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Thursday, March 31, 2016

The customer is always right? A Stamp Geek's take...

Simon and Garfunkel said it best when they belted out that they were "trying to keep the customer satisfied" oh boy ain't that the truth. In a customer driven business it is a well known fact that in order to grow and succeed you need a happy and satisfied customer base so, why is this easier said than done? One very obvious reason is that the customer isn't always in the right. I know there are many that would argue that it doesn't matter if your customer is right and for the most part they are correct. You should try to do everything in your power, as a customer driven business, to meet your clientele's needs. There are however circumstances where you simply cannot meet an individual's demands resulting in an unhappy and possibly lost customer.

For instance, when a customer's demands are unrealistic and unattainable that poses a real problem for the employee or business. In my old job (Health care) I used to hear a lot of complaints from angry clients who felt entitled to certain things because of ill health, old age or a general loss of control. I was able to solve most problems but without fail at least one person per day would ask of me something impossible to deliver regardless of how hard I worked. In these instances I would try to minimize the damage as much as possible and attempt to meet some of the demand being placed before me. As you can imagine, this would usually bring down my day. 

Another important point to remember is that everyone is different and so what constitutes a great customer service experience for one person may be less than stellar to another. For instance, when I go out to eat with my mother I am usually satisfied with the waiter as long as they are polite and moderately attentive. My mother on the other hand requires a great deal more to feel satisfied and when you do not measure up, you will hear about it. I'm not saying my mother is unreasonable she is simply from a different generation and ergo has different expectations than I.

Speaking of expectation, this plays a huge role in whether or not someone feels satisfied after an interaction or with a product. For instance, when I call Rogers I expect to have a positive phone conversation regardless of my issue because I've never had a bad one. This isn't the most logical way of thinking and if I ever do have a bad experience I will have no one to blame except myself. My expectations are based on my previous experiences so likewise if someone else has always had negative interactions with Rogers they will expect that when they call they will have a bad experience. Neither way of thinking is correct rather the best way to approach a situation is without expectation and to draw your conclusions from your current experience(s).

Likewise, a person's mood can impact a situation greatly. Human beings are emotional and even the most rational of us has the potential to snap when we are having a bad day. A Good example of this is the time I lost my credit card. Walking to obtain food with a friend on our lunch break (at old work) I somehow managed to misplace my VISA card. Those who know me best know I don't lose things often (imagine losing something maybe once or twice per year) so needless to say I was a bit of an emotional mess. I walked to the nearest Canada Trust and related my story to the teller and before I could finish she very politely let me know that she could not help and gave me a number for VISA. Now, rational Steph knows that there was nothing wrong with that interaction but upset Steph was not having it. I took the number without so much as a thank you and stormed off. If I had not been so upset about the lost card I would have felt great about the experience but because I was so agitated it threw off my entire game and I was completely dissatisfied with the service I had received. 

So, how do you manage unrealistic expectations, emotions, entitlement and moodiness and have your client leaving an interaction feeling good about your business and wanting to come back? This is tricky because as I mentioned before, sometimes you simply cannot satisfy everyone. For those who do have a satiation point I find listening to be the most affective way to diffuse and solve a client's problem. Sometimes someone is so fed up with a system or business that all they really need is someone to listen to them rant and rave about their particular problem. More often than not after they blow through their angry diatribe they feel better and arrive on the other side more rational and easy to communicate with. Offering someone options is another great way to help resolve a conflict with a customer. For instance, when a client or client family member would demand a specific time for service at my old job and I didn't have someone available to see them at that time I would offer them several times close to it. Usually that would make the client feel better because they would feel they had some control over their care and the interaction would end on a positive note. 

At the end of the day, you really cannot satisfy everyone and there is always going to be that one person whom you cannot please but I think as long as you keep a cool head, manage client expectations along with your own and try to limit emotional reactions you can and will succeed in a customer driven world. 

Stamp geek out!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Sales Pass $3.100 With A Week To Go in March And Some Bad News

Sales for this month continue to be good, with another $1,100 or in the week since I had said that our total stood at around $2,000. What is particularly encouraging about this month's sales total is that there were no large sales inflating the total.The entire amount is made up of sales under $200. I checked my sales spreadsheet and I see that we sold just over 200 items so far, which is excellent. By far, the best category continues to be the Wilding Issue with items from that issue selling every week to a variety of customers. What's more, our realizations for that material as a percentage of catalogue value continue to amaze me. Also, I can see sales beginning to pick up on the 1908 Quebec Tercentenary Issue and the Admiral Issue, just about a month or so after posting the material for sale. A month seems to be about how long it takes for the market to digest the material to the point of being ready to start buying it. Although we have not had any sales on Bonanza as yet after two months of membership, I can see that traffic to view our items is increasing, which is excellent.

However, this week also had its share of seemingly bad news:

1. One of our investors has told me that he no longer has the money to proceed with his investment. So I now have to find someone to replace him if I want to follow our original business plan, as it called for a certain amount of investment capital. Without that capital, we may have a hard time bringing our store inventory up to the level  of depth and breadth that we feel is necessary to fully serve our target customers.

2. E-bay just announced that they are phasing out US currency listings on This means that I am going to have to re-do almost 4,000 listings before August, or they will end and I won't be able to renew them. That is potentially a HUGE problem.

The funny thing is that I saw both these things coming. My investor had indicated that he might not have the cash to proceed several months ago, but because he was interested and also because I just didn't want to believe it would fall through, I chose to be optimistic. Of course, I should have been looking for potential replacements back then. Luckily for me, I have established a lot of contacts in the past 10 years and there are a large number of people I can talk to who either could invest, or could suggest someone who would be interested in becoming a shareholder. The e-bay thing, I could sense, as soon as they changed their tune about the desirability of pricing in US dollars. Forever, they have said that listings in US dollars get more traffic and better views. So of course practically every Canadian seller uses US dollars. Now the grand pooh-bahs at e-bay have decided the time has come to get rid of this choice for Canadian sellers.

This wouldn't be such a bad thing if there weren't sellers like myself with thousands, or tens of thousands of listings to change. They are saying that they will have a bulk editing tool available in May, but it appears as though this tool is going to be extremely cumbersome to use, as it will create duplicates of all my listings, so that I will still have to go back and end a bunch of listings separately in order to avoid getting hit with duplicate listing violations. Apparently, I am one of the lucky ones though because I can actually afford to convert the currencies on a 1:1 basis, as it just means that I will require a higher percentage of my asking prices for offers now. But many other sellers are not so lucky - some have come to depend on the U.S. exchange differential for a portion of their profit margin. For many of us who buy in U.S. dollars, it is going to mean that we lose the natural hedge against exchange rate fluctuations that selling in U.S dollars gave us.

I went onto the community discussion boards and expressed my concerns, but I can see they fell on deaf ears, as neither of the two e-bay reps responded to my posts. Many have suggested moving the listings to, but I think that selling on probably constitutes doing business in the US for income taxation purposes. Of course the rules of nexus are extremely complicated, so I do not know what the correct answer is. However, I would not simply just go ahead and start selling on without checking with a cross-border tax expert, as the IRS penalties for non-compliance can be huge.  I raised this concern on the community boards and the general response I got was along the lines of "Oh I'm sure its not a problem. I've been selling on .com for years and I've never heard of this issue before." Yeah that's reassuring. If I've never heard of a problem then it must be OK right? I mean, those guys at e-bay are international tax experts and if there was a problem, they would have told us right? Unreal.

Anyways, after a couple days I calmed down and have come up with a plan to spread the required work over three months. With any luck, lots of the stamps will sell,  reducing the amount of work required.

Anyways, happy Easter everyone!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Reclaiming Her Life...

WARNING, WARNING this blog has been taken over by stamp geek aka Ms. Stamp, aka Steph! My better half has given me free reign over the blog today to tell my own "coming out" story wherein I recount how I left my old career to become a Stamper (or full time Stamp Dealer for you traditionalists). I will be sure to relate the details including my journey up to now but first allow me to let you in on a little known secret about Mr. Stamp...he is the hardest working entrepreneur in the stamp world. Yes, yes I know, I have a slight bias but it is true, allow me to elaborate. Mr. Stamp (Aka Chris) hits the ground running every morning and if it were not for my gentle reminders (nagging) would work well into the day without stopping for a bite, rest or breath. His constant companion is a big cup of Joe and he never misses an opportunity to refresh his mug. His only breaks are for dinner and whenever I pop downstairs to check on him. I know from experience that if left to his own devices, he would work 32 hours straight without food or rest, without giving it a second thought. Now, I do not want to give the appearance of workaholism but I do want to drive home the point that Chris loves and believes in this business so deeply that he will regularly put his own needs aside to get the work done. I admire this quality in him and as much as I wish he would remember to eat lunch his dedication makes me believe more and more in this business we are building.

Before Chris left his own former career he had mentioned that he saw us working side by side someday in the future and expressed that this was a dream he had conceived of long before we met. He reiterated this dream many times after he left accounting and started hinting that he and I could do great things working together. With some trepidation I left my last job Jan 15, 2016 and I haven't looked back since. Ok, that is a bald faced lie but it sounds better than, "I had flashbacks for two solid weeks after I left." It is no secret that my last career was a challenging one filled with incompetent management and more BS than your usual run of the mill office job. Having said that, I very much enjoyed the relationships I had cultivated with my coworkers and found a great deal of satisfaction in the work I did. Needless to say I had mixed feelings about leaving. I put all of my fears aside and took the plunge and I can honestly say this is the most job satisfaction I've ever had.

Since starting my journey into the deep dark Stamp world I've discovered two very important truths the first being that you are never done learning. I am forever finding some new variety (that is a flaw in the stamp design to you non stampers out there) or reading up about some fascinating piece of Canadian history they didn't teach you in grade ten history class. The second and most important point is never underestimate the amount of work that goes into building a business like this. I set myself what I thought was a very reasonable goal of one month to get through grading, pricing and organizing all of our modern material. Here I am almost two months in and I am only now down to the last box! I remember Chris working long hours on one issue and I would wonder why it took him the time it did. Oh boy have my eyes been opened!

My base camp is the upstairs office/guest bedroom as I find this space has the best lighting for my purposes. Chris has explained his set up in previous posts so i won't go into detail here. The best part of working essentially for myself is that I am no longer at the mercy of other peoples incompetence. Yes, I know that sounds harsh but hear me out. The only ineptitude I must deal with now is my own and when I get annoyed or upset with myself for not getting something as quickly as I would like, myself forgives me almost immediately. Another terrific perk is working all by my lonesome in the office. When I am swearing up a storm and cursing the very creator of a particularly frustrating issue there is no one around to offend or annoy which, for those who know me best, is a real blessing.

Now, we come to the question I am asked most when I tell people I work with my partner: "can you two even work together?" A large part of my decision on whether to join Chris full time was based upon that very thought. I pondered for some time weighing the pros and cons (and writing them out because I love lists) and discovered that I had no clue. I certainly thought we could but I was far from sure so, for the first time in my professional life I took a massive leap of faith. I can say without hyperbole that it was the best decision of my life thus far. Not only do I enjoy working with Chris (albeit in a different area of the house) I prefer it now. We have a great routine and enjoy bouncing ideas off one another. We have disagreements just like all coworkers however, unlike the typical office setting we have a strong foundation of love and understanding so any disagreements are always respectful and resolved quickly (unless of course I think I'm right in which case we argue until Chris gives up).

 In all seriousness, I love the journey I am on and have zero regrets after joining the Stamp world. I am looking forward to growing with our business and being a regular on this blog. Alright, enough break blogging it is time to get back to the grind!

Stamp Geek, out!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Sales Pass $2,000 Mid Way Into March And Admirals Are Nearing Completion

I am starting to feel like the business is really gaining traction now, with at least one major sale each day and a good run of steady, returning customers now. I was quite happily surprised to see that now, half way through the month, we have managed to pass the $2,000 mark again. This total has come partially from returning customers, but also from new ones, including an older lady from out east, who has just returned to the hobby again after a long absence.  I have noticed that a larger number of my new customers are beginning to engage me in responding to my welcome e-mails. This is a very good sign, as it is this engagement that really gives me the opportunity to build rapport with them. It is this rapport that leads to the development of trust and more sales.

I am now finished listing all the admirals to the end of the 20c olive green. This leaves me with just the 50c and $1 for the main stamps and then the coils and War Tax Issues. So it looks like I may be on track to complete these by the end of March. I am looking forward to getting the rest of King George V listed by the end of May.

Steph has been powering through the Elizabethan commemorative material and has really gotten the hang of assessing papers and grading now. She loves what she is doing and is getting very excited, now that she is starting 1983, that she will soon be ready to start listing that material.

Fabio is still working on the worldwide material that I had received on consignment. He is still learning about how to identify stamps and use the catalogue, but I can see that he is making great progress and enjoying himself immensely while he does it. Soon he will be ready to learn how to grade stamps and then after that, he will be in a position to start listing those items as well.

So I am hoping that come May or June, we will have three people listing material as opposed to just me. That should see our coverage on e-bay just balloon, and that, in turn should bring about a significant sales increase.

I'm still reading a lot of doom and gloom online about the future of this business and stamp prices in general. It is my belief though that many simply do not understand the nature of this business and compare it to a high-volume high turnover business like consumer electronics, or something like that where the sales cycle is short. I am finding that the stamp business is not like that. It is based to a large degree on comfort and trust, in that many customers like dealing with someone that they know and trust. It takes time to build that trust. Because of that, my stamps are not going to sell quickly. However, they are selling -  every day - to a diverse group of happy customers. And the important thing is that I am seeing the number of customers increasing regularly.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Another Childish E-bay Seller and I Part Ways

It seems these days as though this hobby is just chock full of childish people pretending to be adults. I wrote at some length about a fellow a few weeks ago who sold me sub-par material and refused to admit what he had done.

This week, I received a message from a seller telling me that I was blocked from his auctions because I had the audacity to contact him and let him know that I was unhappy with a stamp that he had blatantly misdescribed. It was a mint never hinged 4c admiral. The scan showed a stamp with original olive bistre colour and so I bid eagerly on it. What I received was a stamp that any experienced philatelist would know was faded. This man is a lifetime member of BNAPS - the leading Canadian philatelic society. Again, I have spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars on his stamps so far this year. I was disappointed. It wasn't a huge amount of money - $26 or something like that, but that wasn't the point.

So I sent him a short note to the effect that the stamp was faded, and didn't match the scan in his listing. I told him that I did not know why that was, but I never accused him of manipulating it. I told him that despite my disappointment, I would leave him positive feedback and proceeded to do so. I thought that was pretty decent of me. Wouldn't you agree? I didn't ask him for a refund. In fact, I made no demands on him at all. I simply told him that I was not happy. OH WHAT A CRIME!!

So he contacts me today, 2 days later and tells me that because I decided to spew negativity and leave him low feedback, I am now blocked from his auctions because as he put it, "he doesn't need this and he doesn't need me."

So here is my message to him and other dealers of his ilk:

 You just don't get it. I understand that you love stamps and like to sell them for fun.  But many customers expect to receive what they paid for. It doesn't matter if you think the price you received for your item was too low. You CHOSE to use auctions rather than fixed price because you don't want to wait for the right buyer. Your customers have a right to let you know they are not happy and it is YOUR JOB as a professional seller to address their concerns. I understand that some customers can be demanding, but if you cannot handle someone letting you know that they are unhappy with one transaction after they have spent thousands of dollars with you, then don't be surprised if your business flounders, of if you can never get top prices for your stamps. The problem is YOU, not your customers.

I just opened a case on E-bay to return the stamp for a full refund. I wasn't going to before, but now I will.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Entrepreneur Lifestyle

I have written before about the differences that I noticed between our lifestyle now and our lifestyle when Steph and I were both employees. Most of these posts were written in the early months of the business. So I feel that it is time to write an up date now that we are in our ninth month and Steph has been working in the business full time for almost 2 months.

The most striking thing about our life now is that our lives now revolve around building something that we both believe in, that is ultimately for us. Yes, we have investors who have provided some funding, but we retain ownership of the majority of the shares. As a result, we find ourselves working harder than ever, and yet, we don't feel nearly as harried or stressed as we used to. I've noticed the biggest difference in Steph, who is happy and relaxed now that she can work in her own space and can listen to whatever music she wants when she works. Plus, there are not too many workplaces that allow this:

That is little Viktor, who came into our lives back in September. Every so often during the day, he will either go and see Steph and will sleep on her lap, or if he misses me, he jumps up on the dining table, where I work, and after checking out my stuff, will plant himself down and go to sleep as he is doing here around 10 am yesterday, when I took this picture. Because at least one of us has been home the whole time Viktor has been in our lives, we have been able to care for him completely throughout his development, and his bond with us is very strong. As obnoxious as he can be sometimes, I love it when he does this. 

That leads me to the following observation: not only do we work harder now, but every minute of our day is spent doing meaningful things that count. We have cut out almost all the wasteful BS that consumed so much of our days before:

  • Hours spent commuting to and from work, plus the cost.
  • Weekends spent running errands instead of resting.
  • Unproductive meetings in which nothing ever gets accomplished.
  • Hours spent talking about working with bosses and co-workers instead of actually doing it. 
  • Hours spent putting out fires and managing organizational crises that could have been prevented with better organization.
  • Hours spent managing the optics of our work - giving the appearance of working hard or being professional. Now, how we look while we work is of absolutely no importance. 
It is the fact that so much of our days before were just straight up BS that made us feel so horrible inside. Both Steph and I are hard workers and both of us are simple people, with simple, non-extravagant tastes. So it's not as though we disliked working hard, or even for someone else's benefit. No, what we couldn't stand was the idea of spending so much of our lives doing pointless things. Maybe we both have an attitude problem and the things I speak of here are not pointless and we just don't see how necessary and meaningful they really are. But I have just noticed that we are much happier and more focused today than we were before. 

The flip side though is that all of this freedom does come at a cost. Most of the things that I used to take for granted, like being able to just book a $2,000 vacation and think nothing of it are now a big deal and cannot just be done on a whim. However, as I said before in some of my earlier posts, I am finding that I have so much less of a need for these costly extras than I used to. Because our lives now have a focus and meaning that was missing before, I find that we are able to obtain pleasure in much simpler activities. Steph and I for instance go on lots of walks in our neighborhood. Usually we will take a pack of cards with us and stop at the local coffee shop and either read or play cards and will just walk around the neighborhood. I don't know if this is just my experience, but I suspect that many of you reading this would find the same thing yourselves if you have every wanted to run your own business. 

What holds most people back is fear of the unknown and a mistaken belief that there is one right way to succeed in business and if you don't find that right way, you will fail. The reality, I am discovering is that all businesses are "winging it", and trying to find the way to success. There is no secret formula for fast success. Business is all about relationships and providing value. Both of these things take time and repetitive effort to come to fruition. I believe that there are three things that separate the successful businesses from the failures:

  • Staying power
  • Open mindedness and a willingness to change approaches
  • Playing the long game
These three concepts are a fine balance in the sense that a business that is too rigid - that ignores the reality of the marketplace and what the customers want will ultimately fail without staying power. On the other hand sometimes a business concept is ahead of its time and it takes time for the market to respond to the introduction of a valuable product or service. In those cases, to succeed, the entrepreneur has to have the confidence and the staying power to see the concept through. Staying power is improved by having adequate capital and avoiding taking too much money out of the business too early. This is where the frugal lifestyle comes in. Steph and I work almost for free - we live on mostly savings right now and that was the plan until we could get the infrastructure of the business built, which I figured would take a year and a half. 

My business concept is new. Stamp collecting is over 160 years old now as a hobby and stamp dealers have been around since then. But no stamp dealer in history has done what we are attempting to do now. Most stamp dealers are generalists with bricks and mortar stores, or they are auctioneers selling stamps in bulk. Most have been completely focused on just selling the stamps themselves as the only component of their value proposition. Our value proposition is different. We have chosen to specialize and to attempt to build the most in-depth and extensive stock of our area in the business. Does this mean that we have everything? No. But it does mean that if you collect Canada or British West Africa, you are more likely to find what you are looking for at a price you feel is fair than with our competitors. We are not the cheapest dealers on the block. Our asking prices are high, but we give you, the customer, the option of making an offer you feel is fair, and most of the time we accept those offers. That is another area in which we deliver value. A third area in which we deliver value is in the thoroughness and consistency of our descriptions. We scan both sides of a stamp and for early stamps up to 1953, we scan the actual stamp you are buying. Our descriptions are the most accurate in the business and as a customer you can rest assured that every stamp we grade as say VF-75 out of 100 will be the same quality, no matter whether you bought it last year, today, or five years from now. We are also service oriented in the sense that we ship out on the same day or next morning after a sale is made, and we respond to all customer queries within minutes of receiving them. Finally, we educate collectors at large by sharing all of our knowledge in a blog that gets updated several times a week. 

Delivering all this value takes a tremendous amount of time. What's more is that I know the reward for doing so will not be anything close to immediate because collectors are not used to receiving this kind of value from their stamp dealer. It will take time for the marketplace at large to decide to shop with us on a regular basis. This is why in my original business plan, I made allowances for having to live on savings and not paying a salary until a year and a half had passed. I figure that that is how much time it will take for the business to gather enough momentum to do this. I could be wrong ultimately - maybe all stamp collectors care about are the stamps. But I doubt it, because my observations of all other consumer markets and the time-honoured practices that I see in retail tell me that consumers care about an overall experience rather than just a mere product. Thus, while we have to listen to what our customers are telling us and make tweaks to the business plan, it is important to have the confidence and staying power to stick to the course and not waver too much. An example of wavering is if I woke up tomorrow and decided that instead of the pricing strategy we have followed, which is working to an extent, that we'll just decide to head off in another direction and slash our asking prices 50% and take away the option to bargain. Such a move might be a good one, but to do it without having gathered the proper evidence to support it would be foolish wavering in my opinion. 

So if you have identified an idea that will deliver genuine value to consumers and you are willing to sacrifice many of your creature comforts and extras for a few years, then I think you can start your own business and become a success. Honestly the rewards of this lifestyle have not yet faded and I continue to be amazed at how much better life is with each passing day. 

Friday, March 4, 2016

March Gets Off To A Good Start And Admiral Listings Are Half Complete

It is 4:00 pm on Friday with an hour to go in this first week of March. My stress has started to become a little less as I can see the business beginning to settle into a definite routine. Sales are usually heaviest on the weekend and the beginning of the week, with things quieting down on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. So far this week, we have had over $500 in sales, with most coming from repeat customers. I have noticed that Monday is usually spent catching up on the weekend orders, writing the blog posts for the beginning of the week and doing a little bit of listing, but not very much. Tuesday and Thursday are listing days where I can, if I am lucky get 100 items or so listed each day. Wednesday is usually spent processing orders and updating the blogs or doing some listings and the same goes for Friday. So while I do get some material listed each day, the lion's share of the work gets done on Tuesday and Thursday, when I work from 8 am to midnight. I am now, as I write,about half way through the Admiral material. I am pleased with my progress, although it has taken me much longer to list this material than I had hoped. My original goal was to have this material completed by the end of January and it has just not been possible to list it this quickly. I predict not that it will not be done before the end of March. However, I am OK with that, as my listings are quality listings and that is the important thing.

Steph is making great progress with organizing the modern Commemorative material, having organized everything up to 1976. Soon she will be ready to start with the scanning and listing of this material. She has an even sharper eye than I have and has brought several interesting varieties and anomalies to my attention. Most importantly though, she is loving her work and we are working incredibly well together. Our secret is that we work in separate parts of the house. She has taken over the upstairs office and made it her own, while I work at the dining room table next to Fabio, so that I can help him with any questions he has. He is doing well and gradually getting the hang of all the technical aspects that go into identifying and classifying stamps. He has completed the large lot of British Commonwealth he was working on and has now moved on to general world material.

Steph and I celebrated our third anniversary this week and decided to go out for a nice meal. We wound up trying this small restaurant called the Beach Tree on Kingston Rd. We had heard good things about it and had been meaning to go for 2 years, but somehow every single time we were about to go for dinner and were trying to decide where to go, we could never remember this place. So we just never went until this week. OMG!! I wish we had. It was without exaggeration, the most amazing food I have ever had. The only thing that has come even close was the Dover Sole that I had at Rules in Covent Garden in London. That meal, that I had on my first trip to London, that cost me 80 pounds five years ago was a perfect example of how amazing simple food can be when it is cooked to perfection. The subtlety and balance of flavours is impeccable and provides an experience so satisfying that you feel like you could just end the evening right afterward. I had thought all these years that it would be impossible for any chef to surpass Rules. Turns out I was wrong. Steph had their burger. The burger came with very few condiments and a small metal cup of the most delicious french fries you can imagine: crispy on the outside and light and fluffy as air on the inside. Despite having very few condiments, the burger was flavourful and juicy in all the right ways. It was just amazing. I had the smoked chicken thigh and buttermilk grits. I'd never had grits before, but the combinations of flavours and textures was to die for. We decided right there and then that we are going to make this a monthly thing: at the end of each month, we are going to reward ourselves with a meal there. I can't wait to try everything else on the menu!

So all in all, I'm optimistic to see how much progress we can make during the rest of the month.