Apologies must be made for the lateness of this post. It has been MANIC! But that is no excuse for my poor attendance record and I hope you can all find it in your heart to forgive my blogging laziness.
But wait until you hear what we have been up to.
Actually we haven’t been up to much so far in 2013. Not in terms of getting in front of people and making tasty teas for lots of lovely Teabirds, which has made me a bit sad.
We have only been ticking over with our regular markets and the online stuff – which is starting to see a boost from all the people who found some Bluebird tea in their Christmas stocking and are coming back for more, which makes me happy.
We have a new newsletter called ‘The Bluebird Daily’ which you can take a peak at here if you so wish, and subscribe to it too if you so wish… if you’re a customer you have probably already had it but it seems to be going to some peoples junk boxes! Pesky technology!
Anyway, what else have we been doing? Well we have been ‘incubating’ (please excuse the ridiculous terminology here) and it has been an insightful but stressful time indeed.
For anyone who doesn’t know about incubating it’s just posh business jargon for taking a time out. Usually in a glamorous boardroom with industry experts and mentors to figure out what you are trying to achieve and how to achieve it going forward.
I guess it’s like an intensive health check for your business and you are supposed to come out with a full fitness plan for the next year or however long.
There are loads of companies that offer this service at a quite hefty price tag but we did it classic Bluebird style and rented a room in a rundown office block in a rundown area and locked ourselves in with nothing but a kettle, a small electric heater and huge floor to ceiling whiteboards on each wall.
It hasn’t been quite idyllic, partly because of the barbwire and double metal shutters, partly because there is a local street fighting club who train in the car park outside our window so every day at 12pm we are serenaded by shouts and grunts to the effect of: ‘Your not done yet lad, get yourself off the floor and pump that iron’, or my favourite is ‘pain is only temporary, quitting lasts a lifetime’.
We have been into the very depths of our souls searching for answers to questions that we weren’t expecting to have to answer so soon and it has been a little overwhelming at times.
We have been trying to further define the ‘why’ behind our ‘what’ and make sure that it speaks clearly to our customers. We have been trying to drill down into the assumptions we base our decisions upon and how reliable the evidence is that we use to support those assumptions and decisions. We have been trying to analyse and predict trends and customer behaviour as well as their wants and needs.
I warned you about the head hurt.
After all we started off just giving people good tea to try and spread some happiness.
It sort of feels like we started off pushing a steam train along a track with our own bare hands and that it has recently started running away full steam while we chase along behind trying to jump on board!
The really exciting thing to share with you is our experience with Dragon’s Den Nottingham. Now before you get carried away we didn’t meet Theo and we didn’t get onto the TV! But we did enter the local Nottingham version and we did get shortlisted.
So two weeks ago we went along to a very posh boardroom and pitched to 6 Nottingham business dragons. We prepared our Strawberry Lemonade iced tea which went down a storm and within 5 minutes the planned pitch had gone out of the window as we frantically tried to answer questions being fired from all over the room!
We walked out with 3 offers of mentoring and an offer for investment as well as being told we stood a good chance of winning the prize grant money.
It was an excellent experience, if a little daunting and the enthusiasm we received has only fuelled our passion and determination further.
In the end we did win a lovely novelty cheque (and a smaller real one!) and went back to visit The Nottingham who hosted and sponsored the event to serve up teas to their lovely staff.
We are now planning what to do with our grant monies but on the list is an application to The Great Taste Awards to try and get our amazing teas some much deserved awards too, a replacement for good old Edward (our midi van) who is falling apart at the seams, a bit of professional tweaking to the website and some product promotional photography to use on the website and to try and get us some press attention.
All in all it has been a good 2013 so far, but it is flying by super-fast! Spring is already on its way .. yippee.. which reminds me we have already developed over 20 new teas set to be launched at various times this year. There are some absolute beauTEAs (!) that I can’t wait to get on sale for you Teabirds.. the Spring Collection will be on sale towards the end of March but a sneak peak just for you is below:
Love + Tea