Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come!
I’ve thought about having my own market stall for over a year now. At this point I was still in my full time job but was really getting into healthy alternative cooking, experimenting with veganism, grain free options and using lots of new ingredients. I loved (and still do!) hosting parties and would often rather have people over than go out for meals, each time searching for new recipes and creating new flavours. So I wanted to share my passion with the world and Duckpond market (that is local to us and frequently visited) is where we wanted to start. Back then I had a completely different menu in mind for the market and that is all I had. I had no idea what it would take, how to do it and where to start. First stop, I checked what the requirements were to be a market stall trader. I needed to write to the council for approval and to request an inspection. For various reasons that I didn’t quite understand at the time, I immediately hit a brick wall. Frustrated!!! It seemed it was not going to be as easy as I thought. There were too many boxes to tick and I didn’t have the drive or time to persevere. I left the idea to the side and continued to pursue my fitness qualification.
Months after, having left my profession and choosing health and fitness fulltime, our grain free granola became a business idea born out of one friend requesting I make her a batch. Others who tried it, liked it too. This inspired me to create new flavours. We were onto something it seemed.
Then out of nowhere I received an email from the council. It was the Environmental Health Officer saying he had just replaced his predecessor and taken over the role. He asked if we were we still interested in starting our own business and if so we should get in touch. So I replied (of course!!!) and we arranged a visit. He was nice, had a different take on things, very encouraging and so pleasant to deal with it. That was the start of all good things food related!!!! The ball was rolling, the doors were slowly opening…. Its so funny how things happen….
We had a lot to do to before the inspection. I remember preparing for it. I read and reread the food safety manual. Our main priority was granola and ensuring that we met all the standards – hygiene, food safety, labelling and packaging requirements. We created our brand Asili and the business was registered. The inspector came round for the inspection, it went seemingly well. We did good, very well in fact!!!
What next? We revisited the idea of being at a market, selling our granola. Now was the opportunity to also maybe showcase some of our favourite vegan delights. But would we be accepted?
I applied to Duckpond market. There were certain criteria to get in. The market focuses on local, ethical and sustainable products and so the organisers handpick the traders. I sent in my application and some photos I had taken of vegan treats that I would like to display. They accepted us!!! I was over the moon. I replied instantly, being in Kenya at the time, requesting to be at the next Foodies Market. This meant that as soon as we got back to London, we would have only a total of 10 days to prepare and get everything ready for the market.
Thinking back to the time when I first applied to the council, we weren’t ready for this venture then.
I realize now that everything has its own time and course. It came to us when it was supposed to and when we were ready to take it on.
Its funny how things happen….