HonestlyLucy – Hitting the Market?

baking, blog, career, childline, cookies, cooking, cupcakes, doughnuts, festivals, lifestyle, naughtiness, naughty recipes, nottingham, wellbeing

Recently I’ve been having a think about my career, and whether or not I’m on the path I want to be on. Not headache inducing at all, she says, words dripping with the thickest sarcasm known to man. The thing is I do enjoy my job. I like the team I work with and I’m pretty lucky to be given some quite cool opportunities. I’ve been working in my role for about 2 years and I like to think I’m pretty damn good at it. It’s taught me an awful lot about working in an office and at events, the importance of details and the art of juggling professionalism with a ‘quirky’ personality; and I’m really grateful for all of that. The thing is, as much as all of those statements are true, my job is largely an admin role, and it’s not really what I did my degree for. At uni I studied Psychology with English Literature, whilst volunteering as a counsellor at Childline and an assistant at The Stroke Association’s weekly group meetings; whilst also being a programme rep for both the Psychology department and the English department. It was hectic but I really, really loved it. I’m used to having a billion and one things to juggle, and right now I only have a couple, and it’s starting to make me itch. So it’s time for a new challenge.

The idea of selling the things I bake has been loitering around the jumble sale that is the back of my mind for months now. I’ve even got a food standards agency certificate for my kitchen to prove it – 5 stars I’ll have you know! I just haven’t known where to start. The closest I’ve ever got to studying business is watching The Apprentice, and I’m fairly confident that Sir Alan has no interest in my cookie topped brownies. I’ve had fleeting thoughts about maybe applying for a stall at Summer food festivals, which I’ve then shooed away. I’ve attended enough of those to know that they get busy as all hell, and I don’t know that I’m quite ready for that yet.

I’ve worked enough manically hectic Christmases in a discount store to know how to handle a queue of customers – I ain’t scared! The retail side of things I can solidly say, I have down – references upon request. It’s more the production I’m concerned about. How much of everything do I need to bake? Do I buy boxes to put customer’s stuff in, or are bags better? Do I need an adapter for my phone so I can take card payments? I have been knocking around good old planet Earth for long enough now to know that these are the kinds of questions that can only be answered with experience. I’ve also picked up and dropped enough hobbies to know that it’s all too easy to end up severely out of pocket with not a great deal to show for it if you move too fast, too soon. And hello, I’m a broke millennial, I ain’t got time for that!

When I first moved to Nottingham, Andy discovered a company called Phat Doughnuts (which swiftly changed to The Nottingham Doughnut Company after a few name related legal implications). Their premise was essentially: doughnuts on delivery. We ordered from them for my birthday one year and fell in love. In addition to the delivery service, they traded at local markets. That company eventually grew into a pretty massive business success story. Within about 18 months, they went from delivering doughnuts by hand, to running a hugely successful store and having several employees. These days I am 100% convinced that they are the sole reason I will never be a size 8. Seriously. If you’re ever in Nottingham you absolutely NEED to track them down and try one. Anyway, I find their story really inspiring. They really did start from nothing and build what has the potential to be an empire. Far be it for me to assume that every story will be as successful as theirs – this much I have learned from Sir Alan. But it certainly gives me food for thought – no pun intended. Ok, pun definitely intended.

So I had a think about the local markets they used to trade at, and paid a visit to the vegan version of Sneinton market which takes place on the first Saturday every month. I imagine the vegan market is a bit smaller than the regular market, but visiting helped me to realise that it’s not out of my reach. With all of that in mind, I’ve just submitted my application to trade there, which feels very bizarre. I’ll have to wait to hear back of course – maybe they have no use for yet another baked goods stand? But if they do, I shall be sure to blog about it.

 

 

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The Phat Doughnut Co. – Nottingham

doughnuts, food, naughtiness, reviews


 The Phat Doughnut Co., had caused Mr Boyfriend and I to lust and drool over their doughnut porn pics on Facebook for weeks, but until April this year we hadn’t bought any for lack of a good reason to put ourselves in sugar induced comas. I’m seriously almost fearful that I now live within reach of a doughnut delivery service. Yup, Phat’s handily(/dangerously), deliver doughnuts right to your door. In fact, their delivery service is the foundation of their business, because they don’t have a retail outlet (yet!).

However, April rolled around and Mr Boyfriend decided to surprise me with a box on my birthday – because if you can’t make terrible nutritional decisions on your birthday, when CAN you?! So here goes the review:

The Phat Doughnut Co. – Nottingham

Delivery Service – 1/5

The Phat Doughnut Co. are very new to the market – literally in their opening quarter, yet their business has sky rocketed. Phat’s is a two man operation, and as such those two men are very, very busy little bees. Our delivery wasn’t without a couple of hiccups. First they arranged a delivery for a day that they had already scheduled to be at a food festival – something my boyfriend realised after seeing them advertise their presence at the food festival on Facebook. He’s a chilled out guy, and rearranged the delivery for 7pm Saturday. We’re still none the wiser as to why the delivery turned up at 2pm Saturday, but luckily we were in to accept it. The cold hearted, Hillary Duvey in me wants to chastise their poor business practise and sneer about how simple it is to get hold of an hour by hour diary. The empathic former counsellor in me however, realises that they’re a brand new company who have had far more success than they anticipated in a very short amount of time, and are learning how to be the best that they can be. We all make mistakes, right?!

Taste: 3/5

Hit and miss. Certain flavours such as lemon meringue and peanut butter and jelly stood out from anything Krispy Kreme have to offer, and made me contemplate a long, healthy life VS a life of eating doughnuts all day every day. This enormous high was unfortunately let down by the s’mores doughnut, which was literally just a plain doughnut topped with chocolate glaze and a single marshmallow on top. I mean for God’s sake, the marshmallow hadn’t even been toasted! Do they know nothing of the sacred practise of s’mores making?! Whether or not it’s because we’re on UK shores and s’mores still aren’t really a ‘thing’ over here, I’m not sure, but I just remember being really disappointed by this one. Similarly, the white chocolate and cookie crumble had a thin layer of white chocolate flavoured icing and a small pinch of finely crushed cookie crumbs on top. I mean, technically, yes, it’s a white chocolate and cookie crumb doughnut, but when something has such a mouth watering title, you kind of hope for more. A white chocolate ganache centre swirled with cookie butter maybe?

Appearance: 5/5

Like a fat kid’s dream. Huge doughnuts with shiny glaze. No frills or fanciness, just good old doughnuts. I loved it. In a world of precious cupcakes so daintily decorated you don’t know if to eat them or put them on the mantel piece, it’s nice to have a treat you can just shove in your gob and greedily enjoy.

Dough: 5/5

Basically perfect. I really can’t say much more. Perfect density, well cooked, not too greasy – truly scrumptious!

Total Average Score: 2.8/5

Would I order from Phat’s again? Absolutely. Will it be in the next few months? Definitely not. I genuinely believe that the problems highlighted in my review are the results of a lack of experience and an unexpectedly successful launch. I’d imagine that over the next year the bakers behind the doughnuts will tighten their admin, take on board the feedback given to them on Facebook and grow more creatively in flavouring their doughnuts.  I hope they do, because if they can do that, I really do think they have a heck of a lot of potential. Watch this space, doughnut lovers!