Grace Moore has gone from making a unique music programme for children to making fudge for a living over the past year. Here she explains how her new business has already come a long way since those that first Saturday morning, spent dropping off paper bags of the sweet stuff with her eight-year-old
At the beginning of 2020, I was running a thriving music education business, Dots & Squiggles Piano. Things felt like they were going in the right direction. I had three teachers working for me across different locations and we were making plans to branch out into other parts of Norfolk. I considered my business my fourth baby, my life’s work. I could not wait to do what I did every day. My business gave me that buzz you get when you’re enjoying your favourite hobby, and it generated a healthy income for my family. Living the dream!
Fast forward two months and I, like many others, had to close my doors. It was devastating, but I tried to keep things going with live singing sessions during the first lockdown. Due to the restrictions of the past year, I haven’t been able to open my studio to students since.
In the past I had made my fudge for a few craft fayres in the lead up to holidays. It had always been popular, but something I did purely for enjoyment. During the first lockdown I made some for a friend’s birthday and things snowballed from there. At first, I was doing three flavours each week on a rotation and everyone who ordered would get the same three flavours. I found that making the fudge was a relaxing escape from the monotony of lockdown with three small children, loss of my livelihood and general anxieties of the Covid-19 pandemic. On Saturday morning my eight-year-old and I would pack up the car with paper bags with fudge, dropping them off on the doorsteps of customers in the local area. It was immediately popular, and I was selling out every week.
My husband and I agreed it would be silly to not take the opportunity a little more seriously, especially not knowing when I would be back to making music in my usual capacity. I started packing the fudge in our familiar boxes which fit perfectly through your letterbox and with that I introduced a postal service, which is when things really took off. We’re still doing local deliveries on a Saturday but can now proudly say that Sweet Mother Fudge has been sent across the land to many English counties, Scotland and Wales. On Facebook I’ve been colouring in a map of the British Isles, so each time someone from a new county orders, it’s another step towards filling the map up!
Most recently, my husband helped me build a Shopify site, which has taken the business to the next level as customers can now order online. People can buy sharing boxes, Big Daddy Slabs, gift vouchers or even subscribe to a monthly Fudge Club, which has been growing in popularity. It’s all a bit nuts!
During this time, Dots & Squiggles has been on the backburner for the most part. Still unable to open my studio, I have been teaching my Dots & Squiggles method at a local primary school since September. I have facilitated a few online music lessons for schools during lockdown 3, which is something I would like to do more of in the future.
I know a lot of people have said lockdown 3 has been the worst so far, but I disagree. I believe this is because I’ve been able to grow Sweet Mother Fudge. It gives me a purpose for the week and allows me to focus on something other than mundane routines of lockdown life. I still do a happy dance every time I get a Shopify notification from our website. Every sale is a confirmation of moving in a positive direction. Instead of the buzz I have had to shelve from making music with my students, I’m now daydreaming of new flavour combinations and how to reach new potential customers.
Looking ahead, I hope to eventually be teaching my Dots & Squiggles programme and see that business reach its full potential. But I know that I would find it too heart-breaking to open and close my studio over and over until the pandemic is over. So my short term focus remains on Sweet Mother Fudge and I will keep my options open!