Wayne Shepherd, Bel-Gem Waffle

Wayne, 28, from Ashton Under Lyne, has a full-time job during the week and a full-time hobby at the weekend. From his interest in catering, Wayne has created Bel-gem Waffle which he takes around the markets of Greater Manchester satisfying the sweet tooth of many happy customers.

In January of this year, Wayne began his culinary journey creating waffles with various combinations of mouth watering flavours. He has faced some hurdles in his business but has definitely come through strong.

“The hardest part for me was setting up, finding the information I needed to begin a food business and get my food hygiene. I have received support from my local council, Manchester City Council Work and Skills Team and the NMTF to get my business off the ground.

“I’m a member of the NMTF as well and have received a lot of guidance through the members area which has really been helpful.”

Wayne balances his job, his business and his family, currently working around 55 hours per week but it’s all part of the process to maybe, one day, take his hobby to the next level.

“I’ve traded at various markets and events and enjoyed them all, getting really good feedback.

“I stood at the Manchester Youth Market and that gave me a lot of recognition as I was awarded Manchester’s Young Trader of the Year. It really gave me encouragement and I realised that eventually I would like to make this my business full time."

Wayne also took part in the National Youth Market, run by the NMTF and hosted by LSD Promotions, in Stratford-Upon-Avon. His waffles delighted the taste buds of plenty of customers over the two days, he was able to meet like-minded traders and present his service to a new range of customers - he even created a new waffle flavour for the event!

When asked what advice he would give to anyone thinking of starting a food business he said, “It’s really important to speak with other people and get advice where you can.

“I’ve gained a lot from becoming a member of the NMTF but I also got some help from other places – a group of traders met in Manchester Library and together they helped me look at how I present my business and we came up with some great ways to market myself and make it appealing to customers.

“People who are studying at University or college should really consider self-employment and working on markets as well. It’s important this is covered in the curriculum as I think the market is a fantastic place to be.”

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