Every Wednesday for the past several weeks, I have gone up to the Barnesdale Park Farmers Market in Hollywood. I meet my friends Sage and Sonny Sehmi. They own Ma Jasmins, gourmet Indian food with British infusion. Their business have been open just over 2 ½ months and considered a start up business just like my company Wild Beauty. We look forward to meeting each other, talking about our small businesses, offering advice and suggestions.
No small business is an island. We should communicate with each other. This in my opinion is what small business owners don’t do enough. Before I opened my pop up, Sage and Sonny were kind enough to let me observe them interact with their customers. Dealing with the unplanned crisis that came up and thinking on their feet. It’s helped me tremendously.
An ambulance medic came and talked to us. His roommate from Guam wants to open a business at a farmer’s market creating cuisine from home country. I forgot to ask for name. He asked Sehmi a lot of questions about getting started. What was the cost for a license and insurance? The one statement he kept repeating was “Now isn’t a good time. It’s too late (in the year to start the business)”. Sehmi and I replied, “No!”
If you keep saying it’s not the right time, it’s not the right time. It will never be the right time because you have trepidation. I remember I pushed back the opening of my business three times. I kept saying I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready. Sehmi did the same thing. They pushed back their grand opening twice. We were ready but afraid.
Sage, Sonny and I are learning as we go just like everyone else and share our experiences both positive and negative with each other. We take notes each day and go over it at night. We take notes every time we vend and go over them at night. The Pop Up Store Chronicles are created from my notes.
Research: Before opening their farmer’s market store, Sage and Sonny went to several other farmers market to see what other vendors were doing first. They camped out and buy food from their competition. Counted how many people came by. How much each person bought and how much they were charging, if they gave away free samples. What they did and said.
Do your legal research of the industry you choose. It would be disheartening to spend all that money and close doors all the way because you skipped a few regulations. True story, a coffee stand had to close down in one of the farmer’s market (I won’t say which one). Had a line a customers waiting but because they had let their license expire, the inspector shut them down and told them to come back when they had their new license. The coffee stand lost a lot of money that day.
Honesty: If you have an idea or make a product or whatever it is. You need someone to be honest with you. Get advice from people outside your family, because a stranger will be more honest than your family.
Know Your Product/Service: If someone woke you up in the middle of the night and asked what your business is or what your product does, you have an answer ready. You don’t even need to think because you know every aspect.
Be Nice: You never know where you next referral came from or who knows who. I met Elson Trinidad. He’s one of Ma Jasmin’s regular customers and also forming an organic farmers co-op. People from the neighborhood I live in can buy a small plot for $50.00 a year and learn how to grow herbs, vegetables and fruit. My goal is five years from now have my own organic farm/nursery where I grow most of the ingredients for Wild Beauty aroma-therapeutic oils and skin care products.
Conquer Your Fear: What if no one likes our product, food or service? What if I fail? This is a waste of time because no one’s buying in this economy? What do I know about business? The negative thoughts in your head keep growing and then you give up even before starting.
Sonny has told me this several times. “Conquer your fear. The more you learn the better it is for your business. Build on your strengths. Embrace your talent and build on them. Make a mistake, reflect, correct it and move on.”
I will end this blog with a quote: The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one. – Elbert Hubbard
For a bio of Ma Jasmin’s – Click Here
Wed: Barnsdale Park Farmers Market Hollyood 12-6pm.
Fri: 45 N. San Gabriel Blvd., Pasadena from 6-9pm.
Sun: Alhambra Farmers Market 60 S Monterey St
Alhambra 8:30 – 1:00 pm.
Felecia Scott/ Natural Skin Care Artisan