It seems difficult to believe, but it has been almost a year since we opened the doors of The Fallen Angel, on Guildford High Street.
Before going any further into the tale of twelve remarkable months, we should pay immediate tribute to our ‘landlords’ at The Angel Posting House. It has been a pleasure to work alongside such an energetic and compassionate team, and we cannot thank them enough. A special thanks must go to Beki and Stephen for their endless support.
Everybody says that the first year is the most difficult for any new business, and we have certainly had our fair share of challenges to face (we have been told to say challenges rather than difficulties/problems/disasters and/or calamities…it’s got something to do with the positive use of language?)
Anyway, we encountered our very first ‘challenge’ on opening night.
It had been a trying week, our wonderful contractors were still working on the fixtures and fittings right up to opening time, and in fact the final screw went into the bracket supporting the angel’s wings just as we flung open our doors.
But soon the drinks orders began to pile up as the excited crowd of family and friends made themselves at home. Sadly, the reason the drinks orders were so abundant is that the tills had been incorrectly programmed and we were doubling up on every single order.
Lesson learned #1. Check everything, then check everything again.
Thankfully everyone had a marvellous night, and the comments we received were a mix of incredibly supportive and really useful, candid advice. From the very beginning, we were determined to create a bar and venue that we would want to visit ourselves, and the opening night left us feeling that we were well and truly, on our way to doing it.
We knew that we needed to learn, and learn fast. We had worked in (and visited), loads of great places, but it is one thing appearing at a venue, and something completely different running one. We leaned heavily on friends in the business, found some great suppliers and asked lots of questions.
Food was another challenge, and again we realised that we had to get some professional help from a ‘proper chef’. We had been producing everything ourselves, but it was apparent that our efforts just didn’t cut the mustard.
Lesson learned #2. Ask for help and don’t try to do everything ourselves.
The one thing that we were entirely confident about was our line-up of talent. We have worked with so many amazing performers over the years, and it is now a genuine pleasure to showcase these remarkable acts, right here in beautiful Guildford.
Lesson learned #3. Surround yourself with brilliant people.
We have been humbled by the response to The Fallen Angel, it is a venue like no other in the area, and it appears that lots of people really appreciate what we do here. That we have been able to enjoy such a wonderful year, while at the same time encouraging talent, promoting diversity and really adding something special to Guildford, has been a pleasure.
We are sure that there will be plenty more ‘challenges’ to face, but we are confident that with the support of our acts, suppliers and most of all, friends like you, we will continue to thrive and have great fun doing it.
Lesson learned #4. Face challenges head on, and always remember to trust in yourself.
Thank you for making the last twelve months so memorable, in so many ways.
Nick and Charlotte