Georgie Porgie isn’t just for Christmas
RUNNING a festive business is hectic in the runup to Christmas, but firms with a seasonal speciality must ensure they can keep busy all year round if they are going to survive.
George Hollywood started Georgie Porgie’s Puddings 15 years ago in Ottery St Mary, Devon, making and selling Christmas puddings.
Initially, the business was strictly seasonal but George, 33, now makes and sells Christmas puddings all year round – they are especially popular at Easter – and has expanded his range to include other steamed puddings such as cider and apple and lemon and Pimm’s puddings.
George’s business really took off after he received funding from the Prince’s Trust in 1996. In the past four years the firm has made an average of 25,000 puddings a year. His father Mark, 58, a former engineer, has joined and they are on target to produce almost 40,000 puddings this year.
But it has taken George time to ensure the business is set up to run steadily, rather than operating in a mad rush in the winter months. ‘Inevitably, the latter part of the year is our busiest time, with 70 per cent of sales coming in the last five months,’ he says. ‘Yet we ensure that we use the other months to do promotional work and develop new puddings.
‘We supply to wholesalers and shops as well as through georgieporgiespuddings.org. uk, which helps to diversify and cuts the risk of relying too much on one customer channel.’
George is hopeful that over the next year the business can expand and turnover will rise from about £50,000 to nearer to £100,000.
‘I don’t listen to predictions of doom and gloom,’ he says. ‘People eat pudding all year round and many people store Christmas puddings for at least a year.’
Clive Lewis, head of enterprise at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, says: ‘While there are advantages for firms in having a down time for planning and maintenance, seasonal businesses will benefit from reducing the effect of trading peaks and troughs.’
PROOF OF THE PUDDING: George Hollywood at the Bath Christmas market