Danielle, a 26 year old accountant by day at a chain of estate agents, always wanted to run her own business. She has now started one which provides key roles for her close family as well as filling a gap in the local market.
Danielle explains: “I’ve grown up around catering, bakery and the food industry and have a passion for it. I’m constantly looking for new restaurants to try and new produce to taste. I love the innovation combined with running a business. Starting a business in the catering industry made sense to me as it combines all my passions under one umbrella.
The business began in September 2015 as retail, but they began manufacturing their own products after Danielle’s father was made redundant in August 2016. For Danielle, this was also a difficult time as she was dealing with a relationship breakdown, moving house, working full time, managing the new business and project managing the new production kitchen.
“I had the full support of my family and investment from my business partner and just one day after my Dad left his old job, we continued to trade from our new production kitchen. I feel this was the biggest achievement we made and we have gone from strength to strength since then.”
Danielle’s father is the baker and patissier with more than 30 years experience and her Mum is a qualified confectioner, running the shop with Danielle’s sisters, who also attend many food events and farmers’ markets. Her brother Nathaniel provides technical and marketing support.
The business supplies the wholesale market with more than 20 different types of bread from their production kitchen in Manston, Kent plus bread, cakes and pastries for their shops in Sandwich also in Kent shop.
“We are offering a vast range and this helps to encourage interest from both our wholesale and retail customers. We bake using a natural process with a sour dough starter and use no additives or preservatives.”
Danielle uses their presence at local farmers’ markets to try out new products and locations. “It is also great to get out and interact with the public and other small producers. Farmers’ markets are a fantastic place to trade both ideas and produce. We like to support local producers as much as possible and find they also return that support to us.”
Danielle credits the revived interest in the bakery sector on TV programmes such as The Great British Bake Off, as well as people being more conscious of what they eat. Also, people enjoy the opportunity to talk directly to the producers.
Looking ahead to the future, Danielle is planning to expand with the addition of further shops and would also like to encourage other young people into the sector by working with apprentices. “Both of my parents used to teach and because of their long experience, they would be fantastic at inspiring and teaching the next generation of bakers and patissiers.”
Danielle is an inspiration for other would be entrepreneurs. Having recognised there was a gap in the market, she has created and is driving forward a business which has a strong future.
Danielle said: “I think the biggest challenge for anyone setting up a new business is the fear of failure. Once you have got over the fear of something going wrong, it becomes easier.”
Danielle’s tips for other budding young entrepreneurs:
- It can be lonely working so hard and long hours so having understanding friends and family helps.
- There are some fantastic free resources available for entrepreneurs an example would be HMRC webinars.
- Working in a supportive local community, with a fellow network of helpful producers is fantastic and Kent is great for this.