Thursday, 16 April 2009

Hello again!

I seem to spend the first few lines of each blog apologising for the length of time it has taken between posts. In the run up to opening last Friday it seemed that there were fewer hours in the day. Quite often I would think about what I would like to write, but didn't seem to get time to log on and write it down.

But - we finally made it, we are open for business - on time, not quite on budget. We put everything we had into it physically, financially - even down to using picture frames off our walls at home.

The week before we opened was hectic. I wanted to write on the Thursday night before we opened how it had been a time for unsung heroes, for people who put themselves out in order to help us to achieve our goals. Without their help we would not have managed and be a snivelling heap in a corner!

The Friday went well. Two of our local councillors cut the ribbon and presented prizes for our 'Design An Easter Egg Competition'. It was quite a busy day and we were relieved to have it under our belts. The weekend was quiet after that, but it gave us time to recoup and think about what to do next.

Now the centre is complete we can start to advertise. Rent-a-crowd came over the other day so we could take photos for advertising. The photos here are from that session. Watching Kev working has proved very popular. People seem to be very interested in how chocolate is made and they are genuinely amazed when they realise it is all done by hand.

The displays are all finished bar one. The process of making chocolate was photographed the night before the opening, printed and laminated on the morning of the opening, with people running up and down the corridor so I could put them up. In the end, they were in the wrong order - no surprise, but it's all sorted out now!

The shop is all kitted out now and full of chocolate. We had a shuffle round yesterday to rearrange what goes where. Today we had a visit from Trading Standards - Weights and Measures, which was very scary. They were nice people and we know what we need to do now. We have had an excellent response to our products and pricing which is reassuring. The marshmallows are proving particularly popular!

Some of the models felt a little self conscious having their photos taken, not that it shows here. The wedding cakes are getting lots of 'wows' when people go into the celebration room. Having premises will make a massive difference to our wedding work - we have taken a wedding order every day for the last three days. I don't think we can continue to take an order every day, but I would like to!

Ros is clearly a natural model demonstrating the delights of our chocolate bouquets. These are unusual, but again, seem to be getting a good reception.

I have saved the best photo for last. This really sums up what we are all about. If we can make someone smile, if we create an experience or a memory, then we have done our job well.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Sorry it's been so long!

Much of the work that has happened over the last couple of weeks has been itty bitty work that hasn't been photographable. We have also been getting ready for the Moray Wedding Exhibition which happened last Sunday. Photos of the event will be published soon at

It's now only 10 days until we open and there is still alot of work to do. Kev has finished panelling in the door and has painted it. He cut down a piece of glass from the dismantled unit which I have painted. Kev has now installed it over the door. It's a nice touch for the entrance.

What a nice photo of Kev!

Gillian has been over with us today and been a huge help. We sorted out the packaging area. We now have a packing table made with some work surface from the mart and wood from the reclamation yard. It is custom made for us, so anyone under 5 feet tall will be under the bench!

Everything now has a place and has been put away which makes stock control far easier. It means that the chocolates will be made in the production area, packed in the packaging area - all in the one space, and then through to the retail area.

Kev has cleaned down the production area ready to start making chocolates tomorrow. We have written a press release which will be put out tomorrow, both to local and national press. We open on Good Friday (10 days - aaaargh!), but we are holding a special open day for the press next Wednesday (even less time - double aaargh!)

This area is now complete and we have put a list together of what needs to be done over the next two weeks to make sure we are ready on time. Rebecka and George are off school for these two weeks so are being put to good use. They spent some time this afternoon planting flowers outside this afternoon. We'll finish off tomorrow and take a photo.

It still feels a bit of a building site, but we have made good progress today. Tomorrow brings new jobs and probably new challenges as well.