Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Tiers for Teatime

'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!

He just happens to be my son! These were one of my favourite products even before he started working for this company! On the day before he sets up there is often a huge stack of boxes of these bars in my living room. It makes my home smell heavenly! Aromas of 'Musk Have' and 'Chai Latte' fill the air.

I have had such fun over the past few months scouring garage sales and op shops for old china. I'm always on the lookout for roses, English china and vintage Noritake. I found one almost complete vintage Noritake set missing just one teacup. I decided not to drill the plates from that set. I checked the price of the teacup online. It cost more than what I paid for the complete set!

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!


africanaussie said...

Oh those are wonderful! I wonder if your daughters cookies might sell better if packaged as gifts? sometimes people don't want to buy the calories for themselves but are quite willing to give away a pretty gift. I volunteer at our local church market, and a lot of our baked goods are bought to give to others.

Ann at eightacresofeden said...

That is something we have suggested to her and could work well because we could then use the stands to display the packaged cookies! Have to give thought to the right kind of packaging and cost involved. It must be able to be recycled for our markets. You have set me thinking so thank you!

Kimberly said...

These are darling! Well done.

Chris said...

Cheers for family enterprise! I wish you all well. A great idea for recycling, and using all your various skills (as a family) together. :)

Camille said...

How fun to *see* rather than just imagine what you have been up to my friend. Your creations are so very pretty! How wonderful that you are all able to work together on a project such as this. If I was near enough I would definitely be stopping by! :)


Shane Pollard said...

Dearest Ann
Oh I wish your market was close to me - these stands and the beautiful cakes and biscuits go so well together!
LOVE the idea of gift wrapping, cellophane tied with pretty ribbons and a flower - PERFECT!

What a great supportive family you are and it's a wonderful "life lesson" for your daughter on the intracasies of business. She couldn't help but succeed with her family "think tank" behind her!!

Take care
Shane oxo

Unknown said...

I have seen biscuits packaged in jars, or how about baking paper, you could reuse that, or a vintage saucer wrapped in clear cellophane?
As I live along way from you and would like to make some for myself can you tell me where you got your metal things for the stand? - you can email me privately.

the happy sparrow said...

Just gorgeous! I hope your daughters stall tempts some people to enjoy some sweet treats! :)) Martine

A Bite of Country Cupcakes said...

Ann You and your kids working together on these ventures is amazing and heartwarming!!!! Everything look pretty...delicious and special!...Back when I did goodies at markets My Fav packaging was cello bags but on top you fold over a Paper lace doiley the Staple to seal....I would then write on the doiley the name of the Goodies and on the back the Ingredients ect...Probley have some photos somewehere of them...Good luck!

Camille said...

I hopped back for a little visit and read the idea your first commenter made about packaging the goodies up for gifts. What about cellophane bags tied up with pretty ribbon? Or even just raffia? I don't know if those bags can be recycled. :)

What a great idea! I hope you figure out something that works.

Have a fabulous weekend my friend!

Anonymous said...

Hi Ann, I am so inspired by your family's ventures. These tiers are beautiful. And I love the soaps that your son makes. What a wonderful experience for your family. I hope one day to do something similar here in our lovely town. We do have regular markets here. I don't feel quite up to it yet. May be in the next couple of years. I wish you all the best in this. Angela K

Anonymous said...

Dear Ann,
You are simply AMAZING!
You are such an inspiration to me!
I find so much joy and delight in reading each and everyone of your blogs.
I can't wait to read the many more you have to come!

Renata said...

Oh I love these Ann!!! They are so pretty & I love the fact that you made them yourself as well! I think it would be fun to have a market stall, but haven't braved it yet (plus at the moment I have nothing to sell). We do have our little entrepreneurs raising their pigs.
That soap sounds wonderful. There is a lady down the road who makes similar sounding soaps ~ the clays & goats milk. It is wonderful & I use if often.
I hope you have a very profitable market stall ~ if I was visiting it would definitely be one that would attract me to it :)
Have fun


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