This post is really for a record for myself about how things are progressing with my baking business, but if anyone is interested.....
A while ago I wrote about "Starting small" with regards to a new baking business that I eventually hope to get off the ground properly. I have continued to provide the new local produce shop with cookies and on days like today I think that perhaps it could eventually work out to be a good business.
Basically at the moment I am trying different things and seeing how people in the countryside respond to them. I've always known that the biggest problem I will always have is that if I want to sell in my immediate area I am aiming at an elderly market who is not particular good at trying new things. At the same time I've always been confident that if they actually try some of the things I am making they will come back for more. In the beginning I found the people in the shop a little frustrating as they would ask me to bring cookies to sell, but then I would find that they had displayed them in an area that no one sees at all. Slowly I have been talking with them and we now have a good thing going. They (usually) display my things in a good area and they also call me when the cookies are getting low and give me information about what people are saying about them. Because I sell on commission I don't want to make too many and have to bring them all home again (although my children don't complain when this happens!).
Basically I aim to make cookies once a week on a Thursday and take them on Friday mornings ready for the weekend "rush". Which brings me to today... I took some cookies this morning which would usually last most of the week and then this afternoon I got a phone call to say that they had sold half of them already so could I please make some more to sell in the weekend. I'm not talking about hundreds of packets and millions of yen - this morning I took 24 packs, but it is promising to have them sell so fast.
What is also promising is that the majority of the cookies that were sold today were to people who had been given them by other people and liked them so much that they came back for more. There have also been people who have walked past my house to climb the mountain and called out to me that they have my cookies in their bag to sustain them on their trip. Others have gone into the local shop and asked when a specific kind would be back in stock.
Another problem that I have with cookies here is the humidity... keeping cookies crisp is a huge challenge! But interestingly enough the staff at the shop today said that one of the reasons the older people are coming back for more is that their initial image of cookies was that they were very hard, but when they tried mine they liked them because they were a little soft... I guess sometimes things that appear to be problems are actually not!
My most popular cookies at the moment are Oatmeal & Raisin, and Cinnamon Roll. The other main ones I make are Chocolate Nut and Chocolate Chip with the odd gingerbread man thrown in when I can be bothered!