Today I am thrilled to welcome Stevie Maiden from Maidens Fayre, maker of jams, chutneys and pickles in all sorts of exotic and exciting flavours. I first interviewed Stevie in June 2013, and when I asked where she wanted to be by now, she replied, “I’d like to be doing bigger fayres. I’d also like to find a company that will deliver my produce at a reasonable rate, so I can get them out into the world. Even better, I’d like to supply a few shops.” Well, Stevie’s had a bit of an eventful year, and where she didn’t specify that she wanted to have some time off each week, that looks like something she could do with and wants to build in next! No one said it would be easy, though, and Stevie’s very honest about the trials and pitfalls as well as the good side of business, and does a super job encouraging other small business owners on Facebook.
So, Stevie, are you where you hoped to be this time last year?
I AM where I hoped to be a year ago.
What has changed and what has stayed the same?
I’m working harder than ever, and I’m either buying, cooking, selling or sleeping, that’s it – it’s ALL I do. My husband has left me, so I’ve had to go full pelt to try to make Maidens Fayre a success. Sadly, I’m much too cussed to work for anyone else now!
What do you wish I’d known a year ago and what have you learned?
That the price of an event does not necessarily mean good footfall. A small event can sometimes be worth more than a large one. Just because an event has been excellent one year doesn’t mean it will be the next.Also, the better you do in your chosen business, the more negative attention you will attract. Be prepared to deal with it.
Any more hints and tips?
If you’re serious about turning your hobby into a business, do your research. Do you have many competitors, what is the demand for your product, can it pay for itself and once it’s not your hobby any more, will you still enjoy doing it??
Where do you see yourself in another year?
I’m hoping to start to supply tea rooms and restaurants who understand the value of a good, homemade product. I already have a few interested, but I won’t jinx it by saying who :] I’m hoping this will enable me to cut down on events, give me a set time to cook, and maybe give me a day to myself during the week. Sigh: I can always dream.
Sounds like there are some exciting things coming up for Stevie, and I hope the tea room and restaurant plans work out! I do wonder when people sometimes tell me that they want to go into business but they don’t know what they want to do, how they’ll survive when the going gets tough. Stevie loves cooking and creating those interesting taste combinations, and I’m passionate about helping my clients achieve clarity and precision in what they want to say, but what on earth you’d do if you didn’t already care deeply about the line of business you’re in before you go in for it, I’m not sure! Find out how Stevie was doing in 2015.
If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured (I have a full roster of interviewees now so am only taking on a very few new ones). If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my books, all available now, in print and e-book formats, from a variety of sources.