Updated: Mar 15
'Have you met?' is a blog series highlighting the host of amazing small business owners in the local area.
Everyone deserves to be celebrated for the efforts that go into owning and founding a small business & this week features Claire Connor, founder of the amazing A Pie Party, who deserves an interview to show off her baked goods alone!
I first met Claire at her very first market which was at a Halloween Market at Belair House in Dulwich back in October 2017. I still remember the plum pie I tried because it was absolutely delicious. I knew she'd be a big hit on the street food scene and she is!
You can find her every weekend at Victoria Park Market 10-4 selling cookies as big as your head as well as her signature pies which are always changing.
Earlier this year Claire also held a 5 course sweet supper club at Space at 61 and it was amazing seeing 5 full sized portions of desserts devoured by the 20 strong party that night. Without further adieu over to Claire!
1. What led you to start up your business?
I finally admitted to myself that I wasn't happy in the corporate world and decided to be brave and try to make a living doing something I loved!
2. What were the biggest obstacles to starting up?
Getting into markets can be really tricky. There are long waiting lists and managers are bombarded with new applications so you really have to stand out.
3. What do you love about your business?
It sounds cheesy but my customers! The business wouldn't be here without them and I love getting to meet them at the markets, they're always so smiley and happy to be buying pie and cookies.
4. Who would be your dream client?
The woman, the legend... Mary Berry.
5. Where would you like to take your business ultimately?
My ultimate goal has always been bricks and mortar but obviously that is costly. Right now I'm focusing on building a customer base and a sustainable business.
6. Where have you received the most support along your journey?
I'd say from other traders, many of whom have become friends. Food markets aren't easy and particularly if you own the business (as opposed to simply working on the stall) you come up against some really unique challenges. Other traders are in the best position to offer advice.
7. Would you consider going back to employment for someone else now?
I really, really hope it never happens! I love running my business. However, I know that circumstances change and I know people who have owned their own business then go back to employment for the security, the routine, paid sick leave etc, which is fair enough.
8. What do you consider the key skills a small business person must have?
To be totally honest, I think all the skills can be picked up along the way (other than specific skills which are unique to that particular business, such as being able to make pastry!). But there are definitely personality traits which I think come in handy. You have to be tenacious, brave, humble, and flexible. Learn to roll with the punches, and become your own loudest cheerleader. Running a small business is an emotional rollercoaster - in one day you could get some fantastic news, and then later that day some dreadful news. I always give myself time to recover from a blow, but you have to learn to pick yourself up time and time again.
9. Have you been influenced by any business books or blogs recently?
My favourite book is called 'Dear Female Founder' which is a collection of letters written to female founders, from other female entrepreneurs. It always inspires and motivates me. I also love 'Business for Punks' By James Watt who is the co-founder of BrewDog.
10. What would your top tips be to anyone considering starting their own business?
Have absolute faith in your product.
Look after yourself - you are your business's most important asset.
Don't spend too long trying to make things perfect before you start, just launch.
11. Do you think networking is important for your business?
Not formally, but chatting to other traders at the market can be really helpful.
Don't miss reading more in the 'Have you Met?' series
Interview 18- Maddy Carrick
Interview 17 Anja David
Interview 16 -Bridget Daley
Interview 15 -Karen Arthur
Interview 14 -Rebecca Trowbridge
Interview 13 -Angélina Jandolo
Interview 12 -Kelly Harris
Interview 11 -Sara Dalrymple
Interview 10 -Ciarán O'Fathaigh
Interview 9 -Elizabeth Knights Trench
Interview 8 -Aba Edwards-Idun
Interview 7 -Roxsanne Slatford
Interview 6 -Lara Pearce
Interview 5 -Ashanti Jason
Interview 4- Shannon Reed
Interview 3 -Claire Connor
Interview 2 -Becca Teers
Interview 1 -Cat Bateman
Singing for my Supper
If you enjoyed reading this article and maybe others I've written, found a tip that worked for you or learned something new, it would be great if you'd consider sending me the price of a cup of coffee :) https://www.paypal.me/thanksforreading/2.50
Space at 61 is a venue for hire in Nunhead near Peckham. Often used for childrens parties, workshops, classes, talks, filming and popups you can hire us from £20per hour. The 'Have you Met?' Blog interview concept was created by by Shona Chambers owner of Space at 61 and Shona Chambers Marketing. To read more like this visit www.shonachambersmarketing.co.uk