So I'm thinking that I should really be doing more blogging to share some of what Ten Mile life has been like so far, but that surely requires a sound grasp of the English language & something interesting to say doesn't it? For these two reasons I am not 100% sure if this is the right thing to do!
But never mind, we'll give it a go. Especially as for me (I'm Steve by the way) it's been a cracking journey so far, even Mrs Ten Mile claims she enjoyed working (all 4 days) of what should have been a well deserved Easter weekend off at the Gt Missenden food festival!
Here's a brief summary of our first 12 weeks then...
January = our month one & everyone's post-Christmas blues. We didn't think spending pots of cash on advertising saying we exist would cheer you up much so decided to keep a low profile. So it was a slow start learning about how websites actually work, how often Landrovers decide they don't like water (to be fair, it was only once) & how you can butcher a massive leg of lamb to fit in a customers table-top oven. Impressive & very important stuff.
By this point I realised that I'd landed on my feet working with the producers that were already on board with Ten Mile Menu - not only did they deliver a great product, they were super-passionate, very friendly & above all very supportive in helping Ten Mile get off the ground - for example, calling Made by Mums Lucy at 9pm to say I've forgotten that I need 4 pieces of chocolate & pecan brownie for 8am the next day clearly wasn't ideal for her! Especially when she makes them in batches of 12... To her & everyone else's credit, I am not sure we've let a customer down yet.
February. We told people we'd arrived through leaflet drops & an online competition ran via Hero Brown's super successful 'blogazine' 'Muddy Stilettos' - blimey! Over 300 people signed up to our newsletter & business began to feel like, well, a real business. Now this was worrying, hard work (and potentially very hard work) seemed to be just around the corner, the few months previous of 'planning & strategy' felt like a holiday. Speaking of which, are now out of the question for the foreseeable!
In reality we were delighted, it was great to be genuinely busy with a business dreamt up only a few months previous, in my darkest moments I wondered if I really had written an entire business plan based around being able to wear wellies, a flat cap & drive a defender!
Early feedback on our concept was great, and more importantly, feedback on the food was excellent (well, apart from a few incidents, including me missing a pack of sausages in one delivery because I'd mistakenly given them to the vegetarian earlier in the day...) Lesson learnt = vegetarians do not eat meat, Steve must read more, occasionally whilst standing or sitting still.
We'd averaged over 2 deliveries per day by the time the month ended, so very pleased with that - a good, solid start to life on the road in the Ten Mile truck (and here it is by the way...)
March turned out to be even more like running a proper business, and, more memorably, it was bloody cold! And definitely not as warm as the office I'd left last Autumn. Lesson learnt = even farmers need to moisturise sometimes. I like to think of myself as more of a farmer you see, even though in reality I am probably a delivery driver.
We'd now delivered to over 100 customers, many of them on several occasions - this is definitely a good thing we thought, not having a day off all month was met with less certainty.
The month also included the Gt Missenden Easter food festival (see Mrs TMM in action pic above) very busy & great to see so many familiar faces given how young the business is - many of you had 'spotted' me tearing about avoiding potholes in the Ten Mile truck. Hmmm, potholes. Lesson learnt = I dislike potholes more than anything else I can think of.
So the Ten Mile journey continues, April has already seen me give a 30min talk to the Bucks Federation WI as part of their 2013 resolution on the decline of our High Streets, then Monday 15th sees/saw us on Marlow FM talking to Donna Thacker (Ten Mile customer, Food Expert & Radio Presenter, in that order please). We've also launched the Ten Mile Tasting Club with a competition to create the greatest sausage in South Bucks, and possibly the world... see here for details. And if that wasn't enough, as I'm tapping away we've been not only nominated, but shortlisted for the Muddy Stilettos Awards 2013 in the 'Best Online Retailer Category' - we need your votes to be in with a chance of winning, so click here & do us proud!
Before we forget, a word of warning... now the weather it is threatening to behave as it should do at this time of year, we're putting the finishing touches to a range of Ten Mile BBQ boxes. They are going to be 'even the moody neighbour wants to be your friend' epic. Just so you know.
Oh, and despite having warned Mrs Ten Mile months ago about the Masters golf starting on Thursday 11th, it turned out I attended the Vale Harvest committee meeting in Haddenham that evening. How quickly things have changed. At least the flat cap & wellies have worked better than the old suit in this weather...