Small Business Saturday Blog

Honey and mud at Glastonbury Festival

Monday, June 29 at 10:37

I have always been fascinated with bees and so about 10 years ago I took the plunge and started Vonnybee. Far from just producing honey, bees make an array of products with incredible health benefits. The pollen is a great vitamin supplement and hay fever fixer, beeswax can be used in balms and face creams, and the propolis will cleanse just about any infection. Here at Vonnybee we turn the incredible ingenuity of the bees into wonderful organic health and wellbeing products.We started with just 5 hives in my small garden in Liverpool and did well selling our products at farmers markets. Vonnybee was growing at a steady pace; that is until my son returned from Glastonbury Music Festival. He was convinced it was just my “kinda thing”, but I have to be honest at fifty years of age attending Glastonbury was not a burning desire of mine. Five years on: countless pairs of muddy wellies, Stevie Wonder, Willie Nelson, BB King, The Rolling Stones, one burnt-out clutch, many wonderful new friends, and the prestigious sustainable trader award later; I wouldn’t miss it for the world!  
If you want to get your small business involved, here’s my top tips for trading at a music festival:Tip 1Research the festivals and find one that is “your kinda thing.”  Glastonbury is all about the environment and sustainability, which resonates perfectly with Vonnybee. Make sure your application references how your business has a similar ethos to the event. Every year Glastonbury award one stall holder the Green Sustainable Trader Award and I am proud to say Vonnybee won the award in 2014. Tip 2 Create your magic folder!Ask the organisers to put you in touch with several experienced stallholders, pick their brains for advice about the event.  Every event is different but here’s my top three:1) Get there as early as possible- you want to be there as the gates open.  You will then have plenty of time to set up your pitch.2) Pace yourself, it’s a fantastic experience but it is tiring.3) Make sure you have fun. Your customers are there to have a great time. If your stall is happy and fun it attracts more people. Fancy dress never fails!Tip 3Start planning early! Close to 170,000 people are on the Glastonbury site. I suggest whatever you would do for a small market (e.g. stock, leaflets, packaging) multiply by ten for an event this big. Glastonbury is my biggest event of the year so planning begins at least four months in advance- flip chart paper cover my dining room walls! Keep everything you need in your magic folder.Magic folder contents:Stock listsFood MenuPublic Liability insuranceRisk assessmentStaff rotaIdeas for improvements to the stallProduct informationHealth and safety documentationGlastonbury Paperwork, parking vouchers and ticketsP.S. Anything that pops into my head at 3am and prevents me from going back to sleep!You will meet the most amazing people in the world and have a sense of freedom like you have never experienced before. Nothing goes wrong but it sometimes unfolds differently to how you planned it. I think large festivals can be a great platform to showcase your small business and catapult it to the next level. If you have good online presence your trade will continue long after the music stops.If you are visiting Glastonbury, drop by the Fields of Avalon and say hello to busy bees at Vonnybee!

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