Welcome back on the Goupie journey! When you left us, we'd just moved from our family kitchen to a factory unit on a farm in Goudhurst, Kent.
Our unit actually wasn't advertised as for rent quite yet. Fortunately, in true Simpson style, Janet and Joe had started snooping around the local area to see what was up for grabs. They were just exploring the Spelmonden Farm grounds when their recon mission was thwarted by Nigel, our soon-to-be landlord. He asked if he could help, and in no time at all was showing them around Unit 4 (aka, The Goupie Factory).
Previously, the unit had been occupied by an electrician. This is evident to anyone who's ever been to the factory as there's an extravagant number of electrical sockets and widgets. Many of which appear to do nothing what-so-ever (anyone else flashing back to an episode of Friends?)!
Obviously, this meant that the unit was not fit for food preparation and so we set to work changing that. Amongst a huge list of other chores, we replaced the floor, cleaned out the local IKEA of their stainless steel tables and shelving and painted the walls an institutional cream (with a feature wall of purple, of course!).
So, now we had a bespoke unit, the bare bones of a production facility and enough orders to make it all worth it. All that was left was to get some help; unless Janet was to keep up her midnight chocolate expeditions!
As any business and leadership book worth it's salt will tell you, who you hire is crucial to the success of a business. Again, we were fortunate enough to have Paula, a fantastic character, fall right into our laps.
Paula, and her husband, Tony, owned the allotment next to Janet and Joe. One day, the subject came up of Paula looking for a new opportunity, and Goupie requiring it's first employee. Paula popped up to the house, and that was that. She's been our chief Goupie-maker ever since!
That's enough of a nugget of insight into those early factory days we think, but don't worry, we'll go much further into depth next month when we look at some of the big 'step-up's' we made in those first few factory years! Until then...