Stepping Stones

May 30, 2016

Stepping Stones

How is it that as you start on a journey, you have a clear vision and idea of where you are heading?  As you travel further down the road testing and measuring, you realise you are heading almost in a completely different direction.  This is my journey as a small business owner and entrepreneur.

2½ years ago I started a small business called Cape Wholefoods.  

My vision at the time for this business was eventually a whole foods shop.  So here I am heading off to the local markets with bulk foods, such as nuts, dried fruit and rapadura sugar.  It was a lot of work physically and I often roped in a friend or two to help me out.

Now looking back this was just another stepping stone towards the refining of my vision.  I was and still am madly passionate about talking to people about food, helping people create healthier recipes in their own kitchen and inspiring others towards regaining their health.  I was often writing down a recipe on the back of a paper bag for my customers.

The main values for my vision still haven't changed, I was never going to sell anything that I didn't use in my own kitchen.  This includes being gluten, grain and mostly dairy free.  As I was establishing a loyal customer base, I also started packaging a raspberry cacao granola and organic raw chocolate bar.  Neither of these products were really labelled correctly.  

It was another trial.  Surprisingly it worked.  People wanted things in packaging, after a little while I started selling more packaged products than the bulk items.  Even though I wasn't really understanding the concept of "test & measure" I was actually doing it.  I was listening to my customers and what they wanted from me.

So I picked a small range of whole foods I believed people wanted in their pantry and my first product range was born. Effectively I was re-packaging whole foods and putting my label on the bag.  I recieved great support from the local community and also the local stores.

I still cannot believe that was just under 18 months ago.  Sometimes I cringe at some of the things that I have tried, there have been many mistakes.  But I am still here in business working out what my customers want from me.

There have been many stepping stones leading up to this point, and many I definitely slipped on.  There have also been many other paths I could have taken and most likely many near misses.

My vision for this business has never faltered, my desire to help busy people create change in their lives through health is still present and accurate.

My purpose for this business still hasn't changed, I am a single mum with a burning desire to raise my children well without a father in their lives.  They are my first priority.  Because I am self-employed I can attend swimming carnivals, afternoon assemblies or simply have a child at home when they are having an off day.  My job is to be there for my children.  

If that means it will take longer for my business to pay me an income, then that's ok.  

Some weeks I can barely put food on the table, and then a lovely friend will turn up with a food basket, or drop off some money or give us tickets to a childrens concert.  Or my Mum will do a food shop for me, or buy the children some sneakers.

We need for nothing, we are blessed to have a roof over our heads, warm beds to sleep in and food in the fridge at all times.

I work hard, well into the night and sometimes 6 days a week.

But I have a vision, and one day I know I will be in a position to encourage and bless another young mum because of the reslience I have learnt in my journey.

Even though I am further down the road and I have a map as to where I am going now, I know I will also make more mistakes.  But I will learn from those mistakes and it will make me stronger.

I know where I have been and I know I can endure the next stage of the journey because of the strength I have developed from the hard times.

Since those early Cape Wholefoods days, my business name has changed, my branding for my products have changed and the products I am producing are all 100% organic and tested for gluten.

In just 2½ years I have learnt to adapt and develop with the changing times.

I can't wait to look back again in another 2½ years and look at the lessons I have learned from and the growth I have achieved as a person and as a business.

But for now I am enjoying the journey along my stepping stones.

Wherever you are along your journey, enjoy even the hard times, because out of those hard times you can recieve so many blessings.

Helping busy people create change in their health through food.