The other option that we’ve used often, is handwritten signs. This is the easiest, cheapest option. I suggest you try to stick with a color scheme, to help create the look you will become known for. Just go for it! People with love the personal touch!
Here’s a flashback photo from our very first event! A fishing tournament here in Hanover PA.
And one more flashback photo…it’s the Jerky Shack, our first production facility!
There you have it, two signage options for your Farmers Market or Event stand. The most important thing about signage is to have it! The second most important thing is to let your personality shine though!
We only had one day to see Paris. It was cold, but it was fabulous! A once in a lifetime kinda thing, me and my kids, seeing the world, together! However, there is a thing or two you should be aware of when traveling by train in Paris.
Our day started off with a train ride from from Disneyland Paris into the heart of Paris.
The doors on the train had barely closed when we saw the first beggar. I have to say that I was a little shocked by the aggressive way the beggar interacted with the passengers on the train. I had never seen anything like it. Of course, I don’t live in a big city with public transportation, so maybe this happens everyday all over the world, but it was the first time I had experienced it. It was loud and disruptive. I can’t imagine what would lead a person to act like this? I felt so conflicted about what to do. I didn’t know if I should give money or not? I couldn’t help but watch, but we didn’t say a word.
Another guy was begging on the train we took at the end of the day from the Eiffel Tower to our hotel at CDG airport. He was shouting, in French, which made it worse because we had no idea what he was saying. Someone finally gave him some cigarettes and he got off at the next stop.
No one ever talked to us directly, but the situations were uncomfortable, and you should be prepared for this sort of thing if you plan to travel by train in Paris.
On one train, there were so many people packed in our car, I instantly worried about pick pockets. We kept our backpacks in front of us and away from the door. We maintained high alert knowing how quickly something could happen with so many people in such a small space.
We will never forget our day in Paris. To see these historic places with my own eyes is life changing! I can’t help but think about how lucky I am. I can’t help but think back on these people that crossed our path that day in Paris and wonder what the future holds for them.
It wasn’t like we had a dream or even a plan to get into the coffee business; but like many times in life, the opportunity presented itself and without too much hesitation, we took it!
Over the last two years, We’ve been lucky enough to do a good bit of traveling, we went to 4 other countries (Canada, Cuba, England and France) and visited both the US West and Northeast coasts.
The one thing Dakotah always wanted to do in every town we visited, was to try the local coffee. Along the way Dakotah got hooked on one certain coffee brew; this is his absolute favorite!
We had been at the Eastern Market in York Pa for about a year. We were actually thinking about leaving the market when our lease was up. We felt our booth space was really too big for our jerky line. The stand we were renting used to be a donut stand; our jerky never really seemed to attract the kind of attention we wanted. We were paying someone to be in the stand from 7:00am-6:00pm every Friday. We were selling a decent amount of jerky but our expenses were eating up everything we made.
When one of the kids mentioned that Eastern Market coffee stand was going out of business; we knew this could be an opportunity for us. We had a product (Dakotah’s Favorite Coffee), a distribution outlet(our oversized jerky stand) and access to a coffee craving crowd. We placed a small wholesale order for the coffee, from the place Dakotah likes the best. We ordered, cups and a coffee maker off Amazon. We also ordered a nice coffee grinder so we’d be able to sell our coffee fresh by the pound. One quick trip to Walmart and we had the other things we’d need to get started, yellow and blue sugar, some buckets, bins and towels to make things look nice. We also grabbed a few chalkboard type signs that we could write on.
Dakotah started a website and Bailey created a logo and packaging. Before I knew it we were ready!
My announcement on LinkedIn got 1,000 views…..We’re adding Dakotah’s coffee at our stand at the Eastern Market and it’s available to buy online at mosesfamilycoffee.com Come by and enjoy a cup!
We gave away free cups of coffee on our opening day. Everyone loved the coffee, and everyone loved the story behind the coffee! The booth looked better then ever now that it was full and looked like there was stuff going on over here.
We ended up giving away over 50 cups of coffee.
In the process, we sold more jerky than we had in a single day at this market in a long time. Bonus, we sold 5 pounds of fresh coffee beans at a nice margin! We also picked up our first coffee wholesale customer! I’m going to say that our first day in the coffee business went pretty well. The real test will come in the next few weeks. Will the customers come back? Will they pay for the same cup of coffee that was free last week? Do they like our coffee as much as Dakotah does? Will they want to buy the coffee by the pound to take home? Time will tell.
Our goal will be to grow the coffee side of our business to make about $100.00/day. If we can do that at 5 markets a week….that will make it a $25,000/year business. Can we get there within 2 years? We’ll see….that’s our coffee goal!
Following a recent business trip to the UK; I had the opportunity to take a few days to relax in Paris with my children. This post is specifically about a discovery we made while there….Crepes!
Our first encounter with crepes came at Disneyland Paris. My son Dakotah enjoyed a warm crepe with Nutella….he was hooked immediately! I was sad that I hadn’t ordered one for myself!
Our next encounter with crepes came the very next day. We were exploring downtown Paris, we were on our way to see the Eiffel Tower when we came across a Farmers Market.
I wasn’t missing my chance this time…I ordered a butter and sugar version for myself
And Dakotah went for another Nutella version!
And I couldn’t resist having another crepe later that same day when we stopped for lunch. Dakotah was determined to try escargot, lucky for me, the little place on the corner, just up the street from the Louvre served both escargot and crepes! We both left happy!
I’m glad to have discovered crepes, having tried them for the first time while traveling in France made the experience all the better!
I found the recipe to try back home….do you think they will be as magical?
When I travel for work, I love to bring back something special as a gift for my team. From the beginning, I had planned on bringing back macarons to my team from my trip to Paris. Our first opportunity to try macarons was just as we left the Louvre. You exit into a high-end mall. We stopped by the food court to grab a bite and plan our next steps. We spotted the macarons first, and then realized we were at a McCafe.
We ordered the prepacked box of 5 to share. We cut them in half so that we could both try them out.
I’m just going to say that I didn’t end up bringing macarons home to my team! I guess these are an acquired taste….I prefer a good ole oatmeal cookie!
Do you know the story behind one of the most iconic songs at Disneyland?
The Story Behind the Song
Originally, Walt Disney envisioned the world’s children singing the national anthem from each country they represented. But he quickly discovered that everyone singing a different tune resulted in a musical cacophony. Walt approached Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman, who were hard at work on Mary Poppins, to create a singular song that could be sung by all of the children. The result was ‘it’s a small world’—one of the most well-known songs of all time.
We only had one day at Disneyland Paris; but I had to ride It’s A Small World twice!
Yes, the fact that it was freezing cold on the day that we were there was additional motivation, but the real reason was that this ride makes me feel so happy!
When I’m on this ride I can’t help but think…Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all get along like the dolls do on the ride?
I’m very choosy about the gifts I bring home from our travels.
From Paris, I had intended on bringing home French macarons….. but changed my mind after the first bites!
Instead, I ended up buying 15 of the Eiffel Tower key chains that were sold in all of the souvenir shops around Paris.
There were men walking around selling these in the immediate area of the tower and outside the Louvre. However, since we had used Nannybag to stash our bags for the day while we did our exploring in Paris (https://www.nannybag.com/en/luggage-storage/paris#homeCityHowToAnchor), we picked up 15 of the small key chain sized trinkets to bring home when we picked up our bags.
I give gold stars to Nannybag for safely stowing our bags while we explored Paris, and my only regret on the Eiffel Tower key chains was that I didn’t by 30 of them!
Everyone on my team enjoyed their gift from Paris; but I regret not having extras to share with other people that I work closely with. Next Time, I’ll buy twice as many as I think I’ll need!
On my last trip to the UK for business, I was lucky enough to be able to take my kids with me (Dakotah age 23, Bailey age 20) for a few days of “Rest” together. When we decided to do this the weather never entered my mind. I had been to London 3 other times during the year, it was always cold and dreary; but never Freezing COLD!
Thankfully I was watching the weather as the trip approached only to find out that snow was in the forecast. Being from Pennsylvania I knew we’d need layers! Our plans changed from us each taking backpacks only, to needing 2 checked bags.
Day 1 February 23, 2018 (7,990 steps):
As it happened, we arrived in London 7 days before they were hit with the “Beast From The East”, London’s biggest snow emergency in more than 2 decades! A Siberian Blizzard was headed straight towards us! It was really cold when we landed on Friday morning after flying all night on the red-eye from Baltimore. We had 3 days before I had to report to work, we didn’t want to waste Friday, even though we were all tired from our all night flight. After we made it through customs and collected our checked bags, we hopped onto one of the FREE airport hotel buses. Side Note: There is also a bus service called the Hotel Hoppa that charges a fare to take you to the Heathrow area hotels, but why pay when you can ride for free? We were booked at the Hyatt Place Heathrow for our first night in the UK.
After dropping our checked bags off at the hotel we grabbed a quick breakfast at good ole McDonalds! Once we filled up, we hopped back onto the FREE airport hotel bus back to Heathrow. Our plan was to head out to see Windsor Castle. We had several hours to kill before we could check into the room. So Bailey, our navigator, consulted the https://tfl.gov.uk/plan-a-journey/ page and found out what bus we needed to take out to the Castle. The ride out to the Castle was long; but wonderful. We rode through several lovely small towns, on the 20 mile trip, and past many fairytail scenes. I don’t have the words to describe the awe I felt as we drove past some of these structures. I couldn’t take my eyes off the side of road, mile after mile I was enchanted by this peek into the days long past.
Dakotah and Bailey slept most of the bus ride, so they were ready to go when we reached Windsor. The bus let us off just a couple of blocks from the Castle, but it was cold which made the hike a little less than ideal! We had decided against buying the official tour the castle tickets but we wanted to see what we could see. We were able to walk around to the front of the castle and stand right in front of the gates for some pictures. It was beautiful, no doubt, but the castle was heavily armed and the contrast between fairtail and realit caught me a little off-guard!
After pictures in front of the castle, we popped in-and-out of a few of the little shops that lined the cobblestone streets. I can imagine enjoying lunch at one of the little diners, if the weather was nice! After a quick stop for photos at one of those famous red phone booths, we headed back to catch our bus back to Heathrow.
We survived the cold on Day 1 by spending a good bit of our time on the bus. We wore plenty of layers, including hats and gloves. The only times that we were really exposed to the weather was when we were waiting for the bus. There is not much shelter while you’re waiting so be prepared and be on time. The buses arrive on time and won’t stop if nobody is waiting. Make sure you are on the right side of the street for the direction you want to go! We were told that there was a “direct” bus to Windsor from Heathrow Terminal 4; but I’m glad we took the longer, warmer journey through the England countryside.
Back at the hotel, we ordered Dominos Pizza and then crashed for the rest of the night!
Day 2 February 24th (29,804 steps):
After checking out of the hotel, we were able to take the FREE Heathrow Airport Hotel Bus over to the Hilton Garden Inn
to ask them to hold our checked bag for us. We would be returning to their hotel Sunday night and we didn’t want to drag our checked bags with us as we explored London on Saturday and Sunday. Thankfully, the desk clerk agreed to hold our bags for us! After taking care of the bags, we were glad to realize that the “Underground” Subway station was just around the corner. We took off, each of us bundled in layers, and carrying our backpacks for an overnight adventure in London!
Before we left home we purchased Oyster Cards https://oyster.tfl.gov.uk/oyster/entry for each of us, so we were able to walk right up to the card scanners and then right onto the platform to wait for our train.
It was a straight shot down to London. We were headed to the Borough Market, a top rated London Farmers Market. The Underground Station was just steps away from the market and the market was mostly sheltered so the cold temps were not too discouraging.
We enjoyed the best Bacon Egg and Cheese sandwiches during our visit to the market! Yum!
The market was everything we expected and more! Lots of people buying lots of things! I couldn’t help but think about how normal it all felt to me!
After enjoying our breakfast at the market, we set off on foot to explore London. We crossed the London Bridge first, taking a moment to reflect on the tragic events of the June 7, 2017 terror attack on the bridge.
We walked past the Shard, the Monument and Leadenhall Market before circling back around to the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge.
There were lots of people out sightseeing, the weather was still cold, but the sun was out and it actually felt nice at times. We crossed back over the Thames River via the Tower Bridge, just in time to watch the drawbridge open for a passing ship. That was quite a sight to see! Once across the bridge, we wandered along the riverbank back towards the Borough Market. During our exploration, we came upon a street vendor selling roasted nuts, which Dakotah couldn’t pass up! We also enjoyed a few photo ops along the banks of the river.
The most magical moment for me was when we walked under the London Bridge….they were playing London Bridge Is Falling Down on the sound system. I felt like a child!
Onward to St. Paul’s Cathedral, for a few moments of reflection in the courtyard of these historic grounds. St. Paul’s was the last thing on our list before we were going to check into our hotel to prepare the evenings event! We were standing in line, waiting for our bus, we were freezing once again at the bus stop! We had just missed the bus we needed as we walked up to the stop, so we knew we’d be waiting 15 or more minutes for the next bus. So what did we do? We decided to get on the very next bus and ride it to wherever it was going…..
My favorite way to see London
The view from a Double Decker Bus
The next bus came, we jumped on, and lucky for us, the front seats on the top level were open. We went straight up. Honestly, this was my absolute favorite part of the day! We rode that bus to the end, and then jumped on another and rode it to the far side of London! What fun we had! The sites we saw! The London Eye, Westminster Palace, Big Ben it was like we were on a private tour! This was a fantastic way to see the city!
After so much fun on the buses, we had to hustle over to check into the Hilton Double Tree and then get over to the spot where we were to meet for the Jack the Ripper walking tour; our entertainment for the night.
Bitterly Cold is the only way I can describe the temperatures as we crept along the back streets of the Whitechapel area of London. I had never really understood the details of the Jack the Ripper case until that night….sad.
Bailey at the Jack The Ripper Walking Tour
Dakotah at the Jack The Ripper Walking Tour
Once the Jack the Ripper tour was over, we grabbed some dinner at an American Themed 50’s Diner….I guess we can’t get away from burgers and fries!
I’m gonna say that taking the Underground back to our hotel on Saturday night around 10pm, didn’t seem near as safe and innocent as it did at 10am! For those of you traveling with kids or by yourself, I encourage you to avoid the Underground if you can later at night.
These are the things we did on Day 2-
Day 3 February 25, 2018 (17,117 steps):
Once again, it was very cold when we were off early to catch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. Our hotel was about a mile and a half from the Palace so we took off on foot. We stopped at a local grocery store and grabbed some fresh fruit for breakfast on our way. We were able to see the Westminster Abby, Big Ben and Westminster Palace on our way. We got to Buckingham Palace in time to get a front row spot to stand in front of the gates. At first this seemed like the perfect spot to watch the ceremony, but as the masses filled in behind us, we actually felt a bit trapped! We were literally pinned against the fence. There was a little pushing and squishing as people pressed in to get a good look. I couldn’t believe how many people turned out to see the ceremony! Make sure you arrive early for this one!
After seeing the changing of the guard we headed back down to the Whitechapel part of town. We wanted to check out the street market that they have on Sundays. We were told that this was a Sunday tradition, that the streets would be lined with vendors…that sounded right up our alley! Unfortunately, we were a bit disappointed upon arrival. There were lots of street vendors but it was mostly apparel and it seemed kinda flea market-ish to us. After a quick tour, we headed over to Poppies Fish and Chips http://poppiesfishandchips.co.uk/ for lunch. Poppies came highly recommended and we were not disappointed!
After lunch we caught the Underground back out to the airport where we had reservations at the Hilton Garden Inn.
Here are the things we saw on Day 3-
The Beast from the East was not due to hit London for another 5 days, but the daily temperatures were bitterly cold already. We had a blast exploring the best of London in some of the coldest temperatures London had seen in years! We wore lots of layers, stayed sheltered as much as we could, but we kept on going! We didn’t let the cold keep us from taking in all that London had to offer! My best advise, is to know what time your bus is due to arrive; the most painfully cold moments were the ones when we were waiting for a bus! Cheers Ya’ll!
In the beginning, you have to do it all. There’s no money to buy anything, but you need everything!
We wanted to stand out, we wanted to let the people know that we were open for business!
I love it when we hand-stamp our boxes, bags and envelopes. It’s so us…handmade. But in the beginning, it was as much necessity as it was branding.
Early on, we had more time than money! Bailey was still in High School, but once a week she and I did the hand stamping of the labels we used on the first version of our bags. We developed some pretty efficient processes for pushing through a few hundred at a time. I remember how they’d be laid out in rows drying on the shelves down in the basement production area.
Today, Bailey is an expert at executing the Just-In-Time inventory model, and I believe the early days of making “just enough” labels is to thank!
When you start a business, you have to develop your look….this is how we got started at MFJ!
We used chalkboard paint on everything so we could blast our message to the gazillion of people that drove past that little jerky shack everyday. Everyone in town knew about that little jerky shack on the edge of town!
We had fun with it too!
When we started the Farmers Market stands, we continued the chalkboard theme.
I believe that it was this little jerky shack, and our chalkboard branding that allowed us to communicate with our customers in a way that was fun, young, innocent and heartwarming! These things helped our customers cheer for our success!
You can see, over 4 years later, we are still using chalkboards as part of our look.
So when you’re just getting started, keep in mind that you’re earliest branding choices, are likely to stick with you for awhile!
You don’t have to spend a lot of money, if you don’t have it, on your look. It’s much more important to get out there with what you have at that time and build from there!