HELLO 2021 & GOODBYE 2020!
By Hadi Brooks who is owner of Swindon-based artisan ice-cream maker Rays Ice Cream & she's also founded a new business mentoring venture.
As the year starts to turn – how are you feeling about 2021?
I’m really looking forward to 2021. It will be great to build on the really busy year we’ve had with Rays Ice Cream. We enter 2021 with a new home delivery arm to our business and brand new websites for both the retail and wholesale sides of our business. We’ve grown the number of wholesale customers that we have on the books and we’re looking forward to them (hopefully) enjoying a full year’s trading in 2021 to maximise the sales potential for them and us.
My Business Buddy, my business mentoring and virtual operations manager business will continue to work with independent business owners, in retail, food and hospitality. I focus with the business owner on organising themselves and their operations to really maximise the profits from the business whilst finding more time for themselves. I am really enjoying working with fellow business owners and look forward to doing lots more of this.
On a personal level I am looking forward to things (again hopefully) becoming a little more normal and predictable. I’m looking forward to spending a lot more time with family and friends outside my own household.
What are your business goals for the coming year?
I’m really proud of the growth we’ve achieved for Rays Ice Cream this year – 134% retail and 73% wholesale like for like sales growth. The goals for this coming year will be to build on this growth whilst also re-introducing the parts of the business which simply didn’t happen in 2020, namely events and our pop up shop at Swindon Designer Outlet.
I would also like to establish myself, not just as a successful food business owner/ operator, but also as a business mentor to other small business owners.
Will you be looking to employ any new staff during the new year?
We have applied to take on two young people on the government Kickstarter scheme, one in our shop and one to work alongside our production manager making ice cream. We’re looking forward to beginning the recruitment process to find suitable candidates. We will also be recruiting in spring for staff for events and the pop up shop.
Will you be looking for any new local suppliers in 2021?
We continue to look for a food service distributor to wholesale our ice cream to the north of Swindon and beyond. This will compliment the great relationship we have with The Heritage Fine Foods Company distributing our ice cream to the south of us.
Looking back across 2020 – name three highlights for you and your business?
1. Growing sales across Rays Ice Cream despite the uncertain times.
2. Being able to help many Swindonians who were looking for ways to treat themselves in such a strange and testing year.
3. Establishing My Business Buddy and helping other small business owners to make more money.
Looking back across 2020 – were there any lowlights?
The toughest time was immediately prior to the first lockdown when we found out that we were going to have to shut the shops and that all our wholesale customers were also being forced to shut. That was terrifying and I had to have a very frank conversation with the team about the uncertain times ahead. We moved quickly though to establish home deliveries and the rest, as they say, is history!
Who, in your business community – have been the shining stars of 2020?
All of the publicans, and particularly those in wet-led pubs for keeping going in such absolutely tough and unpredictable times. Most notably for us our friends and neighbours at The Hop and The Tuppenny, but I take my hat off to all publicans and others in the hospitality trade at the moment.
For more information visit www.raysicecream.co.uk or My Business Buddy www.mybusinessbuddy.co.uk