Say ‘Truly Scrumptious’ to most people they get whisked back in a nostalgic haze to times gone by, the innocence of youth and a reality in which cars could fly and the only real thing to be concerned about was a rather disturbing character wearing a tall dark hat.
To many an attendee at any number of vintage fairs, wedding exhibitions, festivals or fetes in or around Chester; Truly now evokes an entirely different reaction.
To the people in the know – it is all about fantastic quality ice cream and sweet treats served from a beautiful pale blue 1973 Bay window.
In the latest of our VW based business blogs, we took some time out with Emma, Truly's 'mum' to find out how she began her journey with her beloved VW and what their future holds.
Introduce Truly…Truly is a beautiful 1973 VW Westfalia high top camper van. She came to us in Cheshire all the way from Bonnie Scotland. When she arrived, she was a little worse for wear but was lovingly restored to her former classic VW glory, (along with a few added extras!), and painted in original VW colours of pale blue and cream.
With some carefully chosen accessories; bunting, fairy lights and vintage accompaniments befitting of her name, she now makes the perfect addition and adds a touch of magical nostalgia to any special event.
How did the dream begin? I have always dreamed about owning a VW camper van and starting my own business. Finding Truly and taking the leap of faith to buy her, meant I could combine both, and add my love for quality ice cream and all things vintage into the mix!
How did the dream become a reality? As these things normally go; with a lot of time, research and patience! Investing the time to learn about starting a food business, keeping a close eye on trends with weddings and events, and ultimately taking the leap of faith to buy the van and take the plunge!
It was only after that that the reality came in the form of lots of paperwork, courses, hygiene inspection etc - the list is endless!
In the beginning all I really knew was that I didn't want a retail food business - café or ice cream parlour. So, this way I keep my overheads low and take my business to the customer whilst following my dream.
It also allows me the flexibility to provide a tailor-made service to suit individual events. It’s very satisfying to know that Truly really adds to events. She has a positive presence and delights guests, and that's before they've even tried the goods we serve from her!
Truly Scrumptious is clearly a very evocative name – how did you decide on it? To be honest I didn't! I inherited it from the previous owner, BUT I decided to keep it rather than re-brand. 'Truly' really suited my vision for the future; in fact, I'm not entirely sure I could have picked a better name for her!
She is an 'all-rounder' so not just for ice cream. I also kept the name 'catering van' so I could also serve retro sweets, cupcakes, doughnuts, and, in time I plan to take my personal licence, so I can also offer Baileys, Limoncello and perhaps other alcohol-based offerings that would go with ice cream. Anything that adds another dimension to the glorious goodies we serve!
Why ice cream and how did you decide on what you stock? Truly was already set up for ice cream with a large freezer on board and serving hatch, and being a lover of ice cream, that decision was a simple one! Beyond that I wanted a luxury product that went with the look and feel of the van so started to do some research on farms that produced ice cream in the Cheshire area.
Pretty soon Snugburys Ice Cream became an obvious choice! Snugburys is all about taste and texture. It is made with a total commitment to quality and a genuine love for what they do.
Snugburys fabulous ice creams are all prepared with loving care and attention by their wonderful dairy team. They have a real drive for creating new flavours and experimenting with ideas - luckily, they have lots of volunteers to try their new creations with over 300,000 people visiting their ice cream farm in Nantwich each year!
They use fresh cream as the main ingredient and are always striving to find the very best flavours. So much so, that if they can’t find what they're looking for, they will see if they can make it themselves! Homemade and handcrafted - it is a work of art - for example the Brownies in 'Better than Brownie' flavour are handmade on site and added to the ice cream.
Each ice cream and flavour they make is very delicious, and made with great dedication to quality, which is why we chose Snugburys for serving in our little van 'Truly'. The events we attend are special, particularly wedding days, so it was important to us that the product be of the highest quality.
Image Credit: Snugburys Ice Cream
Greatest challenges so far? Getting everything to start the business - ploughing through all the paperwork and getting the right advice from the relevant departments at the council. Researching hotels and event planning companies in and around the Cheshire/North Wales area - having the time to network and meet with people in the industry. Booking events and attending wedding fayres whilst keeping on top of social media and all the enquiries that have come via the website also. It's quite an undertaking - but you only take out what you put in, so ultimately, it's all worth it.
Why a VW? Was this your first VW or is it something that has always been a part of who you are? Truly is our first VW. We've always loved them from afar but to be completely honest I knew as a family we would be unlikely to use one in the manner they were designed for!
In terms of our hopes for the business though Truly couldn't be any more perfect. VW campers have always been evocative of sunshine filled days and good times. So, when the opportunity came along to combine my love for VW camper vans with starting a business it was made to be!
Worst moment and best moments? Truly on occasions has not been quite so sweet and point blank refused to start! Luckily, the AA are always brilliant and spoken to her quietly and got us going again!
Finding places I'm not familiar with can be tricky - luckily Co Pilot app takes care of all that.
Learning to drive Truly was an experience (I'd never had a classic VW before - so learning that the gears can be a little challenging and there are no luxuries like modern day cars was all part of the process! You just have to be confident though and it soon becomes natural.
It might sound cheesy, but the best moments so far have been seeing the genuine delight that Truly brings to the events she attends. That, and seeing everything come together. It's been a lot of hard work, but it really is satisfying.
Hopes for the future? Ultimately, I'd like to grow the business and make more contacts in the industry. Attend more weddings, corporate events and festivals! The most important thing is to maintain excellent customer service, coupled with fantastic quality products and grow the business organically. I would never want to lose that focus.
Where can we see you and Truly over the year? We have several events planned for 2018 these are just the confirmed ones aside from weddings and parties etc…
MAY: 5th River Fest Wallasey Vale Park; 19th Rhuddlan Festival AND 25-28th Carry on Dubbin Festival in Warrington
JUNE: 30th – Vintage Machinery Fair, Deeside
JULY: 1st July Vintage Machinery Fair, North Wales; 8th July Vintage Fair – Richmond Village Nantwich (St Luke’s hospice); 22nd – Woof Festival, Frodsham
AUG: 5th Willaston Village Fete, Nantwich
DEC - 1st – Helsby Xmas Market
To get in touch with the team at Truly Scrumptious you can find all their details here: http://www.trulyscrumptiouscateringvan.co.uk/