Finishing the year with gratitude - 2022
It was just a year ago that I was sitting in Malaga and writing my blog for the year ending 2021 after an extremely busy and productive year. However, 2022 feels so much longer than a year. I hope yours fared better. It feels weird as we were closed for almost half the year. If I had known this would happen, I would have held on and kept going at the old place for a bit longer.
By now, you all know what’s happening with our plans for the re-opening. The heating isn’t fixed yet, and the latest update is that the engineers cannot visit until January. As some of you witnessed when you came to collect your orders in the last two weeks, we are ready for you except for the heating.
I have been as open and transparent as possible throughout this journey. We raised almost £110K through crowdfunding. It’s a massive amount for you to invest in a project months before any chance to reap the benefits. It’s fantastic, and I feel like I haven’t thanked you enough.
We have come so close, and we WILL make this happen. Yes, I need to shout that out. I have put everything into this, including my health, wealth, and soul. I am not the same person I was a few years ago. I have lost a bit of myself to Clay’s. Sharat lost a major part of me to Clay’s. So did my friends and family. All I have is this obsession with creating something special. To create a space where people can come, forget all their troubles, a place filled with happiness, great food and laughter—just a simple, honest, happy place for all of us.
This obsession has been the driving force for the past few years but more so in the last few months. That’s what keeps me going. I am like a horse working with blinders on … Not seeing anything apart from this single vision. During this process, please forgive me if I have hurt anyone or not given you enough time.
December was particularly tough. We had bills to pay without any source of revenue, and the staff needed to work. We managed two events with Siren Craft and Double-Barrelled with hired heating systems. They were still not enough, but you all didn’t mind, making them a huge success. We then decided to start the local collections to have something to do.
We were anticipating a 60 to 70% voucher redemption, but then you surprised me, as always. 95% of you did not use vouchers but instead placed new orders. When you were here, lots of you said that you were not planning to use the vouchers for a few months after our opening to help us with the cash flow. I will admit that the cash flow due to voucher redemption was a worry I had at the back of my mind but for you to think on our behalf and be so incredibly kind is beyond anything we have ever heard of.
You all made me cry, but with joy, of course. We finally could get back in the kitchen and do what we loved doing the most. My staff had work after months of waiting. It was a bit hard working in a kitchen without heating and in freezing conditions- the builders got rid of the existing system when they were told explicitly not to touch it. We were wearing four layers, still shivering but happy simultaneously because we were finally cooking.
Thank you for placing all those orders. And apologies to our nationwide customers because we could not cater to you this time. Hopefully, the courier companies will return to normal in January, and we can start sending out our food to you too. I cannot end this year without thanking Dan Smith's design for bringing our dream to life and helping us create this beautiful space and Richard Brooks from Aspen Services, who designed both our kitchens and fitted them in a week, going above and beyond to find solutions for us. Also, Maham Anjum for her beautiful crockery and for going out of her way to help us get them on time, and Matt Inwood for the fantastic pictures of our food in that crockery. I am sharing some pictures here. I hope you like them.
Come January 2023, we will get things fixed - Whatever it takes. We will open the doors for you all. Until then, big cheers from us all.
Take care: Happy Christmas & Happy new year.