Hello lovely ,
As we gear up for our fifth birthday celebrations next month, I'm doing a little reflecting on where it all began and the journey we've been on over the last five years.
I had always dreamt of having my own cafe in Manchester, a place where I could bake for people
and do what I loved.
When I first saw our little cafe in the Northern Quarter, it wasn't something I was planning on doing anytime soon, or something that was on my radar (I had pictured this years away from where I was), but when I saw the space, the amazing location on Oldham Street and the potential it had, I just had to dive straight in and make it work. Huge thank you to our pals at Pop Boutique for their support at the time, and the old squad from Blue Daisy Cafe too.
Two weeks later, I had a cafe and I was a business owner!
Although I'd worked in hospitality before, for other people,
I had no plan, no money to redo things how I wanted (or much idea what I wanted),
no social media presence or PR, no time to plan or create a buzz because I needed to open in order to pay the bills, I'd never run a business before, or cooked brunch for customers.
I opened the day after I got the keys, just as the cafe was previously, for a few months until there was enough money in the till to buy some paint, and I'd had a little time to plan a new breakfast menu, and spent two days doing a pretty shoddy job of repainting and rebranding to Nibble,
and then we were open!
(If you've only been in in recent years, this is not the cafe decor you see today - that was another labour of love by us girls during the first lockdown to stop us going crazy! - told you we do everything ourselves!)
Again, there was no big buzz, no shouting about things, no-one knew who we were or what we did, I had zero understanding of the whole marketing side of things,
no PR contacts, and no confidence yet to ask other people to shout about us either
so no-one outside of our little world knew what was going on.
I am certainly not a natural sales person, so this is something I've found really hard!
So it's been a slow, but steady, journey to where we are now.
Which although was frustrating at times, particularly at the beginning when we really needed the money, has probably done us a favour, and means we have some longevity now because it's made things all that more meaningful, and we didn't have the false economy of an all singing all dancing launch period.
Over the years, things have changed organically as we've gone along.
As we've gained confidence as a team, as I've fixed all the mistakes that I made at first (there were many), as we got over the initial financial hurdles through some pretty hard graft, and as we've really got to know our customers too - we've learnt who our customers are, and what they wanted (and worked out what we were good at), and really focussed on making our experience together, as positive as possible. It's something that's continued as we've grown, and always will.
We grew and gained stability super slowly, with each customer at a time,
and that meant that to us, we appreciated each and every conversation, and each sale, because they haven't always been there.
And five years on, we survived lockdowns, we've still got our cafe, we've got an online shop too (relaunching soon!) and our own merch line.
We're busier than ever, we've got a great team, and we have a good time with our gorgeous customers. I couldn't be happier!
I can't wait to celebrate with you soon.
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See you soon,