Friday Focus: Honest2Goodness

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As the brother and sister team behind Honest2Goodness, Brid and Colm Carter are at the forefront of the Irish market scene. Brid sat down with us to tell us all about how they got started

Can you tell us a little bit about your background, and how you came to start Honest 2 Goodness?
We started Honest2Goodness in 2009, as a Food and Wine business (the we being myself and my brother Colm). Initially we had two partners in the business, but in 2010 they took a back seat leaving Colm and myself to run the business together. Both myself and Colm had previous careers which had nothing to do with food or wine, but we both have always had a passion for all thing culinary, so it had been a dream to make food and wine our day jobs. (I can expand more on this if you want)

What are the three big differences you’ve seen in markets over the last year or so?
By their nature, Farmers Markets change all the time, as it is generally easy enough to try out an idea to see if it will work. Sustaining it and making decent money out of it is an entirely different proposition for producers so many dont make it in the long-term. So we see a lot of start-ups come and go.

Exciting flavour combinations would be a trend in the last year or two – spearheaded by Wild Flour Bakery when Kate started with us, and now we have the new genre of Delish Melish with marshmallows and meringues in exciting flavours together with Bean & Goose with their truffles, & Purple Pantry with Middle-Eastern influences in relishes and jams. On the other hand, there is also a return to traditional comfort foods.

A second difference we have noticed is the younger age profile of start-ups. College graduates in areas such as business (e.g. Improper Butter) and Culinary Arts graduates are coming to us with new ideas, and the interest in developing baked goods businesses has increased dramatically.

Interest in Organic produce has come back to the fore once again – which had decreased somewhat in the depths of the recession – and we get a lot of people looking to buy organic wines from us, and our organic fruit and vegetable stall is thriving.

We also notice that there is a growing number of speciality food and wine deli/shops around the greater Dublin area, and our producers have more good quality shops to wholesale into (hopefully this trend will continue to grow), as well as smaller independent cafes looking for good quality stuff such as fresh gluten-free baking. This trend makes it more sustainable for small producers to grow their businesses and not have to make a huge leap of faith by looking to the supermarket multiples as their only growth path.

We Irish have a huge passion for homegrown produce – what is the product that is skyrocketing out of your markets at the moment?
Raw milk is definitely a passion for a lot of people – it is still a niche market, but for a growing number of customers it is a way to get a lot of nutrients into their digestive systems, with very positive feedback on the effects of raw milk on immune system problems. We also see a jump in people looking for naturally fermented products, almond butters, and healthy products in general.

What tips would you give to someone who would like to start a market stall?
Do your research on emerging new trends in the UK and in the USA/Australia for new products.  Unless you are going to be better than anyone else in an already crowded area, you need to find something that differentiates you from the crowd (of course, this is easier said than done!). Visit a few markets and see which stalls are doing well… think about health trends too. See can you do a low-cost investment option for three months to trial your idea – no point in investing thousands of euro if the idea doesnt take off. Make sure you sort out Environmental Health registration and Insurance up front. Do your costings carefully to arrive at your selling price – dont be tempted to sell at too low a cost and then find you cant make money (this happens regularly). Dont give up too soon either – it can take up to two years to become an overnight success! Listen carefully to family and friends, but make your own decision in the end. We are always happy to talk to potential new stallholders to offer advice, so feel free to drop in Honest2Goodness on a Sat to have a chat. We also have an area in our Market Cafe where local crafters join us each Sat, so that might be worth exploring for those who are creative in a different way!

What’s next for you guys?
Watch this space! We have lots of plans in the pipeline for further development of the business, but they are all at an early stage yet, so come back to us in a month or two!

Want to get in touch with Honest2Goodness?
Food and Markets – Brid@honest2goodness.ie 087-6294713 Twitter: @Brid_H2g, Wine Wholesale Director – Colm@honest2goodness.ie 087-9914291 Twitter:@colm_h2g

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