I am so exhausted. I didn't drag my aching body out of bed until past midday and have spent most of the day on the sofa blurry eyed attempting to edit a chapter, or keep my concentration up for longer than a few minutes. I'd forgotten just what hard work it is standing up all day. I don't remember it being quite so tiring when I was at Borough. Then again, when I worked that market I hadn't spent the week beforehand putting in long days baking, preserving, designing business cards, labels and obsessing over stall layouts.
I don't think the heat helped much either!
Who's idea was it to make it the hottest day of the year when I had to stand up for eleven hours trying to sell homemade products to overheated tourists?!
Another bad picture as I didn't want to risk my camera at the market, but you get the idea of what my little stall looked like. I was expecting a double pitch and had planned the amount of stock I had accordingly, so I was a little disappointed to discover I only had one table to squeeze things onto. However, I did the best I could. I think.
The whole thing was such a learning curve, and the heat probably made the day a little unusual, but I feel like I've learnt so much. Overall I was pleased with the experience, but disappointed with the result. I know that must sound strange, but I'll explain. The response from people was wonderful, everyone was really interested in my flavour pairing, and encouraging about me trying to kick-start the From a North London Kitchen empire. Also, I couldn't believe how many people came down to show support, not only my friends (friends I hadn't seen for years who took time out of their precious lunch hours to keep me company, or friends who walked all the way from north london just to visit for half an hour, or friends who took tubes from work just to stop by) but also people from the blogging world, and the UK food bloggers association. It comfirmed what I already knew, that you lot out there are an amazing supportive bunch.
I got to meet the lovely lady of Green Ink (who was wearing the most fabulous green summer dress *want*), and soon after Julia of A Slice of Cherry Pie and Kavey of Kavey Eats bumped into each other in front of the stall. Their smiles and enthusiasm got me through the final hours, and Julia took what I'm sure are some very embarrassing photos, which she's promised to share in the next week or so. Oh dear!
I also caught up with some friends from Borough (who even let me store my leftover stock in their premises until next week, saving me a cab ride that would have left me with virtually no cash after a hard days work), and made some new ones, reminding me of the great camaraderie of the market, something that make the hard days worth it.
But, the actual selling didn't go as well as I'd hoped. The preserves went well, which is great, but the baked stuff just wasn't going. Frankly, I don't blame people as it was so unbelievably hot in the piazza that I didn't touch a bite all day and the last thing I would have wanted would have been baked stuff. However, I had spent almost fourteen hours the day before making as much as possible in fear of running out of stock and not being able to fill the space, and so going home having sold only a sixth of it was somewhat demoralising.
I'm hoping that next week it'll be cooler and people will be in the mood for some tasty goodies (well, I think they're tasty). I did speak to another trader who I know from Borough who said she just couldn't figure Covent Garden out, no week has yielded anything expected. Something that was nice to know.
So yes, there it is. A real mixed bag. I'm glad I'm doing more than one week, because I think if yesterday had been it I might have been ready to quit the whole stupid idea of starting a company. As it happens, I got enough positive feedback about my preserves, and enough people interested in my business cards, that I shall push on, try new things, and do it all over again with excitement and anticipation for the second go.
I'm mad aren't I?!