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As I am asked this so much I thought I would jot down what the Christmas pudding world is like when it isn’t Christmas.  Thinking back to last year and the period from the beginning of October up until Christmas Eve, life consisted of 16 hour days practically every day.  It is, of course, the main opportunity to make the most of when Christmas puddings are mainly purchased.  But what happens after that!?

From January, it’s time to start planning for the following Christmas.  The buyers for supermarkets and distributors start this process from January and unless I shout about LillyPuds, there is no opportunity for listings.  Applications are sent in and it’s a waiting game to hear if there is any interest (with some chasing of course!).  If yes, pricing needs to be worked through, samples sent and meetings held to secure the listings.  I also started to think about trade and consumer shows for the year and once again, these need to be applied for.  Some exhibition companies are very selective and will ask for stand designs, products and your brand history so it can be a lengthy process.  When a stand is secured, it’s really time consuming to log details to ensure interesting detail is submitted encouraging visitors to come to our stand.  It’s also vitally important to create a stand design that attracts the event attendees.  Items need to be sourced and equipment built.

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To support all the above, I had to set to and commission new photography for advertising, PR and marketing.  In the meantime, I contacted all our retail customers for 2016 to obtain feedback and to check for opportunity to list this Christmas.  A survey was put together to also get feedback from our customers, vital to establish if LillyPuds is ticking the box!  Awards have been entered to maintain a profile and a social media expert, Graham, is now assisting us with communications.  I also decided to link up with a small business advisor, Liz.  She is making such a difference to make me think outside the box!  And Nikki is on board again to help obtain editorial and product tasting comparisons in the press.  Kirsty, KYBO designs, is fantastic as always in making the necessary website changes and is always there to manage design.  Couldn’t do it without these guys on a day to day basis.

I have been contacting potential customers to obtain new business.  This includes restaurants and gastro pubs, for the individual puddings, and new retail outlets.  LillyPuds now has listings with a national distributor and I have been holding pudding tastings at their Christmas Road Shows – 9 in total around the country.  I have also been exploring export opportunities with Exporting is Great; not my prime focus this year but you never know what could take off.

LillyPuds is soon to have its own wheels too…. so excited!  Our sign written van will be delivered on 5th July and just for the record, it isn’t white!!  I am also working on new products and a personalised gift for corporate customers.  If you would like information on this one, send me a message.  I will also be making some of the puddings and have been prepping for this to start next month.  Of course, there’s all the business admin management, accounts, VAT, etc, etc….  yawn!

I can’t believe we are now approaching July!  It’s going to be as mad this year with so many trade and consumer events scheduled in, distributors to support, more visits up north to see our producer, on line sales to manage, product tastings, appointments and deliveries.

Finally, I do need to thank my family and friends for their complete support and help – again, I couldn’t do it without you.

LillyPudlians, thanks for listening to me.  If I appear to have hidden myself away, it’s just pudding world …. Every day is Christmas for LillyPuds!

Much love as always……Ali xx