What a start!

Well, what start it has been! Double-award winners on our first venture at The Wells Food Festival. Lets hope the next part of our journey continues to be so fruitful.

The Smoke Folk has been the germ of an idea for a number of years, maybe even from when I was a child, sharing smoked salmon with my Grandfather at his home in Hartlepool, and tasting smoked salmon offered to me between the hanging smoked sausages and salamis of our local deli by the enigmatic Eugene.

In conversation with a friend over a year ago now, I mentioned my idea for a ‘community smokery’, a place for people to come together, share great food and enjoy the atmosphere similar to many of the great cafes, bars and restaurants I have been lucky enough to visit around the world. At the same time, crafting and creating innovative products using a variety of different ingredients, woods and spices. And all based in our adopted home town of Frome: a place with an independent spirit and artisanal climate.

This idea has evolved, mutated and matured, predominantly through my involvement on the School of Social Entrepreneurs Start-Up Course in Bristol. The time spent on this course, and the colleagues I have had the pleasure to learn alongside, has really honed the idea of The Smoke Folk, its entrepreneurial potential, and the equivalent social impact we will be able to make.

Throughout the year I fluctuated between the appropriate focus for our enterprise: get the business up and running, or concentrate on the volunteer and training programme for people facing barriers to employment. Although it sounds obvious, it took me quite a while to realise that without a sound, profitable business, I wouldn’t be able to make any social impact at all. That was the moment that we really steamed ahead with our branding, our packaging and the development of our products.

So now, we have a range of products that have been tasted and tested by the public and they highly approve! We have this website, a burgeoning social media presence, especially on instagram, potential offers from shops to stock our products, and many people taking a genuine interest in our work. To top it all we were awarded both Best Start-Up and Best in Show at Wells. What a start indeed!

I can’t wait to see where we go from here and I hope you will join us for the ride!

Oliver Jones