After a few years in business trading online via my little website, I was itching to take the next step. No, no, no, not the shop! I was dreaming of being on every single big supermarket shelf with our macaroons (French macaroons...aaah this transition is so hard!), and then-fledgling (now-massive) marshmallow range. I was actually dreaming about buying MY OWN stuff from the big Waitrose on Gloucester Road, and queuing up at the tills behind hundreds of people with baskets full of my mac 'n mallow treats, then going to the big Tesco on Earl's Court Road to stock up even more, and then running to the Sainsbury's local like the world was going to end tomorrow. Oh and then after I'd cleaned out all the supermarkets of our stock I'd be running to our shop to hide out during the zombie apocalypse (hey, it is a dream after all).
So when we started getting calls and emails from distributors asking if we'd thought about approaching supermarkets with our delightful range my hopes shot up - could my dream be coming true?! Like, fer realz?
We got all our certifications and credentials in order, our samples sent out, got great feedback, high-fives all-round, and then came the awkward conversation about...numbers. You're thinking numbers meaning in pound sign terms, right? Nope! That wasn't awkward at all. In fact, it only got awkward when we started talking about numbers in SHELF LIFE terms.
One of the larger distributors, with an impressive client list stocked in all of the big supermarket chains as well as Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols, asked us if our products had long shelf lives. Of course they do - our macaroons (gah! French macarooooons!) keep well for up to a week ambient, and marshmallows keep well for almost two weeks. [Insert: Dramatic pause]. And then another question, "Is there anyway you could consider increasing the shelf life?" I said, "Sure! Macaroons could be keep well longer, almost 10 days, in a fridge and marshmallows would keep cosy for up to 3 weeks in an air-tight container...".
At this point she laughed, "3 months is what we consider the minimum for a product with a short-shelf life." Oh-so-NAIVE. I felt such a FOOOOL. Lost for words and feeling uncomfortable about coming across as a naïve fool I said I wasn't aware of how to extend them for longer than that. She was nice to not laugh at us anymore and actually offered her help and advice on what ingredients to use to increase our products' shelf lives (for £££ of course) ie. preservatives. aka. ingredients-I-can't-even-spell-nor-pronounce. We thanked her for her time and advice and said we'd think about it and get back in touch.
I thought about it. OBSESSED over it. Pumping our products with preservatives and flavourings to make them last longer? It would make things so much cheaper. It would mean we could get stocked at all these supermarkets and department stores I've been dreaming of and undercut all the competition. It would mean we could get to that next step! A game-changer! I kept thinking about it and getting more and more depressed. Would I even want to eat my own products pumped with plastic-ey ingredients? Would I be able to get myself excited to make them? How could I sell something I myself don't believe in?
So with a heavy heart I abandoned that dream, and skipped to the next step instead - opening up my own little heaven stashed full with preservative-free and only naturally flavoured delicious stuff that I don't need to keep on the shelf for ages. AND very importantly, love to gorge on myself. Does this mean you'll never see us at supermarkets? Probably never, but you can always pop in here to shop online for magical cakes on our beloved website, or pop into our patisserie paradise in London where the cheeky cherubs at Anges will always welcome you with a smile!
See you soon,