Remember when you were little and you played cashier? You had an imaginary stall and you sold cakes and drinks to your friends? Well, what we do is actually much like that. It’s fun! It’s fulfilling and its playful. We get to meet so many lovely people (and aside from the business of tax) it really does feel like child’s play a lot of the times.
We started Bloom Bakers exactly 9 months ago. And we have learned quite a few things since. We felt it was time to write some learnings down. If not purely for the pleasure of reading this back in ten years time, then for others who are thinking about starting their own business.
But here follow our true learnings:
We soon discovered that you need to be pretty brave to start a business. We had been planning all of this behind the scenes for two months before we shared our adventure with the world by creating social media pages. Then we made the official invites to the big launch on Kirkstall Deli Market for the 26th of March 2016 and after sending those out we looked at each other and felt an immense sense of pride for actually doing it! The exhilaration and nervousness of our first market day was real! It was a mixed bag of emotions. But at the end of the day we were so so so proud for creating a product range of apple pies and biscuits that tastes amazing and a brand that feels genuine.
Having a partner increased everything not twofold but plentifold! Business partners are golden. You can bounce ideas off each other. You both come with your own strengths and weaknesses. When one is sick the other can keep the show moving. We can still go on holiday without everything shutting down. 1+1 doesn’t equal 2 in a business partnership. It equals at least three! We can produce more, sell more. We can split up and sell in different places at the same time, etc, etc!
Family and friends
In all of this we also discovered how much we need our friends. You guys have supported us so much. Through liking our pages, our posts, supporting us on market days. Giving us genuine feedback, recommending us, ordering products, etc. It was friends who sat down and talked accounting and pricing with us, it was friends who helped us come up with our logo.
You are all the foundations on which we are building Bloom Bakers and we thank you for that. All of it has been and still is invaluable!
Social media is scary!
Starting on social media is scary. What do we say? What is there to say? Who are we? Do we make political statements? Do we show our children? What will people think of our tone of voice? When and what do you retweet? I think we actually had to drink a glass of wine before sending out our first ever tweet!! hahaha.
Productive night planning/ scheduling. And all while drinking a luxury glass of red wine!! So excited!!!
— Bloom Bakers (@BloomBakers) February 1, 2016
Notice the complete lack of hash tags or picture in this our first social media outing ever!
Also, you will get slightly carried away with likes and page follows!! And then you get upset with yourself for focusing on it so much, because after all, you know that social media is such a vague, ‘void’ space. Yet, as we are online marketers in our day job we understand like no other that you need to have a web presence otherwise there is just no point in starting a small business. That is the primary place where you can gain customers.
We are still getting the hang of it all. But we are a lot more comfortable than when we first started. Plus we have met a lot of wonderful people through social media. That we wouldn’t have come across if we hadn’t tried.
Every market day we tweak the way we lay out our products. And with every market we feel more comfortable with how it all looks. Today was the first time we felt everything had its rightfull place. Where we laid it out in the most ‘feng shui’ way possible. This picture shows well how serious we take table dressing and presentation. 😊 #instagood #instafood #igersleeds #treats #yummy #omnomnom #delicious #leeds #westyorkshire #yorkshire #pretty #bloombakers #marketday #farmersmarket #fresh #homemade #handmade #presentation #fengshui #products #bakery
In the past 9 months we grew as friends and business partners. We haven’t had any major disputes (yet). I am sure we might have some along the way. But much like any other relationship it comes with giving and taking. Oh and you have to like each other because you see a lot of each other!! It’s a bit like being married. You share calendars, you Whatsapp each other a 100 times a day, you have a joint bank account, you sometimes get annoyed, etc.)
It’s easier to be transparent
There we instances in which we wanted to approach things in a complicated way. But we have always found it easier to approach people honestly. To not try and fool anyone and to hope that people will respond to that method in kind. So far we have not been proven wrong.
The day job
What many of you might not know is that we also have day jobs. And we have found that starting this business has made us better employees. We work in the online marketing field. And since starting Bloom Bakers we have a much better understanding of what customers need and how to deliver better results.
But aside from that, starting and running Bloom Bakers has also given us a new sense of confidence. We feel much more capable and confident as employees. Because we feel more able.
It’s hard work but so so rewarding!
There are not enough hours in the day to hold down a daytime job, raise kids, be a good partner and get your business off the ground. Yet like having another child, somehow you find the time. Somehow you learn to judge when you need to run, make hay, etc. and when you can relax and have some downtime. It’s all in the balance.
When you start something, magical things seem to happen.
We noticed something pretty special over the last few months. We started with a handful of products and a tiny idea. We added some more products because they naturally seemed to fit in with who we are. People gave us feedback which sparked new ideas. People asked us for products we didn’t even think of ourselves for instance like our bespoke biscuits. One thing seems to constantly lead to another. It is as if everything is open. And we have all these avenues that seem to appear out of nowhere. Inroads that we didn’t see when we started in January. It is all seemingly magical, but I am sure you can put it under the banner of hard work and dedication 🙂
Love + time
Growing something, anything, takes time. And we knew this from the start. With each sold product. With each market. With each page like. With each online order we receive, we get one step closer to our goal. And all the bits in between at this point in time, do not feel like work at all. It feels like an exercise in getting to know who we are as Bloom Bakers. It feels like we are creating inroads. Like we are closing in on that place that is our natural home.
Last but, not least
Our boyfriend and husband are absolute legends. Having their support, help, understanding, equal dedication to what we do, makes this journey so much more enjoyable. That’s worth a whole post by itself!
If you have been thinking about setting up a business. Any type of business, then we hope to maybe have inspired you to Just Do It. Because really, as we have found, that is all there is to it! Every journey begins with the first step…Take it!