Hi Dale, Mel and Deb,
Good luck with your shops!! I opened my shop just before mother’s day. I am selling moulded chocolates and truffles – all using the callebuat standard range.
I am looking to move into the high end truffles – I enjoyed the El Rey samples, but not the single origin Callebaut – still have samples left so will try on some customers.
The shop is doing OK. One thing that I didn’t realise was that after a busy period (mother’s day / Easter) there is a huge lull in the market. I did expect it to be quiet but not that quiet. Things are starting to pick up this week.
A few words of wisdom that someone sent to me and I found very helpful:
1. Whatever your time scale – double it – other people don’t seem to realise the urgency of a project that you are passionate about. (I found it useful to identify the person in the process who had the most to lose if I backed out – in my case it was the estate agent who was handling the lease – so I put pressure on him to chase up the other people)
2. Whatever equipment, packaging etc you think you will need – you will find there are loads of other things you will want – financially this builds up – so watch the cost and decide if it is a case of ‘I want’ or ‘I need’.
3. Try and co-ordinate deliveries so that you can be up and running as quickly as possible – an empty shop waiting for equipment & stock is losing you money.
4. Remember the advice about signage given by the speaker at last year’s UK Chocolate Conference (also held at Slattery’s) – “Tell them what you do – not what your name is”
5. And finally – Don’t be a slave to your shop – if you are – you could lose your passion and it could become a chore!
(Hope u don’t mind me quoting you Angela!)
I found that this is all very true, particularly the “I want” or “I need” line and has helped to reign in my expenditure.
I would also say that when you review how well your shop is doing (and please do so regularly) always look at an overall picture eg a month in whole as opposed to just one or two days. I used to either be very happy or very upset at first based on each day’s takings – now I just look at two weeks at a time, and generally earnings are fairly consistent.
Also don’t be scared of trying new things, however if you do make sure you do offer tasters.
I could go on for hours … but well – if you need any specific advice please feel free to e-mail.
Good luck – hope it goes well – keep us all posted!