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Blog posts tagged Rico Mexican Kitchen

I have become (un)comfortably numb

August 31, 2010 by www.inafishbowl.com

I enjoyed reading the article written by Marty Zwilling about the personality traits of an entrepreneur.

In his article, he describes the personality of the entrepreneur to be:

  • visionary
  • creative AND logical
  • energised by risk
  • eager to listen to the input of others
  • motivated
  • Jack of all trades
  • and most important of all, enjoying the journey.

I enjoyed the article because I can see that I have all of these. I have a strong vision of what my sector can be in years to come and I would love to be an important player within it.

I am eager to listen to the input of others, and inafishbowl.com has been an amazing experience. I have had some really useful advice from experts on the expert panel, and more recently from Imran Hakim and Iain Scott whose blogs reassure me that I was right to postpone the launch of Rico Mexican Kitchen in a major supermarket chain – thanks guys! I’ve also learned so much from my fellow Fishbowlers and I’m quietly jealous (in the best possible way, of course!) of Owain and Dom’s partnership, and that they can rely on each other to share the tasks.

However, if I’m honest, I’m feeling kind of numb and somehow not enjoying the journey as much just at this point. I have had some highs, but the low of finding that I have to be on such very tight budget is getting me down. Or maybe it’s simply because I’m tired? Maybe I just need a few days off.

Well, I had to be up today at 3:30 so I could greet the distributor who was taking my very first orders of our brand new product, TAMALES to some really funky restaurants in London. I should be really excited, I know it’s a day I will remember in years to come, but instead, I feel numb. I just keep saying to myself that I need to be patient, as success will come with perseverance, resilience, and not before a long list of failures which one learns from. I’m in it for the long haul!

You can find out more about Marcela on the interactive business website www.inafishbowl.com

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Taking Mexican food to the masses

August 09, 2010 by www.inafishbowl.com

I have heard time and again that a business like mine needs a face. Well, the worrying thing is...whose face would it be? I guess it would have to be mine!

Now that I’m breaking even and orders are steadily increasing, I need to look at how I can promote the message that I want to shout about: about how amazing Mexican food is. I don’t want to preach about it, I just want to share recipes, mouth-watering ideas for creating food and drink to impress your friends, and a bit of the history and the nutritional properties.

And there is some absolutely fantastic news for the cuisine: UNESCO, the branch of the United Nations that is best known for its list of World Heritage Sites, has just awarded the Mexican cuisine the very prestigious status of “intangible cultural patrimony” along with Chinese cuisine. The French cuisine has been turned down twice.

The superior methods and ingredients used to prepare traditional food such as Mole sauce tamales and salsas are a sharp contrast with the processed cheese and sour cream-covered nachos and cardboard-like hard-shell tacos that many people outside the country typically confuse as Mexican food. I would love to inspire foodies to try a variety of new recipes and ingredients.

Not being such an internet whiz, I will need lots of advice to use the internet era to inspire the foodies who want to try new things. Your suggestions will be welcome.

  • Add your ideas for Marcela to the comments section.

You can find out more about Marcela on the new interactive business website www.inafishbowl.com

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Sales breakthrough and a huge dilemma

July 21, 2010 by www.inafishbowl.com

It is a really exciting time for Rico Mexican Kitchen at the moment. You might think I keep on saying this and that’s because business opportunities take twists and turns and there’s never a time to be bored! Having a strategy is fundamental to keep the opportunities and challenges in perspective, but there must be a great amount of flexibility and a desire to go with the flow and take any opportunity too.

The aim of my business is to introduce a new range of fresh, vibrant, genuine Mexican foods and now I’m looking for opportunities which bring volume.

We have achieved a listing with a prestigious supermarket chain, which is great news! What normally happens though is that they will list you in a limited number of stores and monitor the performance of the product and then, if it does well, they will offer to place your product in more branches. The problem here is that for some products, the minimum production runs are quite large and if they have a limited shelf life, the waste whilst in storage would be considerable.

So, if the shops are not enough to cover the minimum production run, we could end up running the production at a loss. I have identified other retailers which will stock the new products, but we still may find ourselves overproducing.

The really big question in whether we should go ahead with this listing and hope for the best, and in the meantime, work like mad to get more listings to give us the volume we need. Or is it best to delay the launch by a few months, get those extra listings first and THEN start producing?

I know that option two sounds safer but the real danger is that while we are working to get more listings, the original listing offer may disappear. This is not unheard of. It may be that a competitor may get the listing instead, or the buyer changes and their successor won’t choose our product. Difficult decision, isn’t it?

You can find out more about Marcela on the new interactive business website www.inafishbowl.com

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Is passion for your products enough?

July 05, 2010 by www.inafishbowl.com

Marcela has never read a sales book. She has never learned about sales techniques. So can her passion for her product alone be enough to sell?

With her confidence in her product and her ability to answer any questions about it, Marcela feels well equipped to sell Rico Mexican Kitchen's products to anyone. What do you think of her sales technique (as seen in the video)?

You can find out more about Marcela on the interactive business website www.inafishbowl.com

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Employees and business responsibilities

June 14, 2010 by www.inafishbowl.com

In the latest installment of Marcela from Rico Mexican Kitchen's startup story, she employs her first member of staff and decides how best to distribute the everyday responsibilities.

Marcela was advised that her new employee would be extremely important to her business so she wanted to find someone she could trust and who could take on some of the responsibilities to allow her to concentrate on making Rico Mexican Kitchen a success. Having found that employee, can they find the right balance between friendship and work relationship?

With her new employee in place, they created a mind map to help them list all of the jobs that need to be done, who will be responsible for what and how they can support each other.

Do you have any advice for Marcela on her new employee and how having him around may affect her and the business? How can she ensure she is aware of what needs to be done at all times? How much input should she have in the work done by her employee now that they have split their responsibilities?

You can find out more about Marcela on the interactive business website www.inafishbowl.com

Would you put this in your shopping basket?

June 07, 2010 by www.inafishbowl.com

In the latest of our weekly blog posts from Marcela of Rico Mexican Kitchen, she'd like to hear your feedback on her new packaging.

I’d like to ask for your thoughts on branding and what messages the packaging is communicating and their appeal to you as consumers.

On the left hand side of the label, there is a stamp which reads “2 of your 5-a-day”. On the back of the label there is information about ways to use the product. We really want to communicate our passion for authenticity, healthy food, provenance and ethically sourced ingredients. We work with local growers and co-operatives in Mexico, but we don’t want to saturate the packaging with loads of writing!

Do you have any thoughts to share with Marcela? Add them to the comments section below.

You can find out more about Marcela on the interactive business website www.inafishbowl.com

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Olé for Mole!: Turning PR and marketing activities into sales

June 01, 2010 by www.inafishbowl.com

A few months ago, I got an Innovation Support Grant (ISG) from the Food and Drink iNet. The purpose of the grant was to help me improve my marketing and PR. Here are some things we did with the ISG grant:

  • we engaged a web designer to develop our website www.ricomexicankitchen.co.uk (with sections still under construction, but almost there);
  • we improved our packaging and included suggestions on how to use the products we make;
  • we worked with a PR agency to hopefully help us get some editorial coverage in magazines and newspapers...and yes, we were in the Editor’s feature section of my favourite magazine, BBC Olive.

This is a small mention but I hope we can build from here.

The best thing about this grant was its emphasis on working with experts so we learned the tools required so we could sustain the work they had funded. And yes, I learned lots about copywriting for the website and packaging. I also learned that if you want to be in magazines, this is a labour of love and perseverance: you need to contact each magazine, phone the right person, agree to send them samples, then the samples get lost, you follow up, and start again.

Imagine what I felt when I opened the magazine in the shop... and yes, there it was, the article “Olé  for Mole” feature and a photo of our Mole (pronounced Moleh, a wonderfully rich Mexican cooking sauce). I got on the train and I wanted to show everyone the feature, but I resisted the temptation.

Now we are going to appear in some glossy magazines, the question is: How can we turn these articles into real, tangible outcomes, e.g. sales?

Well, as it happened, I was visiting our newest stockist, Partridges of Sloane Square in London. He said he would stock salsas, but not the Mole sauce because people wouldn’t know what to do with it. I showed him the Olive magazine and he suggested I laminate it and place the article by the chiller. Perfect. However, I won’t be able to do this everywhere, so the question comes again, how do we use these articles and turn them into sales?

Do you have any suggestions for Marcela? Add them to the comments section below.

You can find out more about Marcela on the interactive business website www.inafishbowl.com

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Marcela's story begins

February 15, 2010 by www.inafishbowl.com

In last Monday's blog post we introduced you to www.inafishbowl.com which follows the trials and tribulations of three startups. We're featuring the story of Marcela of Rico Mexican Kitchen, who produces home-cooked Mexican food products. Follow her story each week as she deals with buyers and distributors at department stores and discusses the reality of running a home-based business.

Crystal ball, where are you?

We normally start doing something new because we think we have a chance to succeed. Well, at least, that’s what I keep on saying to myself: “Look, you’ve put in your all, people like Mexican food, and your Mexican food has soul, YOUR soul in it.” Well, yes, and? Surely, giving your all and having a good product should be enough to make your business work, shouldn’t it?

I gave up my job to dedicate my full energy to getting Rico Mexican Kitchen off to a good start. My idea was simple: to make fantastic authentic Mexican food so everyone in the UK could try something healthier, tastier and ethically sourced. But this game is sooooo difficult! Will I make it work? How? Any advice welcome!

Everyone told me that it was a brave thing to give up my job to start a business. But deep down I was thinking, “I really want to try my best to make it work- it’ll be simple- I’ll make these amazing, delicious and authentic and people will buy them.” At the moment, however, some shops think that it’s not the right time for Mexican food... what are they thinking? What do they think Mexican people do when it’s winter... not eat? What do you think?

Anyway, luckily Selfridges doesn’t think this and I am off to do a tasting session. I don’t know if I’m more excited or more nervous - I’m a bit of both, I suppose!

The week ahead of me looks like an incredible juggling act of cooking, training course, kids off school, delivering, entertaining 10 girls for my daughter’s birthday party. The added complexity is that we are having new labels designed especially for the Selfridges launch and the printers don’t want to say that the labels will definitely be ready- just keeping me on my toes! I am really really nervous about this- will the labels arrive on time?

You can find out more about Marcela on the new interactive business website www.inafishbowl.com

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Keeping it real - www.inafishbowl.com

February 08, 2010 by www.inafishbowl.com

We’ve recently launched new interactive business website www.inafishbowl.com to help start-ups learn from the experiences of others. Arguably, there’s no better way to learn.

Through an energy-packed mixture of video, Twitter feeds and blogs that feature on the new Big Brother-style business website, we chart the trials and tribulations of three start-up businesses, as their owners share their experiences – the good, the bad and the ugly – in real time.

The three businesses featured are a record label, a bespoke tailoring company and a Mexican food range. Each are finding their way through the start-up maze and sharing their experiences along the way. From naming their business through to frustrating first meetings with banks, the businesses lay themselves open for others to watch and follow online.

The In a Fishbowl project was founded by entrepreneur Toby Reid and is being supported by Midlands-based entrepreneur Andrew Springhall, who says: “So many people go through the process of starting a business – it’s a truly daunting experience. There’s a wealth of information available, but nothing that really provides the chance to learn from the experiences of others in the way www.inafishbowl.com does.

“The aim was to show empathy with the challenges new entrepreneurs face, but also to inspire them and enable them to learn and benefit from an interactive source of support for any budding entrepreneur.”

Taking inspiration from her native land, Marcela Flores Newburn owns and manages Rico Mexican Kitchen. The new business produces a range of authentic, home-cooked Mexican food products that are sold through stores in the UK. Mother-of-two Marcela makes all of the products by hand.

“I’m really excited to be featured on inafishbowl,” she admits. “It’s a great idea and I really hope it will help other new entrepreneurs in the early stages of starting their business.” On the site, Marcela discusses everything from dealing with buyers and distributors at department stores to the reality of running a home-based business.

You can also follow www.inafishbowl.com on Twitter for latest snippets from all three of our entrepreneurs, while Marcela’s posts have been chosen to feature regularly on the Start Up Donut blog, too, so watch this space.

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