Ge­orgie Porgie isn’t just for Christ­mas

The Mail on Sunday - - Enterprise - By HE­LEN LOVE­LESS

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 georgieporgiespud­ 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

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