Meet Steve and Laura
We are the two fledgling business owners behind Sticky Beaks, a street food start-up, supplying sandwiches to anyone who’ll eat them. The idea for the stall was hatched in Sydney, Australia, where we were living for 18 months before we decided incessant sunshine, stupidly high salaries and being less than 10 minutes from a beach pretty much anywhere you went, clearly wasn’t enough for us.
The concept of the business has changed a number of times, lurching from a bakery, to a coffee shop, a sandwich kiosk, before settling on a street food stall. The major attraction is the relatively low start-up costs, flexibility in menu and trading spots and an opportunity to express ourselves with the food we make in a way that the other brilliant traders at markets and events across London do. It’s a scene that’s been expanding for the past few years in London, and where some of the most exciting cuisine is being produced.
However, the process of making a concept real hasn’t happened overnight, with no small input from the incredible people at The Prince’s Trust.
There’s been plenty of ‘field research’ (i.e. visiting markets and eating a shed load of other people’s food)
And testing our own recipes
Which is the hugely enjoyable, tweetable, instagramable side of starting a food business, expanding your knowledge, waistline and repertoire before launching it on the public.
There is a much less glamorous, but equally essential, side to how Sticky Beaks has got to this point though. We have been working tirelessly to decide whether the business is viable, delving into statistics and reports on the takeaway food industry (finding out the seemingly useless, but actually vital fact, that sandwiches account for 1/3 of all fast food in the UK). Our pulled pork Banh Mi and Moroccan meatball sub could take London’s markets by storm, and by could, I obviously mean will, but if we don’t know how much they cost to make, then Sticky Beaks won’t see its first birthday.
On the upside, we now know how to bookkeep, calculate profit margins, cashflow forecasts, set up our kitchen to avoid poisoning people (apparently this is an important aspect of food production) and other slightly dull, but incredibly essential aspects of self employment.
There’s going to be plenty more rules, regulations and major hiccups along the way which are, to quote Dick Cheney, unknown unknowns, but it sure as hell is going to beat working for someone else for a living.
Sticky Beaks will be trading before the end of May, at Jerdan Place market in Fulham, and hopefully in Camden Passage in Islington by the time the World Cup kicks off in June. We’ll try to keep this blog updated with all the thrills and spills of street food trading as we dip our toes into a world neither of us have much idea about, but can’t wait to get our feet soaking wet.