whole process unsatisfactory. The owner was very difficult to get hold of before the event and despite having paid a deposit, we got no confirmation from her beforehand. On the day of the party we worked tirelessly for hours preparing the venue, catering everything ourselves and putting out signs to ensure all the guests could find us. The only thing missing was the china! I rang continuously without success and, with less than an hour until the party  was due to start, we began to panic. What would we do if she didn’t turn up? When we were supposed to be glamming ourselves up, we were instead making an emergency plan to dash out and find tableware before the guest of honour arrived.

Eventually the china arrived with moments to spare. The owner was unfazed by our panicked faces. Apparently she’d had car trouble but had not thought to answer my calls or let us know she had been delayed. When we explained that we hadn’t known if she was going to turn up she simply laughed it off. Her china was beautiful but we found her customer care lacking. Once she had left we raced around like headless chickens setting the tables and had to lock ourselves in the bathroom to change once everyone had arrived. The party was a great success but afterwards my sister and I realised we could do so much better ourselves. I immediately set about building up some stock. Luckily Big agreed to fund me and I had great fun sourcing gorgeous cups and saucers, teapots and cake stands. I trawled charity shops for pretty pieces and searched sales ads for bargains. It quickly became an obsession as I researched makers and patterns. Once I had a good amount of stock I made an inventory of everything, took photographs and checked out my local competition. I registered a domain name, built a website and launched a Facebook page. Then I waited for the enquiries to come in. It has been about eight months and so far I have had a few bites but nothing has come of them. I have showcased my china at charity baking events and people are intrigued for sure, but I have never been very patient.

I’m desperate to show people what we can do. I want to do it right, provide excellent customer service and get glowing feedback, it just hasn’t happened yet. I was reading an article yesterday which said that on average it takes two years to get a business up and running. I designed some gorgeous watercolour graphics and had them made into eye-catching business cards which I will leave in local coffee shops and cafes, subject to permission of course. I’m doing everything I can to get some bookings so fingers crossed I guess. Does anyone have any tips for me they would be willing to share? All suggestions gratefully received.

Thanks for reading. xx

2 thoughts on “Getting off the starting blocks

  1. Hey Teacup, now this does indeed sound enterprising and quirkily unique – what marketing and promotions are you doing to support it?

    A new business can and please notre ‘can’ take up to two years to take off, but if after 6 months you haven’t had a serious nibble, you need to redefine your strategy.

    What do you call yourselves? What is your website please? What is the FB page called? How are you promoting and who is your long range client? What research did you undertake originally? I am very keen to know more, and l can offer advice if that helps?

    Rory

    Liked by 1 person

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