It can regularly be a road much less traveled, the selection to bring your product to the people in place of the opposite way round. But for one Irish entrepreneur, it was something she feels only sweetened her fulfillment, even though the adventure did come with a few bumps along the way.
“Keeping chocolate from melting in 40-diploma warmness became one of the first challenges of working with a meals truck and now not one I had full idea via when I decided to set up my business enterprise,” laughs Sarah McGourty, co-proprietor of Miss Ellen’s Sweet Shop and Sweet Truck in Malta.
McGourty moved to Malta from Boho, Fermanagh four years ago but no longer with the aim of setting up her own business.
“I was reading motel control in GMIT and working in Neven Maguire’s eating place, however, I had to get a few work experience. I first came to Malta in 2009 to work inside the Phoenicia Hotel in Valletta, which at that time become owned by Irish developer Paddy Kelly, hotelier Ray Byrne, and four others. I labored here for a while after which went home to complete my degree.
While I was figuring out whether or not to live within the resort enterprise or no longer, my mother took place to read an editorial in a Sunday newspaper which stated antique-fashion sweet shops have been making a return in Ireland. She thought it’d be an amazing idea to strive it out in Malta as the Maltese have a totally sweet enamel. I wasn’t so positive on the time, however now here I am.”
McGourty and her group’s companion, Sandro Grech, had been up and going for walks on account that January 2014 and have expanded Miss Ellen’s to consist of party events and decor. They also promote their chocolates on line.
The original concept turned into just to have a van, which they sold and named Henri. But it took months of negotiating with the Maltese government to get it registered and on the street so that they ended up parking Henri in a garage and running from there. And that turned into how their save changed into born.
“Ironically, while we couldn’t have the van on the street, it caused us having a candy save and the van component got here later.”
Both the shop and Henri operate six days every week, even though, in Henri’s case, logistics can once in a while get within the way. “Being cell is first-rate as it’s a free-roaming advertisement, but there also are a number of challenges, which encompass parking, parking, and parking!” says McGourty.
“We continually have to plan in advance. Finding a suitable spot to base ourselves for a full day isn’t always easy. You also need to don’t forget strolling prices like gas and strength and you need to have your own [power] supply with you at all times.”
And then there’s the upkeep of Henri himself – a 1954 Citroen H van.
“The truth that he is the mobile manner you could carry him to customers, so we will use him for weddings, baby showers, corporate events or birthdays and, as compared to the shop, the strolling charges are decreased. But from a negative factor of view, he’s extra than 60 years old so it may price a lot to hold him in working order. Sometimes if he breaks down, we need to wait weeks to get him constant once more, which means we’re losing money while he’s off the street.”
Having a novelty addition to the commercial enterprise offers McGourty masses of fodder for social media.
“We specifically use Instagram to permit humans to realize in which Henri may be every day, but it additionally enables show off what we have to be had in the store, in addition, to deliver humans a concept of the varieties of activities we are able to cater for.”
Instagram also allows her to promote it her huge variety of merchandise to the Maltese and the developing expat community. Customer favorites encompass Vegemite, Swedish Fish, and Reese’s Pieces.
Looking back at that communique she had together with her mom, does McGourty agree with setting up an enterprise in Malta is less difficult than it would be if she had determined to live in Ireland?
“Probably not,” she says. “Certain aspects are more difficult here, truely because there’s no communique between departments or nearby councils. For instance, whilst it came to the address of my store, it borders two places referred to as Santa Venera and Hamrun. So, after I changed into seeking to get records or documentation, both workplaces have been sending me to and fro among every different.
“The banks are also very irritating. I had big problems with the nation-run Bank of Valletta without a doubt trying to open an account to position money in. I become told it became unlawful to hold two specific financial institution bills in special nations. As a person from Northern Ireland who holds three distinct debts, I recognize this changed into not proper.
“Registering the van turned into also a headache and it ended up with me having to ship solicitors’ letters to get things shifting. I sense that, in Ireland, you would have more facts and greater help if you were putting in a small enterprise. There are greater tasks by way of the government and greater of an emphasis on getting girls into the enterprise.”