So Jack, tell us a little about your business…
The Rocket Man is street food company that does farmer’s markets, events, and has just opened its first shop on Princes St in Cork City. I believe a healthy balanced diet should consist of tasty ingredients and plenty of them. For too long we have watched people suffer under the physical strain of dieting. It’s time to satisfy those cravings and no better way than with our range of salads, stews, pulses and seeds.
What inspired you to start your own business?
As soon as I hit college I discovered the ‘awesomeness’ of fast food. I came from a home of respect of real food and it wasn’t long before my body started fighting back. It was a harsh awakening but I quickly realised fast food meant bad food! I thought, why should convenience mean compromise?
I always wanted my own simple fast food concept and it’s been born from there. It’s not where I want it to be yet but it’s definitely getting there.
How did you get your business off the ground and what supports did you avail of?
I was introduced to Rupert Hugh-Jones who runs the Mahon Point, Wilton and Douglas Farmer’s Markets. He demonstrated the perfect blend of commercial enterprise and true devotion to honest, proper food business. It was a risk free way for me to test the market. So, with full time job in hand, I started taking on markets and eventually became The Rocket Man.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Cater to your audience. If you have an idea and you want to force it on everyone then your time will be short lived. Listen to your customers and grow with them.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced, and how did you overcome it?
I can’t particularly pin-point a challenge as my Everest, but everyday something comes up. It’s all about how you overcome the challenges really. Recently for instance, I had a veg order come in short and none of my suppliers could help; so I called around the English Market asking could I borrow and replace the veg the following day. Bearing in mind that it was also my first time introducing myself as Jack from The Rocket Man round the corner, I was very lucky and everyone helped me out. It’s there if you ask!
Who is your hero?
This is going to sound like I’m bragging for brownie points or selling a story, but honestly it’s my mum. Her support and style has shaped my business as much, if not more than, me over the last two years.
What’s the best thing about having your own business?
As much time off as you want and all the money… Eh no! Honestly, I’d have to say the notion that the sky’s the limit. And happy customers!
Looking back now, is there anything that you would have done differently?
Honestly, nothing. It’s better than I ever imagined.
What are your business plans for the next 12 to 18 months?
If I told you that, I’d end up changing it. I plan to open my first fixed location this month. My main plan for the next 12 – 18 months is to make the best of that. Outside of that I’m just going to say yes to everything I can.
If you had one piece of advice to offer someone considering starting a business, what would it be?
Remember you have a life outside of your work. Finish for the day and do something great. It took me a long time to learn that.