"I’m actually glad Christmas is coming up as I have time to work on things,” he admits. “My day job at the moment is really intense and I can’t balance the two things as well; it’s a real struggle to have the energy in the evenings to push myself to do more work for the business. It will help, having almost two weeks off work to focus on doing things like the website in between celebrations with family.”
In fact, the strains of balancing employment with entrepreneurship proved particularly difficult for Wood in early December, with an illness forcing him to turn down a business opportunity for Bestowed Kitchen.
“We were supposed to have an event tomorrow, a Christmas market, but I had to cancel it,” he relates. “I have to plan an event in advance in order to get all the ingredients together and at the beginning of the week I just wasn’t up to doing any of that. That’s the thing about being a small business, there’s no one else who can pick that up.”
In spite of this, Wood has still managed to make good progress on a number of projects for the catering business, particularly through creating a new batch of high-quality food photographs to highlight the company’s products.
“We did a photo shoot with our friend who’s a photographer,” he comments. “We’d already done one photo-shoot with him but it didn’t go as well as we’d hoped. There was a lot of learning to be done after that first photo shoot so we took that into this next one.”
“It’s a whole new world doing food photography,” he continues, explaining, “You’re so used to cooking for taste and actually you’ve got to approach it really differently for food photography. You don’t necessarily season everything or dress everything because the food will wilt, so you have to spray on oil or water instead so it will look glossy and last over a half-an-hour shoot. It’s those tricks that you don’t always think of.”
Beyond the shoot, Wood has also been putting plans in place for a pop-up space which the local council have agreed to lease to Bestowed Kitchen in March.
“One thing we did is to meet a local furniture designer who up-cycles furniture, taking old tables and chairs and adding fabric or patterns to change their look. We approached her to ask if she would be willing to lend us furniture for the pop-up. All of it would be for sale and we wouldn’t take a cut; she would lend us the furniture in exchange for the exposure and any sales that she gets. It’s only a two week pop-up so we don’t want to invest too much money but at the same time we want things to look as good as possible, so this was a good way of getting great furniture but not having to pay for it.”
Not content with these achievements though, Wood has set himself a number of aims for the Christmas break.
“I’m hoping to get the website up and running in the next year and that’s probably something I’ll focus on a lot over Christmas,” he states. “It’s really important to have it quite early on, especially when we’re trying to get catering events from private parties or corporations, because having a good website can help small businesses seem much bigger than they are.”
“I’ve also got another new thing coming up for the business, which is tax returns,” he adds. “They obviously need to be done by the end of January and that will be an interesting experience as I’ve never done them before, but my uncle and stepdad are accountants, so I’ve got advice around me.”
Aldermore has been delighted to see Bestowed Kitchen go from strength to strength in 2014, even winning a Waltham Forest Business Network Start-up Award, and the Bank looks forward to following the business’ progress in 2015.
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