Do any of you commercially-minded entrepreneurial types have any suggestions about how to sell 40 litres of freshly milled, organic, virgin olive oil for the best possible price here in London this Christmas?
It can be packaged in 1-litre or 250ml bottles, attractively labelled.
I am looking into how much it's going to cost to transport it (from the Italian mountains) to London, the import tax and so on. It may be just much too expensive to consider. The main problem is that I've never done commerce or sales of any kind so I've no idea how to set about trying to make a return on it. Would it have to have some kind of proof of origin? How do I set the price? Should I go round all the Italian delis or restaurants in the area to see if they're interested? A stall at Camden market? Try flogging it on the Internet? Any suggestions?
Actually,this feels a bit like a task for The Apprentice. I'm Fired!
This is a great challenge.
The most unlikely olive oil vendor in the world? At his electrical supply shop in London's Clerkenwell, Mehmet Murat sells wonderful, intensely fruity oil from his family's olive groves in Cyprus and south-west Turkey. Now he imports more than a 1,000 litres per year. His lemon-flavoured oil is good enough to drink on its own.
76 Compton Street, London EC1, 020 7251 4721, www.planet mem.com
He might know.
(I didn't expect that to happen by the way)
Andy, you're right about the likely profit margin. This time round I'm just trying to cover my costs. I usually bring it back and give it as Christmas presents, but this year I have been royally stiffed by some so-called 'friends' who were going to help with the picking (in return for 6 litres free oil) but who then decided they didn't feel like it when they got there, and left me high and dry. They still helped themselves to 6 litres though. Ex-friends.
Pride does not allow me to leave the trees unharvested, so I am having to go back there with a relative to do the job - it is costing my brother and I an extra outlay of £400 which it would be nice to get back. Uneconomic but as I say, a matter of principle.
As I say, you sometimes find out who your friends are the hard way.
You will need a license from the council to cover food regs. Organic is a minefield - Trading Standards can help. http://www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/advice/advice-business-fdproductsum7.cfm
When considering mark up for retail you need to know how much it costs you per sales unit - bottle, litre, however you are going to sell it = your Cost Price. Don't forget to include transport to sales venue and your time organising this.
You then times this by either 2.5 (local shops, markets) or 3 (high end outlets and tourist/foodie traps, eg. Carluccios, Borough Market etc) to give you your Retail Price.
If you want to sell it in to someone else don't forget that they will be doing the same so your Retail Price will become their cost price so you'll need to have a look at it to make sure that you are not pricing yourself out of the market.
I'll buy one or two.
Arkady, after an offer like that, you can come and pick next year. I am choosing my pickers carefully now.
It would be my pleasure. I have very nimble fingers. Where is your grove?
www.casa-meridiana.com. Does this count as advertising?
Krappy that is beautiful! Do you mind if I email the link to a few pals and my mum? I'm sure that I know a couple of people that would be interested in renting it for a holiday.
Can I put my name on the waiting list when you are looking for pickers too?
@miss annie, go right ahead!
I can see a Carry-On style 'Stroud Green.Org Goes to Italy' developing.
there must be a wholesaler down there who will take it off you?
@andy - olive oil is in such plentiful supply there it has almost no local monetary value. They practically use it to unblock the drains. A litre of oil in the supermarket or village shop is just a few pence. It would hardly be worth doing.
There is an Englishwoman in the same region with a much larger landholding (probably hundreds of olive trees) who is reputed to take her oil back to London in a van each November and sell it at top prices through Fortnum & Mason. I have never checked this out - it's not somebody I know. It could be the Italian countryside version of an urban myth.
There is a fantasic olive oil stall on Broadway Market which might be worth trying. If you'd prefer to stick to Stroud Green would it qualify as "Arts & Crafts" at the Sugar Lounge? I'd buy some too, so get a pitch there and advertise on here....
Try a stall at Archway Market, there are some good stalls there http://www.archwaymarket.org/
I am beginning to think about rebranding it 'Stroud Green' oil.
Hand plucked from the groves of the Upper East Side...
Get in there before global warming puts you out of business.
I've learned some interesting facts about the market in olive oil this afternoon.
Apparently good quality olive oil is much cheaper in London than in Italy. Restaurants and pubs in London source their top virgin (or extra virgin?) olive oil for just £2 - £2.50 a litre from big mass market suppliers. So Andy may be right. In Italy good quality oil is much more prized, and sold expensively in delis.
So I probably won't bother trying to sell it here after all.
Here's another back of an envelope calculation.
So basically, you've found a way for me to clean up
If it wasn't for the fact that the local airport is served by Ryanair you would have received an early bird booking for next year.
By the way, my olive tree in the back garden has for the first time in seven years produced a single olive. How much olive oil will I get from it? Maybe Stroud Green oil isn't so fanciful after all.
I recommend flying to Rome (Easyjet to Fiumicino). The drive is further but the flight times are far better, and it's a fantastic journey through wonderful mountain scenery. Many more flights. And it's not Ryanair.
I'll get you an estimate from the frantoio for your olive. They'll have a good laugh.
I want to come picking too!
How about having a stall at Ally Pally Farmer's Market? Or Archway on Saturdays or Sugar Lounge on Sundays - I think it technically counts as craft. Bee might even buy some from you for the restaurant.
I'll buy a bottle from you as well.
Krappy maybe you could come and give a talk on your oil at the next WI meeting, I'm sure some of the ladies would like some as well.
yay, bottle for me please? :)
The olive harvest is well under way now, thanks.
krappy, i'm fascinated by this idea. how much oil would the olives from one person picking for a day yield?
Please, please come and give a talk at one of our WI meetings, I'd love to know more about olive picking and making oil.
Could you bring it over in large vats, set up a stall and get people to bring their own bottles to fill up? It would save time and money on the bottling process.
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