NAME: Megan Castang
YOUR BUSINESS / ORGANISATION: Castang’s Kitchen
YOUR TITLE IN THAT BUSINESS: Owner
WHEN DID THE BUSINESS LAUNCH?: Opening Saturday 21st October 2017
ELEVATOR PITCH – TELL US WHAT YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS DOES IN A NUTSHELL:
We are an independent kitchen and tableware boutique in Bury St Edmunds. We specialise in handmade, responsibly sourced and fair trade items as well as professional products.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS YOUR BUSINESS’S USP OVER YOUR PEERS?
All of our products have been handpicked by myself and husband Jacob, sourced from artisans and makers than aren’t easy to find on the high street, if at all. Anything for the kitchen has been approved by Jacob who is a professional chef with celebrity clients all over the world and used to work for The Queen. We don’t sell anything that he has not tested in the kitchen himself!
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST BUSINESS CHALLENGE SO FAR?
The shop fit out! As a start up business budgets are tight so we are doing everything ourselves, safe to say we are better at cooking than DIY!
AND YOUR GREATEST SUCCESS?
Finding undiscovered artisans to work with and being able to give them a platform to sell their products and grow their business is a great feeling.
WHAT DOES THE NEXT 12 MONTHS HAVE IN STORE FOR YOU?
We hope to become a big part of the community here in St John’s Street and Bury St Edmunds. In the summer we will be popping up at food festivals and have several launches in the pipe line including a loyalty card and hospitality trade club.
AND IN FIVE YEARS TIME YOU’D LIKE THE BUSINESS TO?
The plan is to expand into a café and concept store, with a cooking school and supper club too!
NATURALLY, YOU WANT TO REACH CUSTOMERS AND SUPPLIERS AND THOSE WHO CAN HELP YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS SUCCEED. WHO MIGHT YOU WANT TO HEAR FROM?
We welcome food bloggers to come and try our products, they have been said to be very ‘instagrammable’! We are also happy to hear from local makers and artisans if they think their products might fit in well with us.
WHEN YOU FEEL TROUBLED OR ‘BEATEN’ AT ANY STAGE IN BUSINESS LIFE, WHAT’S YOUR SECRET TO RALLYING YOURSELF?
Taking time to be grateful for what we have, remembering where we came from, and believing in ourselves.
DO YOU HAVE A MENTOR, OR HAVE YOU USED ONE? IF SO, HOW WAS THAT?
Not as yet!
WHAT’S CHANGING ABOUT YOUR INDUSTRY THAT MAKES IT SUCH A GOOD SPACE TO BE IN?
I think that the age of ‘disposable living’ is coming to an end, with consumers increasingly concerned with the ethics and sustainability of their purchases. Mass produced products may be easy to obtain and appear cheap at the outlay, but they often come with an unseen human and environmental cost, as well as being a false economy compared with quality goods that last a lifetime.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO SOMEONE WANTING TO ENTER YOUR INDUSTRY SPACE?
Be patient, and it will always cost more than you think!
THE PLUG BIT:
AND NOW THE SLIGHTLY LESS CORPORATE BIT…
BEST THING ABOUT EAST ANGLIA: The views and countryside. The sunsets over the fields behind our house are the best I’ve ever seen.
YOURSELF IN THREE WORDS: Ambitious, Empathetic, Scatty
UNFULFILLED AMBITION: To run a country pub with small holding and farm shop. One day!
FANTASY DINNER PARTY GUESTS: Stephen Fry, Keith Floyd, David Attenborough
WHERE YOU LIVE, WHERE YOU’RE ORIGINALLY FROM (AND WHAT BROUGHT YOU HERE), HOW OLD YOU ARE, WHO YOU LIVE WITH:
We live in Elmswell, I am originally from California and Jacob is originally from Hertfordshire. We moved here after living in Dubai for 6 years because his family live in the area. I am 29, Jacob is 33. We live with our Sprocker Spaniel Teddy and two cats Dora and Maysie.