We all love cheese, but just how do you go about turning it into a career? After working in the cheese and speciality food and drink industry for 13 years, Rosie Morgan decided that she wanted to use her passion to build a business for herself.
Armed with a wealth of experience, Rosie wanted to make it on her own and open her own cheese shop. Specialising in UK territorial and artisan / artisanal West Country cheeses, Rosie started small, to test her business idea in the real world and gather further research on her target market. After attending markets for two years and running a pop up shop over Christmas, Rosie felt confident that her business would be a success and was determined to make it work. Following the natural progression from pop-up shop to full-scale, permanent shop, Rosie had a deep curiosity about what it would be like to work full-time on her own business.
The primary barrier for Rosie to open her own business was funding – She had the planning sorted, but lacked the funds that she needed to rent a space and purchase initial stock. As Rosie was still currently working full-time in her previous employment, she was ineligible for many of the start-up loans available. This is where Business West stepped in.
Rosie worked closely with her advisor at Business West, resulting in a successful £15,000 start-up loan from Virgin StartUp. In addition to the financial benefit of working with Business West, Rosie was most impressed by the support that she received:
“I could’ve used another funding source but I wouldn’t have had the help and support like I received from Business West. The team has been incredibly helpful as they were able to break down my business idea and lead me through the process step by step.”
Rosie Morgan, The Bristol Cheesemonger
Rosie’s Business West advisor also worked with her to create detailed financial forecasts and sales projections and refine her business plan, in addition to assisting with her finance application. Rosie used the majority of her start-up loan on the business premises and equipment, with a little left over for contingency.
The Bristol Cheesemonger not only supplies high quality, local cheeses, but Rosie has developed strong relationships with local farmers and cheese producers. She works with these suppliers to oversee the cheese production from farm to shop, using this knowledge to ensure she is stocking only the highest quality artisan cheeses.
Looking to the future, Rosie aims to employ two members of staff and expand into wholesale by the end of the first 12 months. Always looking to expand her product offering, Rosie is also planning to host cheese tasting evenings. She is also considering a dedicated Christmas offering of local wine and beers matched to the cheeses.