It’s good to talk

Its good to talk, to share the day

We know it’s good to talk. We are based at The Guild a coworking space in the beautiful Carlisle city centre.  Up until COVID our main business involved face to face contact with businesses large and small.  During Lockdown One we adapted to the new online world of Zoom ,Teams etc.  A brief respite during the Summer meant that we had the joy of actually talking to people face to face. Then Lockdown Two brought us back to the online world.

This week has really brought home how much we and other businesses have adapted.  We now all know more than ever that you have to talk and share your day with other businesses.

The new normal is not Shangri-La BUT it’s not Blade Runner either…

Our new normal is intense.  Like most SMEs we are probably working more concentrated hours than ever before. Some of this is good news and some not so good.  Answers to the following questions can have both a positive and negative impact on your life or on your business:

  • How many hours a week do you save not travelling to meetings?  But how many of those hours were non contact time that you could gather your thoughts in?
  • How many early mornings and late evenings can you fit in and not have to leave the house? Does this mean that work time has encroached on your home life?
  • Whether you’re working from home or from your business do you find you can focus on the task in hand quicker?  Are you focusing on business at the cost of everything else?
  • Does the loss of turnover ‘motivate’ you more to search out the new opportunities? Are you getting tired of chasing new?
  • Has the loss of regular income focused you’re mind on really cutting business costs back? Have you shrunk the business back to a point where you are doing everything again?
  • Or have lock downs and COVID made you really busy, where you are at full capacity? Is your business coping under the pressure and how much of this will continue once lockdown eases?

Questions, the good, the bad and the ugly can feel lonely without peers

The real danger of social distancing is that a cry for help or a shout of joy often goes unheard.  We know one of the main benefits of coworking is the ability to share the good and the bad.  Sharing this with fellow businesses just makes it better still.

We have found that we can now get some of this back online.  You don’t have to feel alone in the wilderness and you can share your joy outside of your room.

How we shared online…

Like many other businesses we have taken our established business relationships online.  Knowing who you are dealing with helps online relationship work.  We are working with a great business team who will launch a brand new product next year.  We were approached by an old business contact to write submissions for honours awards.  Knowing the team meant we could run phone interviews immediately and capture great stories around the nominees.

We are also working with a new business introduced to us by a fellow associate.  Here trust in the go between has meant we have all committed a significant amount of time to a project before any of us have met in person.

Trust is so important

Our final thoughts go to this week.  On Monday we held an ONIT Zoom meeting with our fellow Guilders. ONIT has been running for many months and it is now an online meeting of businesses (Guilders) connected with the Guild.  The agenda was simply how do we deal with our wellbeing?  We all laughed. We all reflected and most importantly we all shared our ups and downs.  Trust amongst a group of businesses that have shared the same experiences allows us to take on this new normal. We owe a personal thank you to Mondays group who just made our life that much better.

Peer to Peer, a place where it is good to talk

This week we also launched our first two Action Learning Groups for the BEIS funded Peer to Peer Network   facilitated by our Jacqui Jackson and the talented Tina Cook. This is where businesses can really share and work on solutions for their businesses with fellow business leaders. These groups will run through to March next year.  We are already really impressed with the level of honesty, trust and care our businesses are showing.  In Cumbria our cohorts and those of Cumbria Chambers are now full.  If you want to join the Cumbrian Peer to Peer Network there are still paces with groups led by Entrepreneurial Spark, the Leadership Secret and Skills for Care. Just contact Helen at the Cumbrian LEP for more details.

Final Word

It’s always good to talk.  The very act of saying out loud what you are thinking releases pressure from your brain.  We are sociable animals.  So please use what ever medium suits you AND get out there and talk.

If you want to know more contact us.


PEER TO PEER NETWORKS PROGRAMME STARTING IN NOVEMBER

Thomas Jardine help deliver Cumbrian Peer to Peer Networks

We are really proud to be one of the delivery partners for the Cumbrian LEP and BEIS

Who is it For?

Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP) is offering SME decision makers, in Cumbria, the opportunity to work collaboratively in small cohorts to address business challenges with their peers.

Engaging with like-minded individuals through a series of facilitated sessions you will have the opportunity to address your business needs, gain feedback and identify practical solutions in a confidential setting.

Benefits

By completing the Peer to Networks opportunity, you will:

  • Develop a trusted network of connections
  • Address and overcome business challenges
  • Develop new skills to recognise business opportunities
  • Evaluate your business style and share experiences

Eligibility

The programme is available to any SME business that have:

  • Operating for at least one year
  • Have at least five employees
  • Turnover of at least £100,000
  • Aspiration to Improve

Peer to Peer networking will enable develop strong business relationships and foster a new experiential business learning opportunity.

To Register your interest in the programme

Please email Helen Atherton at helen.atherton@thecumbrialep.co.uk

Who will contact you directly by return

If you want to be in a group facilitated by us please mention this to Helen

For more details  Keith@thomasjardineandco.o.uk or see : Brochure from CLEP 


Handy dating tool for business : changing culture for changing times

Dating tool for business

Are you creative?  Do you look for innovative solutions? Why use a dating tool?

Is your supply chain up in the air?  Are you questioning your relationship with your current suppliers? Are you looking for new customers and clients?

If so do you really get on with some customers, do some suppliers just not get how you work?

Like any relationship , business really works when both parties understand each others needs.  Maybe its time to set up a business dating tool?

Creatives and Non Creatives

In relationships opposites do attract and sometimes they work really well. Then again, in may cases unfortunately they don’t.

A creative free spirit and a non creative control freak are not often a good match.  The same is true for business.  But it is not always true,  in times of change different personalities can really help a situation.  The trick is to recognise your differences and work together to solve the problem you are both facing.

So, why is this important to business now and what has this to do with business culture?

The answer is that all businesses have their own ‘culture’ ranging from complete control from the centre to complete autonomy of agents working to a collective goal.  If you don’t understand your culture you may not understand why some customers, clients or suppliers can’t fit in with your business.  Or if you are a B2B provider you may be totally frustrated by the way a new client operates.  Maybe if you had understood their culture you could have either avoided them or adapted the way you operate.

In these times of dramatic change it is really important that we all learn to understand how we operate and that’s where Mr Charles Handy steps in…

Charles Handy….a voice from the past

Business is based around society and we have been studying society since the Ancient Greeks.  If you want to understand how society works the answer has been written.  If you don’t believe us, type in ‘management books on business culture‘ in Amazon…you will get a choice of over 4,000 books!  Amongst them is Handy…we love his books because they don’t always offer simple answers, instead they offer simple ways to understand how our complicated business cultures work.

Leadership techniques and management styles are always being given a new lick of paint by the new business gurus.  If you scratch their surfaces you will often find that their answers are built on Handy‘s understanding of business culture, based on the premise that there is no such thing as the right or best culture, just the most appropriate culture for the changing world around it!

Our dating advice based on Handy

So let’s look at this from the individual that is approaching the new business (this works in reverse if you are a business looking to work with a new individual).  Like all good dating sites we need to understand a few things about your personality.  So a couple of questions to ask yourself.

Where are you on the scale between super creative to more happy delivering repetitive tasks reliably and accurately?

Where are you on the scale between wanting complete control of what you do to happy to be told exactly what to do and when?

Now here are your choices of types of businesses to work with:

Power Culture

This business usually has a lack of formal rules, but does have a powerful individual or small group at its head! You do what your told and don’t rock the boat you will be fine!

Suits you?  If not take a deep breath , this business might well have been guided in the right direction by its leaders and won’t need your services.  However if this business has taken the wrong track or really can’t figure out where to go next it will need your services.  The trick with a relationship is to understand how it works.  You are unlikely to become best buddies but there may be a moment in time where you can work constructively with them as long as they allow you some space to do what you do.

Task Culture

This business has very few rules, generally quite organic in form, loves achieving results and sharing skills.  It is task focused based on teams who just get things done.  Everyone in these teams is expected to contribute equally.  We’ll let you figure out how you could work with these folk.

Person Culture

This business purely exists to serve its members or collectively pursue its aim which couldn’t be done individually!  Its all about the people in it rather than the business itself.  The focus is on the individual rather than the business.  Again we will leave you to work out how you would fit with them.

Role Culture

Now, this business is usually more than a bit bureaucratic!  Authority lies in highly controlled, enforced rules, systems and procedures…everyone has a role that comes with a responsibility and a do it our way attitude!  Have a think how this fits with you.

From the business perspective

So to use the descriptions to figure out what type of business culture you are.  Think about your clients and supply chain, and plot them.  Then think what are you trying to fix and what type of person/approach this would require.  Think about the change around us and ask what’s the ‘most appropriate’ culture needed NOW?  Now really think how your business can get the best from them…this may require a little bit of give and take…but all good relationships are built on this.

On It?

We will talk about this more at our On It Club…just give us a shout at Thomas Jardine & Co.

 


Change it’s not you it’s them

Are you facing change?

Do you agree  or disagree that “change it’s not you it’s them” ?

In January did you have a lovely business plan? Has the plan changed a little?

Now take a deep breath and answer this honestly.  Is all the change due to COVID or is a good part of it things you were always going to get round to doing?

Change in business often looks like it is driven by outside forces.  In many cases this is true but the type and scale of change is down to the leader of the business.  We subconsciously make decisions made on our perception of the world and this does not always match what the rest of the world is seeing.

Do you need Space to change?

Many of us have had space away from our business to really work on the business future rather than in the business.  So, is it that thinking space that is driving part of our change of focus in our businesses?  Admittedly COVID has had a huge effect on many sectors (ours included as coworking we had to physically close during Lockdown…the first time a business ran by our family has closed its doors for over 125 years).

But has the space to think allowed us all real time to unscramble the noise and focus on changing the business?  This change may not be dramatic pivoting.  It may just be a more focused look at costs or a re-evaluation of our customer base.

All changes big or small require confident leadership.

Is there the confidence to Lead?

So have you got the confidence to lead change? COVID and the ensuing media focus on the coming recession has hit the confidence of all but the most resilient leaders.  It’s OK to be unsure, we all are.  Nobody really knows what the future will hold.  That is the beauty of it , for once in a generation we are facing a level playing field of ‘business knowledge’.

We gain confidence from sharing and refining our ideas.  Build a trusted network , support each other and watch that confidence grow.  You may even get confident enough to let your new ideas grow in the hands of others.

Have you the confidence to Let Go?

Many of us as business leaders do have trouble letting go. If we can build up our confidence and focus on what we want to change in our business then we can let others take our business forward.

Use the right tools for you!

We are all different.  Use your difference as your advantage.  Make decisions using the tools (Strategyzers Business Model Canvas is a great example) that suit your style.  Don’t be prescriptive in your change journey, be you.

If you want a ‘confidant’ that will challenge you to help you on your journey, give us a shout at Thomas Jardine & Co


If

If you kept your focus when all about you

Were losing theirs and blaming it on COVID,

If you pivoted when others doubted change,

But made allowance for their doubting too;

If you’re waiting for normal and not tired by waiting,

You are a business in our new world

A ‘sticker’ who held a steady course and never wavered

Or an ‘innovator’ who pivoted in weeks

Or one of the ‘undecided’ who are waiting to stick or pivot

 

If you can plan—and not make the plans your master

If you can pause – and not make the pause your life

If you have met with Triumph and Disaster

And treated those two impostors just the same;

If you can keep your focus on the business

When everything is pushing you to work in the business

And have watched the things you gave your life to, broken,

And are now building them back with a furloughed team

 

If you are making one heap of all your reserves

To risk it on a pivot to a new future,

Knowing you may lose, and have to start again

And never breathe a word of your fears to those about you;

If you have forced your heart and nerve and soul

To serve your business long after you are done,

And are holding on when there is nothing in you

Except the voice which says to you: ‘Hold on!’

 

If you can talk with customers and keep their attention,

Or work with suppliers—to keep your supply chain alive,

If neither competitors nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all people count with you, but none too much;

If you can still fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And—which is more—you are a business leader my friend.

 

Inspired by Rudyard Kipling , Be the Business and our fellow Guilders at the Guild Carlisle

If you’re ready to talk we are ready to listen at

Thomas Jardine & Co

 


ON IT Club

So, what’s this all about?  Well we started the ON IT club with the awesome Guild Members in Carlisle.  We are now excited to announce we are introducing it to the wider business community.

ON IT is a way to bring together business leaders from all sectors to work ‘ON’ their businesses.   We all know it’s all too easy to be sucked into the ‘day to day’ and start losing sight of where you want to be.

An example of how ON IT is effective is how well it worked during the lockdown. Like the rest of the country our Guilders were split between those flipping their business model, those waiting to see what happens next . The ON IT club allowed all of us to share our hopes, dreams and worries through this really difficult time.  It helped keep us focused on where we were taking our individual businesses.

Take the current situation….business in the UK is currently in 3 broad camps:

The ‘innovators’ those who have taken action.  They flipped their business model.  Adopted new tech, went for new markets, new products to serve customers in a whole new way!

The ‘stickers’ those who are either confident or defiant, waiting for normal to return!

The ‘undecided’ those thinking hard about bold steps, but not quite ready to commit to a new business model

Where are you?  Where do you want to be? Who can help you get there?

All of us (innovators, stickers or undecided) need to know how our business is performing in relation to the general market. With all that has happened, we all need time to take a moment to check we are still heading to a ‘place’ in business we want to be.  We all need somewhere we can go to where we can get honest opinions on the help available out there.

So if you’re an innovator that wants to keep on track. Or a sticker who wants to check if normal has returned . Or an undecided that just wants to unscramble the noise.  We believe the ON IT group will genuinely help you with all of this.

The ON IT club is designed purely for business and its leaders, it’s for people who run their own thing and want to talk business with other business leaders, those with a different perspective, different ideas, different ways of solving challenges and scoping new opportunities.

This is a monthly virtual peer group of business leaders where we bring business tools to life to get YOU to where you want to be.

Leading any business or organisation can be a lonely place, join the monthly virtual ‘on it’ club and make that change!

How ON IT Works:

  • Peer to peer problem solving with other business leaders – unscramble!
  • Peer to peer opportunity scoping with other business leaders – save time!
  • Business talking to business about business – keep on track!
  • Interactive masterclasses throughout the year from active business owners
  • Business tools brought to life to help your business move forward.
  • Build your business toolbox!
  • Monthly 90 min sessions via Zoom

Click here to get ON IT

Thomas Jardine & Co working in partnership with The Guild, Carlisle.

 

 

 


Have customer needs changed?

We all need to focus on what our customer ‘needs’.  Strategyzers Value Proposition Canvas is the best tool for this.  This tool works because it identifies what will improve the customers life.

Up until COVID, we assumed that customer ‘needs’ change as their individual circumstances change.  This made  our job as a business fairly straight forward.  We identified a customer type and targeted our services towards them. The assumption was that even if some customers needs change, on average there will always be a large enough segment of this type to keep our business busy.

In the UK  we always assumed we would be mainly dealing with peoples higher needs such as  products or experiences that were to varying degrees designed specifically for them.

From basic needs to self fulfilment

In the 1950’s a phycologist called Maslow captured peoples needs in a pyramid.  The base stage covered basic needs (food, safety , warmth etc.), the next stage was the psychological needs of belonging and self esteem and the final stage met self fulfilment needs.  Anyone who has done business studies at university should be aware of Maslow.

The use of Maslow led to an  assumption in modern business teaching. This  was that  the majority of the developed world were satisfied in the basic stage of food and safety. Then those in employment had to varying degrees met their needs of belonging and self esteem.  Finally those with financial stability tended to aspire to achieving self fulfilment aided by all sorts of services designed specifically for individuals.

The assumption was always that individuals would move up and down these stages as their circumstances changed.  Academics implied that economic blips such as recessions might mean that over a period of time larger groups of individuals might refocus on lower stages of needs.

COVID has led to a dramatic shift in these assumptions.  Now we have seen one event leading to a hopefully brief global change in societies needs.  And businesses have to now deal with the new normal.

Three stages back to normality

We suggest three stages of COVID for business.

Before COVID (BC) was the old business normality.

During COVID (DC) is the stage we are in now. Our current business normality has changed, sometimes on an hourly basis.  This is  because scientists, politicians, the media and economists cannot yet agree on how to control COVID.  More worrying still, no one can predict what the eventual final impact of COVID will be.

Post COVID (PC) has still to come.  One day we will be over this. As business we will adapt and we will thrive in a new normal.  We as individuals will fulfil the needs of our customers.  Eventually the experts will catch up and new models will evolve.  Until then here are some quick thoughts.

Before COVID

So before COVID (BC) we were all solving customers needs that were relatively stable. We focused on adding value by catering to their self esteem and ‘belonging’ needs. We were able to charge a premium if we helped customers achieve self fulfilment.

If we didn’t do this directly we were involved in a supply chain that catered for these needs.

During COVID

Pre lockdown we faced some uncertainty but not many of us changed our business model.

Lockdown saw the whole of the UK focus on food and toilet rolls.  Up until that point we hadn’t heard many experts predict this. Lockdown also saw many of us closed by government action.

The first few weeks saw society as a whole value their personal safety.  During this time many essential businesses continued to meet basic customer needs at a time when the advice on how to operate safely was still been developed. Others pivoted their business to meet new customer needs.

As lock down eases many of our businesses are reopening.  All those who are consumer facing are focused on the basic need of safety.

The next stage will be to satisfy peoples need of a sense of belonging.  One hundred days of lockdown means we all want to feel like we belong to society again.  Business has a huge part to play in this . We work in supply chains that now more than ever have to look after the weakest business in their links.

Whilst we live with COVID we will have to support each other.  We need to belong to positive groups.  we need to work with our peers to develop a new normal.

Then we can work on each others prestige and feelings of accomplishment as we bounce back from the brink.

Post COVID

This will end .  Hopefully we will have all learned something from the experience and our businesses will be more in tune with our customers and suppliers than they were before.

Actions for now

Work on your businesses future (even though currently  you are probably back to the floor working in it).

Take some time to stand in your customers shoes.  Really consider what their current and near future needs are.  Make sure your services/products meet these needs.

If you need someone to work with you on this.  Give us a call at Thomas Jardine & Co. We will help unscramble the noise and this will save you time.

Link to our video on changing customer needs and COVID here.


Fix what you can you are the experts

The new world order

Never has the mantra “fix what you can and leave the rest” been more important for business.

Our business ecosystem is now entering a new world order. As lockdown eases opposing forces will offer opinions on how we bounce back from COVID. Our economic and political experts will offer conflicting advice for the foreseeable future.  So leave the economy and the political solutions to the experts and focus on what you can fix.

You/we are the expert

We knew our business pre COVID.  Now we are getting to know the new reality.  This new reality brings problems we thought we had buried long ago right back into our consciousness. COVID19 in may cases now means we can’t see the wood for the trees.

We had systems that identified and funnelled customers to our well designed products and services.  The supply chain provided all the products and services required at exactly the time they were needed. In this transition time between lockdown and new reality no one can guarantee customer flows or supply chains.

What we as businesses are left with is all the expertise we have built up pre COVID, then during lockdown and the experience we are gaining daily in the world post COVID19.

What we can’t fix we can influence

We can’t fix all our customers pains BUT we can listen to them.  Similarly, we can’t fix all our suppliers problems BUT we can work with them.  Finally, we can’t tackle every new business that has or will enter our sector BUT we can learn from how they interpret our sectors problems.  So, if we listen, work with and learn we will can stop reacting and start influencing the businesses around us.  Ironically, if we all influence the business ecosystem around us  then the experts will notice the change and start agreeing on a direction.

Just look at the way the food eco-system has pivoted with wholesalers and manufacturers stepping in to sell direct to consumers during lockdown.  Now everyone in this ecosystem has to deal with a new reality way beyond just social distancing.

The new Food Ecosystem

 

Use the right tools to fix the problem

Jacqui and Keith do not claim to be business experts we only have MAs in business and 30 years each in running a fifth generation family business.  Business is about building systems that work around people.  the trick is to get the right tool for the right situation.

So post COVID if you are looking at pivoting into a new service or product then consider the 5P model courtesy of Prof Nigel Lockett (Proposition, people, place, process and profit).  Or if you are looking at building on an existing product or service recheck your processes with Strategyzers Business Model Canvas.

If unsure about the tools ask us

Thomas Jardine & co would be happy to customise your toolbelt.

 

 

 


The food eco-system bounces back

Food producers

The food eco-system is fundamental to a large number of our regions businesses.  Living on the edge of Scotland and England we are used to bouncing back from the occasional invading armies moving north or south. During COVID we have witnessed the fortitude of part of this system. As lockdown opens up again we will see even more examples from our brilliant regional business eco-system.

Our food producers have done a brilliant job over the last seven weeks.  Every week on behalf of This is Cumbria we have thanked the numerous food businesses that ensured we all had food on our tables.

There are numerous stories of delis ( Keswick Cheese  & Penrith Chopping Block) brewers (Carlisle Brewers) cheese makers (Butlers Larder), pie makers (The Pie Mill whose father died of COVID), donut makers (Bruce and Luke’s)  and butter makers (Winter Tarn Dairy) coming together to offer solutions for us consumers. Others like Shed1Gin even managed to produce hand sanitiser at a time when supply was dangerously low.  Our map grew exponentially as people shared good news from across the county.

So once more we say thank you to the great food and drink producers from our place.

Food Retailers and Wholesalers

With the closure of hotels and restaurants food wholesalers pivoted their models to service the public rather than business.  Our local brands such as the Pioneer , Caterite, McClures & Cranstons  and so many more served us well.  We should remember that even though they were extremely busy serving the public they had in many cases lost most of their income that came from servicing the hotel and restaurant industries.

From the larger independents such as Booths to the smaller village stores such as Cartmell Food Shed they have all kept us going.  They have all done this in times of great uncertainty.  We will always owe these guys a debt of gratitude.  They have not had the stay at home break and still face the same uncertain future that we all do.

Restaurants and cafes

With the enforced close-down only allowing takeaways many of these businesses simply could not operate.  Those that did had to build a takeaway system from scratch, work with the uncertainty of COVID and manage a business with a fall in turnover of at least 80%.

With the loosening of the Stay at Home Message more restaurants and cafes can now operate.  They have changed their business model to delivery or collection.  At the same time, they must plan for a future social distancing post COVID world.

Over the coming weeks these guys will work the second miracle of our food eco-system.  Most of us won’t notice.  So please stop and think.  These businesses will have to offer takeaway food from a business set up to serve food at tables.  They will have to work out how to package the meals, deal with outside orders, deliveries, collections, and online payments.  At a time when the rules on social distancing evolve. When they will probably only achieve part of their previous turnover and must plan for the eventual reopening of their proper business.

At the same time all their wholesalers still must balance the demands of their new public consumers with trying to support the restaurants who to begin with will not know how much limited stock to carry.

The next stage is starting

There are so many food businesses doing this already.  Here are just a few:

Halston in Carlisle : Sunday Roast to go

Lanercost Tea Rooms : offering weekend takeaways

Yewdale Inn Coniston : Fish and chip takeaways in Coniston

The Good Sister Carlisle : Picnic Boxes Carlisle

Paolos Fish & Chips : Collection Carlisle

There are so many more and we will happily add them to our map NO CHARGE

Supporting the food eco-system

Behind the front line quietly worked a band of businesses.  They worked long hours hidden from public view and include web experts supporting the online changes like Sparrow Digital, Black Lab Software and Bungalistic to experts in the online cloud like Beaty Consultancy  and digital marketing like KC Creative .Then there were finance companies smoothing the loan applications like Enterprise Answers and solicitors like Cartmell Shepherd helping with everything from employment advice to will making.  There were also other individual experts such as accountants , food safety experts (ML3 Technical) and photographers capturing business images (Jenny Woolgar) playing their parts.

Behind the eco-system

A brilliant face group set up as Small Business Support Carlisle captures part of the eco-system coming back to life that can support the bounce back of the food eco system.  We are all involved in this eco-system with everything from humanising the COVID safety message (Plus3k) to entertaining children online (Rainbow Jelly) and planning an online party to get us through this ( Happy out Loud Day)

We are so proud to be associated with all the large and small businesses in our eco-system and know our region can and will show the country how to truly bounce back from COVID19.

Please contact us with any thoughts you have on the food eco-system at Thomas Jardine and Co.

 

 


COVID wars episode IV a new hope

COVID wars the beginning

In a market a long time ago (2019) a small group of independents gathered to fight the global food empires.  Driven by a dream of two jedi’s of the food world from the planets Hawkshead Relish and Ginger Bakers. They looked to spread the force of food made with passion.

Our jedi’s passed their plan to a small group of rebels from the planets Thomas Jardine & Co and the Family Business Network.  We were fortunate enough to get support from the mighty Cartmell Shepherd and Enterprise Answers.  With the support of Cartmells and Enterprise a small rebel fleet was established

The rebel alliance

Our drive to support the rebels comes from watching our two sons.  Both were fighting as independents in different sectors.  Our eldest runs the Guild a safe base for freelancers and managers not tied to a corporate desk.  Whilst our youngest takes his fight to the food empire with his partner in crime on the good ship Bruce and Luke’s.

Rebels from across the market all had similar tales to tell. They were gathering on an alliance planet called the Farmshop & Deli Show.  Our small fleet was joined by ships from Kin Vodka, Tray Bakes, Pennington’s Liqueurs, Lakeland Artisan and Farrer’s.  The alliance flew under the This is Cumbria banner. The banner was developed by We are Eclectic and printed by Printing Plus and was to be proudly flown on the planet Farmshop & Deli.

The movement hadn’t finished yet.  the generosity of Cartmells and Enterprise and uniforms from Liberty Workware meant we could launch a new millennium ship that housed new freedom fighters like Shed1Gin, ML3, Molly Rose, The Toffee Shop and the Pie Mill joined us on our crusade.

The need for a new hope

The first gathering at the planet of Farmshop & Deli was a huge success.  The alliance grew in confidence and new fighters from Cakes from the Lakes, Eden Valley Meat Company, Hawkshead Brewery and Vies Jamaican Rum Cakes joined us for a return trip to the planet Farmshop and Deli in 2020.

Then a dark force not seen for a millennium appeared just off our planet.  The COVID death star threatened both the rebel alliance and the empire itself.  So for the good of our galaxy the fleets had to disperse and locked down in their own planets until the time came when we could re-emerge and complete our mission.

Planning for the future after the death star

In this dark time none of the rebels have stood still.  Some have focused on homing their jedi skills. Others have continued to supply their homelands with brilliant food and drink.  Soon we will have a plan to deal with the death star.  We still have to compete with the empire.

The gradual ending of lock down means we can continue our fight to bring food and drink made with passion to our homelands. Maybe what we have learned is that movements work best with rebels with a cause .

The credits will soon role on this episode and we will be ready for the next one.  Slightly older and slightly wiser.

May the force be with us.