'Tiers for Tea' is just one of the names I am considering for our new venture that I am so excited to tell you all about. It began as an idea for attracting people over to my daughter's cake stall at the markets. She makes the most amazing desserts, cakes, slices and cookies and once received an email from Belgium from two tourists who so loved one of her slices they wanted the recipe because it would always remind them of their time in Australia! But even with such wonderful feedback it is still hard to tempt people to buy what is after all a sweet treat, especially when people are being careful with what they spend in the current economic climate. People tell her 'They look so good but I'm being good today' or ' Sorry love, I'm watching my weight'. That's my other daughter in the photo above helping out at the stall.
We needed something else that would complement the cakes that would make the business viable and worth all the effort put into setting it up. Believe me, there is so much more to it than just baking a few batches of cookies at home and turning up on market day! A food handler's certificate was required, purchasing a market gazebo, cake stands with covers, tongs, paper bags and everything else that was needed for the stall, registering with the food safety authority, finding a kitchen to use (can't use your home kitchen anymore!) and meeting with the officer from the council to show him the set up and that you understood the requirements. Thank goodness for a man who said he supported young entrepreneurs and he was so helpful!
She did everything needed and more, right down to printing off nutritional labels for the desserts. But even with all this effort and regular customers, after a few markets she sat down and worked out all her costings. It was a lot of work for little return. It needed something else and maybe the support of a few other members of the family.
And that's when the idea for the cake stands came in. I had seen these on ebay and on pinterest and knew they would be perfect for the markets. Recycled, repurposed, vintage and I could make them at home! I felt sure it would attract people and that we would possibly sell a few. And we did! We have had two markets thus far and the comments and interest from people was incredible. An inquiry from a bride to be who is having a vintage style wedding. People even took photos of our stall! So many possibilities for where this could take us. But right now we are starting out small, testing the waters and enjoying selling at the markets which takes us right into the heart of our community. You get to meet and talk to so many interesting people!
This one sold. It was one of my favourites created from vintage English china plates.
Our tiers are not just for tea time. They make beautiful stands for holding jewellery. The little dish on top is perfect for holding rings, earrings or brooches. Imagine how pretty this would look on a dressing table. A friend has her eye on this one so it may not make it to the next market but it was the one that attracted the most comments from customers 'Who would have thought it!' was muttered by more than a few people!
I also made a few of these cup and saucer stands. Perfect to drape your pearl necklace from or use the cup to hold a few dried rosebuds and place little sweet treats on the plate below. Or how about bath pearls in the top tier and popping a bar of soap below. It would look so lovely in a country bathroom.
We have the perfect position at the markets. Right next to a stall that sells the most heavenly handmade soap or body bars as they are known, crafted from all pure ingredients, goats milk, essential oils and natural clays. I know the stall holder well. Maybe I can persuade him to loan me a bar to place on one of our plates to give customers ideas for how they could use one of our tiers in their homes. After all, I did send some of our customers his way!
All of the china I have sourced is pre-loved. The complete set of vintage Noritake that I found had been a wedding gift. The old lady who sold it to me told me this so it seemed only right to keep that set for any future weddings and special occasions in my own family. The Noritake 'Vineyard' plates in this tier were part of a stack of plates I found at an op shop. I sold one of these at the market for a Mother's Day gift. Perhaps they had once been part of a set that had been a wedding gift to someone. Were they treasured? Used on a regular basis which might explain why only a few plates were donated? Did the rest meet their demise on a kitchen floor somewhere? I love the fact that these plates have a history. That someone once loved them and now they can be reused and not just sit at the back of a cupboard. Even if they do not sell I will use them and I'm not waiting for a wedding either! At Easter I set up a table in the garden for a baking competition for my girls. I'll share some more photos from that special event in my next post. The chocolate nests on silver spoons above were made with shredded wheat and chocolate. Another idea I found on Pinterest that I actually used!
I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my 'tiers for teatime' and reading about our new family venture. I have spent a few evenings drilling some more wonderful finds and I have also made some soy candles in teacups for the next market. I'm holding onto some of my vintage teacups and some lustre ware cups and plates in glorious shades of peach, green and lilac that were a recent find have been claimed by my daughters!
Have you ever had a stall at the markets? Do you have a family business? Are you raising entrepreneurs?
Do you use your good china and have you ever dared to drill a plate or a cup? I never thought I would find such a beautiful use for power tools!