Every year I come up with a list of things that I want to accomplish. Often the list is made up of new things to learn and challenges that push me out of my comfort zone. For 2014, running my own pop up shop tops the list. Back in summer, I had a false start and sadly put away my plans. A few weeks ago, all the stars aligned and I am excited to announce that Candy By Candy is up and running! It is with great pleasure that I invite you to drop by online or at my first market at Stratus Vineyard’s Kristlemas Market on December 14!
For my first foray of pop up shop, naturally I go with what I do best: handmade candies and chocolate treats. I’ve been honing my confectionery skills for years but I made improvements by leaps and bounds in the last 12 months. For every batch of candies that I made, I kept detail notes on every aspect but especially how well they were received. But product development is only a small fraction of the entrepreneurial experience.
It’s not as simple as making a whole lot of candies in my home kitchen and finding people to buy them. In Ontario, there are laws to follow. My biggest challenge was to find an affordable commercial kitchen to make all those candies. I was fortunate to find several sources and Manning Canning Kitchens offers exactly what I need. In the booking process, I also completed my YorkSafe food handler certification and ironed out my insurance coverage.
Why I chose Gathering Niagara’s Kristlemas Market? The organizer behind Gathering Niagara is an acquaintance I met through mutual friend and she follows my baking adventures at Dessert By Candy for some time. Her enthusiasm for bringing the community together is infectious. It is always a pleasure to correspond with her. She’s been so patient with all my questions.
Building my internet presence is another necessity. A website, Facebook page, twitter account, and online store all came together within weeks thanks in large part of the skills I learned from years of blogging. Things are not as fancy as they can be but all the crucial information are available to potential customers.
Sourcing ingredients and packaging material is also important. I am happy that B2BWraps offers all the bags, boxes, and ribbons that I would ever want at affordable prices for (really) small business like mine. It was a bit of an organizational jigsaw puzzle for me to figure out what I need based on my production projection. But now that all the items are safely in my hands, I can’t wait to fill the bags and boxes with treats!
Of course a store cannot go without a point-of-sale system. With the convenience of Square, I can manage my inventory, register, and invoicing with ease. Best of all, I can take credit card payment with just a swap of a card! All of these are important yet error-prone tedious tasks that small business owners face. Hurray to technology! Without it, I doubt I can run a one-man show like I am trying to do.
Last but not least, I’ll get to have some fun setting up my booth at the market. Since I manage my budget judiciously, I try to use as many decor items from my home as possible. The aluminum folding table I purchased for Diner En Blanc will once again earn its keep. Platters, signs, labels, cashbox are either borrowed from friends or found in my own collection. Next week I will set up a mock booth at home and play around with the decor. That will be fun.
Bringing Candy By Candy pop up store to reality may not be all smooth sailing but definitely a cherished experience. Who knows, perhaps it will lead to something bigger in future? I look forward to make the jump from digital presence to connect with you through delicious candies and chocolates that you can taste.