The business of donuts, no sugar coat
Street food, pop-up bakeries and quirky cocktail bars have all started appearing with more frequency in the last few years on the foodie scene. Donuts are having a moment too; from the use of cute emoji to the kind you can actually eat, they’re everywhere.
But, a jam-filled sugar-covered donut is no longer what you need. An abundance of flavours, toppings, shapes and collections are now the norm in the donut market. And there is certainly a market there, with those managing to excel at baking the doughy delights, making a name for themselves. With Donut Week upon us, we’ve interviewed Vicky of Vicky’s Donuts, who started her stall in earnest after being made redundant. Here are her tips on making a success of a passion and always trusting your instinct…
Know your core values
I used to work for Apple and got the inside knowledge of how the company works. They make sure how they come across is on point 100% of the time. They take good care of their staff and it was eye-opening to work there.
Know the realities
There are two girls who help decorating but a lot of the time it’s just me. At the moment I work every day; I try to give myself Mondays off but I can’t help but check emails and social media. It’s probably FOMO (fear of missing out). Where I’ve worked before there’s an HR department, marketing, accounts, production. Now, everything comes down to me.
I do everything on iCal and if my iCloud broke, I’d be screwed because I do everything on there. For my website, I used Squarespace, which is really easy to use and has nice templates. To improve my site, I shut it down for a few days and tinkered around with the online shop – once I tested it a million times, I launched it. They’ve got videos that teach you how to do everything.
Payment app Stripe is really good, as it links to your online Squarespace shop. It’s like PayPal but cleverer. Everything people buy, they pay through Stripe. You can do payments over the phone, send invoices and manage orders.
Know the power of social
I really underestimated social before I started. Most customers who came to my Chatsworth Road Market stall said they found me through Instagram, and as my followers have grown, I’ve seen the sales increase. If Instagram didn’t exist, I wouldn’t have a business.
If I didn’t innovate, I’d end up doing the same old stuff. With customer emails, a million things to do in the kitchen, social media and bookkeeping, you need to schedule time in to do it.
Trust your instincts
I’d say that the most important advice I’d give is to have the confidence to do it. I am in a position where it was make or break for me; if I still had my job I wouldn’t have pushed as hard. And nail your product. So many people are starting small businesses, and it’s really competitive. I hate the idea of someone saying it’s not well made, so I try really hard to make donuts people can’t find fault with. I found my niche doing more visual stuff, so I’d say find that niche and go with it and make sure you like it. If I listened to those people who told me to make gluten free donuts, I would hate my business.
Following these six tips will help you to get your small business off the ground, be it with donuts or dark chocolate.