When you start a new job, it’s generally expected that you’ll spend the first week or two finding out all you can about the company, its people and its purpose. Why? Because the more information you have, the better you’ll do.
Here at The Point.1888, we take that approach with our brands too. It doesn’t matter how much new business has come our way in the last 18 months, every new client is special and if we’re going to identify the perfect partners for them and create incredible new products for their audience, we can’t scrimp on the facts. We want to know EVERYTHING.
That is why George, Janine, Ed, Hannah and I spent a day last month with our new client River Cottage immersing ourselves in their incredible world. Who says work has to be hard, huh?
Warning. This blog post contains wellies.
After taking a tube, a train and a cab ride in which we were hilariously accused of being “City Types”, our last mode of transport to get to River Cottage’s Axminster “Headquarters” was a tractor and trailer. Thankfully, we’d all come prepared with wellies and embraced the journey. Some more than others as it was George’s first time on a tractor.
As a reward, he and the rest of us were treated to homemade River Cottage biscuits and then promptly donned our aprons to learn how to make focaccia with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s right hand chef, Gelf. I tried making bread with Theo in the summer and it was a DISASTER. Who could go wrong with a box kit? That would be me.
As we make our bread, I explain to Gelf that anything we do with River Cottage which has instructions requires a video of him showing how to do it ‘properly’ (we pop that on the to do list for the next few months!). We leave the focaccia to prove whilst we have a tour of the Farm and venue.
We see the River Cottage chickens, sheep and cows. Yet again, George is beside himself.
Then they show us their kitchen, event room where they hold weddings, the gardens which are beautiful and the outdoor cooking area. It truly is an incredible place but then again when you consider how successful the business that has come from it is, it’s fair enough!
Once back inside we then take our proved dough, stretch it onto a tray, sprinkle on salt and add rosemary. Simple. So where did I go so wrong last time?!
Next, we move onto making our lunch – pizza. We roll out our dough and add lamb, cheese, sauteed mushrooms, and softened red onions and then head outside to cook them in the outdoor pizza oven(!) Hugh arrives just as I am piling my pizza high with toppings and comments that I am being a little over generous. Ooops.
Whilst the pizza is cooking, we’re given an overview of the products River Cottage has been sourcing to sell in their restaurants and in the cookery school and this gives us inspiration for a whole host of new licensed products.
We then all sit down for lunch and Hugh joins us for our meeting to discuss and brainstorm potential licensed product areas. When they bring in our pizzas and some gorgeous vegetable salads, Hugh decides to have some of Janine’s. She was beside herself. He obviously decided against my overloaded pizza.
Shortly afterwards, it was time to head home and we were taken back to the station by Gelf and a member of staff with a lovely River Cottage reusable bag of left over pizza and vegetable salad as well as our focaccia which they have beautifully wrapped and packed for us. I now use my River Cottage reusable bag each week to do my food shop.
A great day and so much was learned. Watch this space to see what incredible creations come from it.