Spoon is now something that Annie and I spend most of our time planning for, working on and strategising about. It is a legitimate business with lots of customers and suppliers as well as partners and investors. It was not always that way though.
For a long time Spoon was just a concept that existed in Annie’s head – a dream of a better breakfast. She had to fit her thoughts about making breakfast better in and around her day-to-day money-earning work in advertising. When I joined her, initially as a business mentor, it was the same for me. Spoon was a side project, a passion project, and one that we did for the love of what we were creating. It was something that was our own and something that was going to do better things than were already being done. It was not for the money (there was no salary until early in 2017). It was not for the joy of the 4am market starts driving rented vans across London and it was certainly not for the bureaucratic hassles of running a food manufacturing kitchen. These were things we did because we knew that something good was going to come of it. We cared about it and we were going to enjoy the ride, whatever that might entail.
We planned for the first launch of Spoon, back in summer 2013, cooking up recipes from old cookbooks, mixing grains that we had barely heard of and taking all sorts of granola and muesli-making advice from anyone that would give it. Much time was spent in the kitchen staring into ovens, mixing and baking with our hair and clothes smelling of sweet granola for hours afterwards. This was all done in our spare time. When we weren't in the kitchen or at a market, we were doing other things, things that we needed to do to earn money and not necessarily things that we wanted to do. What we wanted to do was to get Spoon up-and-running. It was not until about nine months later that we realised our side-project could become what we had hoped it would – a real, growing business of our own that makes breakfast better for people.
It was not until I attended the Do Lectures in summer 2015 in Cardigan in the far west of Wales that I first heard the term 'side project' (I had thought of Spoon as a hobby and a fun outlet from ‘real life’). At the Do I met a host of other people who were running side projects. Indeed the Do Lectures itself was a side project of the founders. These various side projects had taken over and become something much more in people’s lives and all because people cared. People had passion and they believed in what they were doing. Their side project had become ‘real life’.
Starting Spoon and attending the Do Lectures have both had very big impacts on my life. Both have taught me to take risks, to follow the path that you feel is the right one for you and to create your own future the way that you see it. Keep reading, keep exploring and always take opportunities to learn. So whatever it is that you are doing on the side, keep doing it. You never know where it may take you.