Shows and local promotion
The week started with attending the pop-up market in the Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery courtyard on Sunday. Despite the atrocious weather the event was really positive, both for us and the other traders. Whilst sales were not particularly high, I did meet a lot of potential customers and was able to explain to them the concept behind our business. Many of those attending were from the arts and craft community in town and I got a lot of ideas and tips which hopefully will help in the future, particularly at any shows I attend.
Following the market experience on the Sunday, I spoke to Shropshire Festivals about attending both their Oktoberfest beer festival and next year’s food festival - to sell our products and hopefully also provide an onsite drinking environment. This will be a big departure for me - essentially creating an outdoor pop-up bar - logistically I’ve a lot of challenges to overcome. Once again, in addition to selling products I will use the opportunities to raise the profile of our brand. Alongside these festivals, we have also booked a space at the Wellbeing festival in the quarry park - more details to follow.
As well as speaking to Shropshire Festivals’ Beth Heath, I spoke to another member of the Shrewsbury cultural ‘mafia’, Katy Rink from My Shrewsbury magazine. As with Beth, Katy provided me with an enormous number of ideas and suggestions which will help in promoting the business and I'm looking forward to more conversations with her.
Following on from the market on Sunday, I launched our website and online shop earlier in the week. This was a big step and I agonised for some time as to whether the site was as complete as it should be. Ultimately, although I think there are still tweaks to be made, it was more important to establish the site and start promoting it on social media. I was vindicated somewhat by receiving my first internet order; which I duly delivered locally (free of charge of course). The customer in question confirmed he was aware of our website via our Twitter feed (@drybychoice).
This week I was delighted to receive a repeat order from one of the restaurants I have supplied and also got feedback from the other to say how customers had praised the quality of the beer. I’ve also continued approaching local bars with samples of the products.
Two…. yes two, possible town centre locations have materialised this week. Both at ‘green shoot’ stages but I’m hopeful I can progress at least one. In typical Shrewsbury fashion, I heard about the opportunities by knowing someone, who knew someone!
Advice and reflections
Things do seem to be heading in the right direction, albeit it is a very slow process and, as with all small businesses, you have to be patient and be prepared for financial outlay before you see any significant return. One aspect which I find extremely frustrating is the amount of large companies targeting you for sales as a start-up business - using social media to try to sell their wares, usually at considerable cost. For any start up business in the initial stages, money has to be spent extremely prudently and this kind of advertising is an unhelpful distraction - it feels like corporate vultures trying to feed off me - indie businesses forever!
Later in the week, an ex-colleague, from my corporate career reached out to me to offer some advice on the new business venture. She runs her own PR consultancy, promoting alcoholic, and non-alcoholic brands and was a rich source of insight into how the market is developing.
More to come
Finally, I have been ordering more craft beer - look out for it appearing within the next couple of weeks on our online shop.
Phew, on to next week.