I managed to rope in a good friend of mine, Chrissy, into this business venture. She's also a great baker, and is planning on opening up her own cafe in Seattle when she returns there for good in July (bummer for me, awesome for her).
We met with two cafes on December 21st, The Beehive in Chiswick & The Milestone Cafe in Sheen, and had 9 baked items for them to sample. The items included: Buttermilk Orange Cranberry & Currant Scones, Blueberry Muffins, Double Chocolate Pecan Biscotti, Buttermilk 'American' Cinnamon Buns, Cranberry Pecan 'Coffee' Cake, Vanilla Rum Tea Cakes, Cinnamon Sour Cream Muffins, To.Die.For double chocolate chip cookies (seriously TDF), and Raspberry Bars. All items received rave reviews from the owners, staff, and customers.
We are now planning to meet up again with the cafes to review the items against the cafes current 'line-up', discuss pricing, and also understand what other products they might be interested in that weren't part of our samples. We also suggested to do a one week trial of a selection of our baked goods to see what their regular customers like and identify which items were the biggest sellers.
Chrissy and I need to think about what we really want out of this venture, as it's becoming very apparent that there is a very large market just waiting for us out there (should we so desire to tap it).
This is, of course, due to my wonderful friends out here in London who are putting me in contact with all of their favorite cafes that, they believe, would love our home baked goods (i'm beyond touched that they think that highly of me and my baked goods...you have no idea!).
Our next steps will be working with the cafes to identify which products they'd like to do the trial with, decide the pricing, and choose a timeframe to do the trial. Once that's nailed down, we will wait and see how the products sell to see about a possible future. Should we be so lucky as to have the cafes want to bring us on suppliers, our next steps will be to drum up some more local business with other cafes and begin thinking about expanding our operations (looking for commercial kitchen space, hiring folks, etc.). VERY exciting stuff...stay tuned!