Happy New Year! 🥰
We wish you a fantastic 2022 from all of us at your favourite female run cafe, filled with lots of laughter, opportunity, good times, happiness, far less covid, and loads more shopping with independent local businesses!
I think we've had enough restrictions to last a lifetime over the past two years, so new year's resolutions can bugger off!
What a bloody year it's been…
It started pretty shit, in Tier 4 restrictions, which for small hospitality businesses like ours was not ideal in the slightest.
I spent my New Year's Eve, slowly (lie) getting pissed with Zoe on zoom. Let's face it. the two of us could make fun in a cardboard box and neither of us are strangers to drinking at home. It was actually lovely!
A few days later, we went into our third national lockdown which was even worse!
As a solo female business owner, I was completely exhausted and burnt out, spending the previous 9 months saving the business and rolling with the punches, changing how we did business at the drop of a hat, while juggling my own personal struggles caused by covid and lockdowns.
We took January off, closing our Manchester cafe, and online cake shop, to regroup and come back fighting fit.
But it was hard to stop…
We'd worked years in the hospitality industry, running around Manchester serving brunch, and we didn't know what to do when we couldn't do it. It was a low point, I was super stressed and I lost the plot. It was cold and miserable and we couldn't go anywhere or do anything.
I did teach my stepson how to make a banging G&T though!
I started an online course on marketing and mindset and joined the Flourish community, alongside other women in business. I had bugger all else to do so I might as well try and learn something.
And hurrah - I got my mojo back! Thank you Holly Wood.
We got the online shop back up and running with our handmade gluten free brownies, vegan scones and muffins, and loads of other cakes and sweet treats, and we focussed on this, with UK delivery, and doing it better, every time. It by no means made us millionaires, but it did bridge the gap a little between losing money while being closed, and losing a shit tonne of money, it gave us that purpose we needed, it kept us in your minds, and stopped our independent cafe from closing!
There were Valentine's Day edible gifts, Mother's Day afternoon teas, Easter creme egg brownies, and more! Each shop got better and more popular than the last, and we could now send chilled packages all over the UK with Woolcool packaging!
And then lockdown ended. 🥳
And the pubs opened! Woo hoo! I definitely cried over that first pint. (And that first hangover.)
By this point we were down to just Zoe and I (it's a good job we love each other) left in our girl gang, but we reopened on the 15th April and we were able to bring back the lovely Freya. We'd gone from three sites to one (we used to have two sites at Manchester university too!) but we couldn't wait to get back to work and lose that lockdown weight.
We were reunited with our gorgeous regulars on Oldham Street, and we met some of our new lockdown friends too. We were home, sweet, home, and back slinging brunches and breakfasts!
Of course, there was a recruitment crisis in hospo.
Why wouldn't there be?
We battled it out, day after day, until eventually, we found our Nell!
And then there was four.
And before we knew it, we hit Nibble's fourth birthday on July 12th.
Woo hoo - we made it to another milestone for our little indie biz!
The four of us worked our asses off, and month after month, more of you came in. Focussing on only having the one site, and channelling all our energies, meant we could refine what we did, how we did it, how we wanted to work, and what our message is, and how we told our story, and it was working.
We smashed figures from previous years, with each month busier than the last, making more brownies, serving more Not Just Avocado on toasts and more meaty, vegan and veggie brekkies than ever before. Although it wasn't easy...
We got pinged, and we isolated, and we closed, and we did it all again.
There was a mad week when poor Zoe had to open on her own because the rest of us couldn't work. But as always, we do what needs to be done.
It was a mad summer.
Our outside seating was full, and the buzz around the cafe and Manchester City centre in general was bloody lovely.
We started supplying cake wholesale to 53Two!
We got our hair cut! It was about time.
I finally saw my family, and went to gig! It was all very exciting.
We basked in the sun outside at closing time and watched the world go by.
We needed a fifth member of the girl band... Helloooo Aston!
I got a business mentor too (remember Holly I mentioned earlier?) and started planning to take over the world (dramatic much?) with our Christmas preorders.
We designed our GIRLS CAN DO F*CKING ANYTHING tote bags, tea towels and post cards, and started selling those too. They arrived just in time for Christmas and you loved our female friendly merch!
It's even imprinted into the floor at 53Two.
We appeared in two online articles about women in business, one print, plus ads all over Stylist Magazine.
(And there's still more to come!) - this was pretty major for a small business like ours, and such an honour!
Our festive shop was our most successful yet, with handmade Christmas puddings, cakes for all dietary requirements, breakfast in bed pancake boxes and Christmas morning hampers complete with handmade goodies from us and other independent businesses, and despite a few close calls (none of it our fault!), we managed to get all our courier orders and collections to you on time, and we loved seeing how happy they made you when you posted on the socials and left reviews where you could.
Another year with many peoples' festive plans cancelled due to covid, and it became pretty easy for forget all the good things that happened this year and what we achieved.
But now I'm looking back, we've actually achieved an awful lot despite the rough times, and I couldn't be prouder of all of us and how our little team has bonded together into something truly special.
Thank you, for another year of love, support, online orders, cafe visits and friendship. We couldn't have, and wouldn't have wanted to, do it without you.
Whatever happens in 2022, we're ready for it.
It's been an absolute pleasure, and we can't wait for more good times with you now that we are BACK OPEN at our Northern Quarter cafe after our festive break.
Lots of love,
Lauren and the girls at Nibble xx