Our bocaditos selling experience

Besides writing, learning about the Tzolkin, teaching 7th Path, helping Nico build his chakana temple and taking care of Anay, we did yet another thing that increased our list of “firsts”: we made truffles and sold them on the streets of Urubamba.

How we got the idea

At the Vipassana retreat we met a Swedish girl who was traveling around Peru with almost no money in her pocket and bank account. We later met many others who were doing the same, and were gaining some money along the way by making and selling different items, from food to arts and crafts. The Swedish girl told Boca how she had made and sold truffles in Cusco and was able to make pretty decent money to sustain herself there.

When Boca shared this idea with me, I was immediately fascinated! We had wanted to do things in this trip not only that we had never done before, but that we wouldn’t normally do. This sounded like the perfect such experience, and if we could make some money along the way, who has ever said no to that? 🙂

Getting started

So a few days after we moved to Urubamba we decided we found the perfect time and place to do it. Boca was careful to get the Swedish girl’s recipe and also asked her mom for other ideas, then we came up with our own recipe and we were good to go! We were to make truffles with bananas and manjar (the local caramel), topped with coconut and lots of love. Then we were to go out into town and sell them.

The first day

So one morning we woke up early full on enthusiasm and spent about 2 hours making 50 truffles we were going to sell for 1 Sol each. Katya joined our little enterprise and the 3 of us went out around mid day to tempt people with our sweets. We had to pass by the laundry place to pick up our things and, wouldn’t you know it, it so happened that the laundry place was just by a school… and the kids were coming out exactly at that time. They surrounded us and were very curious what we were selling, as this was all very new to them: first of all that we were obviously not locals, and secondly that we were selling something they had never seen before. It was a tempting change from the jelly and ice-creams they were used to buying everyday outside their school.

Unfortunately, as great as our enthusiasm was when we saw their interest, so was our disappointment when we ended up selling only 3 truffles. The problem was the price: they were used to spending 30-50 cents for their after school sweets, so most of them didn’t even have 1 Sol with them, or even if they did they found it too much to spend on a small sweet. Many asked us whether we were going to be there the next day, and we told them we most probably would. We were going to change our strategy for the next day though, and we already knew how.

We spent the next 2 hours selling the remaining 47 truffles in and around the plaza and the market. It was pretty obvious people had issues with the price, so we knew the next round the truffles would be half the size and half the price. And double the enthusiasm. We also learned that people had no idea what a “trufa” (truffle) was, so we had to change from “Would you like some truffles?” to “Would you like some bocaditos?”, which is what the locals would call a small sweet. Bocadito… we loved the sound of that. And during the night our dreams were filled with bocaditos.

The second day, with a new strategy

With the lessons from the first day internalized, we woke up early again the next morning and made 150 bocaditos we were going to sell for 50 cents each. We had changed our strategy in terms of size and price, but we also added another element: we had bought some colorful candies the previous day, so half of the bocaditos were colorful and really attractive to the eye, especially the children’s eye. We had prepared those especially for the kids at the school we had been to the previously, and we were sure they were going to be a success.

We got to the school the same time as the previous day and, surprise! It was closed. They had some sports competition going on and everyone was at the local stadium. Perfect we though, that’s where we shall go then. When we got there we realised the “everyone” was only the teachers, who were having some intense soccer and volleyball competition and did not seem at all too keen on buying bocaditos. We sold a few but not nearly as many as we had desired. We spent another hour or so walking around but did not manage to finish selling the whole lot.

The third day

So the next day we went out again and sold the remaining 50 bocaditos in 40 minutes. We couldn’t believe the productivity and we couldn’t really understand what had happened. We were happy though, so we decided we’d make double as many truffles and take them to the big Sunday market happening in Pisac, a touristic town about an hour away from Urubamba.

And our last day of bocaditos selling

So we did, and on Sunday before noon we were in Pisac with over 200 bocaditos. It was a full day and we loved walking around the market checking things out while at the same time selling or exchanging our truffles for some other items on sale. We did not get to sell all the cookies we had made, but it was a day well spent and also our last day of bocadito selling. As it had become a habit by now, we ended it by reflecting on the things we had learned from the experience. Funny how so many of them were things we had known on the subconscious level, but had not consciously analyzed them. Or they were things one can easily read about in books on selling, but they were all at the intellectual level until now. Translating them at the experience level made them much more real to us and much easier to use in the future for bigger and more significant projects.

Read the things we learned in a whole new post. The next one. 🙂

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