Tell me about your role – what does a typical day look like for you?
I am the founder and CEO and my day varies a great deal according to the focus of the business at the time. We are currently crowdfunding the finance we require to open our next two sites so my day at present is dealt with managing our campaign and the marketing and PR required to support it. We are about to refurbish and expand our first site in St Pancras, which is a complicated project as we are undertaking structural work in a grade 1 listed building that also happens to be a fully functioning international train station, so there are a lot of parties involved.
We are at an advanced stage of the design process for our second site in Marylebone so I am working closely with our designers, project manager and landlord and the design process for our third site has recently started so I am liasing with a different design company and a different landlord on this project. Until recently I have been working very closely with our buyer, Anna, on Christmas products but now that’s complete we’re looking at the new products we will be bring in post refurb and for our second site.
This is part of the business I love and I taste every product that we introduce. With our head chef we are also working on a new menu for next year which is very exciting. On an ongoing basis I work very closely with our operations director and general managers to ensure we deliver the quality of product and customer service that we set out to. We also have monthly board meetings with our board and VC investor.
Who are your biggest competitors?
Sourced Market is unique in that have created a unique niche and we have no direct competitors – no-one offers the range of products that we do in the same format. We do however have lots of competition for the various elements of our offer – great coffee shops, bakeries, delis, wine bars, bottle shops; even M&S Simply, Benugos and Pret in some areas.
Tell me about your clients – who purchases your products?
Everyone who loves good food, which these days I’m happy to say is a very broad demographic. Our customers are everyone from bearded CAMRA members from the Midlands to Central St Martins art students, famous food journalists to Essex PR girls instagramming our new products, French people buying English cheese to take on the Eurostar back home to American tourists keen to try a Scotch egg.
How do you use social media? Does it help you engage with your client base?
We use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to engage with our customers and update them on new products and exciting developments within our business. We started with twitter and have 20,000 followers now and this has been great as we get instant feedback so we can react very quickly to both good (eg positive feedback on a new product) and bad (eg a customer has a disappointing experience that we have an opportunity to turn around). Facebook is having less value as they have changed their business model which now means to have to pay to reach more than a fraction of your audience but we are enjoying huge growth on Instagram as people’s appetites for drooling over food born seem insatiable!