It's actually been about 2 years since I had that lightbulb moment and wanted to start my business. It was during my time working on cruise ships whilst we were in the beautiful and vibrant, Sydney, Australia where it started. I will talk more about that in another blog.
It has been just over a year since I incorporated Cuffed-in Coffee LTD, which was in march 2019. Since I made my first sale it has almost been a year so I think it is a good time to reflect.
They always say that the first year of business is always the hardest and I would have to agree. Even with all the guidance and support it can be a hard and lonely time.
The first 3 months was a dream. No stress, just the enjoyment of making your vision a reality. I secured funding which then allowed me to source and build 'big beasty' from a horse-box to a mobile coffee shop. At this time I was still working so I had the guaranteed income safety.
Near the end of the build I decided to quit my job and dive into the business head first. Almost instantly after I made this decision a few unforeseen circumstances and errors on my behalf cost me financially and for the time frame of opening before summer.
After those few hurdles out the way I again threw myself into the deep end and my first day of trading was apart of the Holyhead Festival. No soft opening there. I made it through unscathed and actually made a good amount of money for the weekend. I did run out of stock and had a little technical difficulty with the water pump but other than that it was a success. A huge shoutout here to Jordan Smith who helped me get the trailer to the festival and his help throughout the day.
The Monday after the festival I was due to start my regular trading on my pitch down on the beach. The day was windy and stop operations. At that point I knew that pitch was not going to work. As I was returning the trailer to storage the brakes failed on the trailer and the trolly jack collapsed too as the trailer was too heavy. This was a burden I couldn't afford.
This is where I went into panic mode and almost threw in the towel. If it wasn't for my friends and my Mentor at the time I think I would have started looking for another job haha.
I managed to arrange the repair for the trailer and eventually sourced a new pitch for the trailer which was in the industrial estate I am still at. I started trading there in September eventually.
The first couple of months were very stressful. Sales were low and the weather was still impacting trading due to the huge open hatch. I eventually sourced cakes from another local business, 'Georgias Bakeaway'. Huge shoutout to her, the cakes were an additional selling point as she was already pretty established and the cakes are to die for.
I did another event for the Bonfire Display and it was a huge success. Another big shoutout to 'Gareth Evans'. We smashed it out the park and must have sold easily over 150 cups of coffee and hot chocolate in just a couple of hours.
The weather throughout the winter was savage and ended up breaking the Hatch. I had to close for a couple of days and managed to find a company who custom made serving windows, shoutout the 'kellet windows' based in Leeds. They were super friendly and helpful with the design and it still looks good to the day.
Eventually I made it through the winter, sold a lot of coffee and was lucky to gain a lot of loyal customers which I am truly grateful for.
...And then Covid-19 came along and threw some more challenges my way. What the first year has taught me is that no matter what comes your way there is always a way out. With challenge there is growth.
A quality product and excellent customer service will make it hard for you to fail if you have the passion to keep at it.
Always surround yourself with good people, both professional and socially. If it wasn't for my family and friends, my business mentor and my accountants I don't think I would be where I am today.
Drink Coffee, Seek Adventure, Enjoy Life.