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Welcome to my crazy world

by Claire Martinsen on Thu 10th Mar 2011 17:30

I love running my own business – the sheer breadth of things that I get involved with are really interesting, but at times it all feels just a tad crazy!  Yesterday was a ‘typical’ day in so far as there is no typical

First job of the day was to call at LaHogue Farm Shop near Chippenham.  I’m going to launch a new flavour at the end of the month and am working on several different recipes.  I wanted to get the input of the team at LaHogue as to their favourite one.  The feedback from Chris et al was great ….very excited about my new flavour and think its going to be really popular this year!

Next stop was at the English Whisky Company who are customers – my drinks are stocked in their cafe.  I ended up in the Distillery part and got a glimpse of their new commemorative bottles for the Royal Wedding.  Very classy indeed, and a mile away from much of the tatt which I am sure will be upon us in a few weeks time. Had a good chat with James Nelstrop the Founder and MD about their experience of exporting – great to gain some insights and advice.

Then off to ‘build a pallet’!  Most of my bottles are dispatched to wholesalers, who order them in multiples of 120 boxes at a time.  These pallet orders literally need to be ‘built’ with a wooden pallet at their base.  Stacked in 5 layers of 24 bottles, and then wrapped in pallet wrap [a bit like industrial cling film] to keep them stable whilst they are in transit.  Its quite physical work, but at least keeps me fit and strong!  Lifting 10kg at a time and layering up the boxes….I’m going to have corking biceps one day [!!]

After the build a quick stock-take, and then off to the UEA to make a delivery to the Sainsbury Centre Cafe.  The Sainsbury Centre is the muesum on the UEA site, and their cafe is fabulous….and serves my drinks.  I was in the basement of the building, getting the boxes onto the loading bay, when the phone rang – a journalist wanting to do a telephone interview.  Its got to be said that reception in the deepest darkest part of the Sainsbury Centre wasn’t optimal, so I sprinted up to land level and chatted to the journalist!  Then back down to finalise the delivery.  Then it was a lightening change out of my jeans and work-wear and into something a little smarter – a dress!

Next stop – the Hostry at Norwich Cathedral.  I was the guest speaker at the Norwich Business Womens Network.  The setting was great, and there was a good turnout of about 55 people.  It was lovely to catch up with old friends Mary-Jane Kingsland and Sarah Daniels as well as making some new friends.  The meal was delicious, and over coffee I talked to the room about the story of Breckland Orchard so far.

Then a quick sprint back to build yet another pallet.  I had got the order at lunchtime and wanted to get it ready that afternoon.  I was still in the dress, and decided that I couldn’t face another change, so was probably up for the smartest pallet builder award!  Wrapped and labelled ready for pick up by the haulier in the morning and en route up North. My trusty Blackberry had kept me in touch with emails and messages throughout the day, so interspersed with all the above activity was lots of emailing.

After that it was back to the really important things – picking up my son from after-school club, reading to him, making him some tea and putting both my lovely children to bed.  Then back to the laptop to do send some urgent files and emails before finally shutting up for the day.

These are the realities of being a small business owner – a cracking pace, lots of variety and never a dull moment!


Posted in: Running a micro-business Women and Business


Katy Truss
Thu 10th Mar 2011 17:58
Wow! Really interesting to see a day in your life, sounds like hard work! I always pass the English Whisky place between Norfolk and London - is it worth a visit?

Claire Martinsen
Mon 18th Apr 2011 14:01
Its a FAB place- the craziest, maddest and grandest location for an English Whisky company....essential visiting x

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