With its bright white façade, hand-illustrated signage and outdoor seating area, the exterior of Biscuiteers’ new HQ stands out from the crowd, just as the concept of gifting biscuits through the post did when founder Harriet Hastings and her husband, Stevie Congdon, came up with the idea 12 years ago.
Now there are others in the category, but that doesn’t get to Hastings. “It’s great that people have followed us into this sector,” she tells us. “But I hope that people can recognise a Biscuiteers biscuit and know that they’re the best around.”
Hastings and her team moved to the new purpose-built facility in October this year. After years of operating five separate production sites, it was time to unite the teams under one roof.
“Moving here has enabled us to be so much more efficient,” says Caroline Grant, head of production. “It has helped us to build a better understanding of each area and there’s more of an appreciation of
what each team does. It has also cut out logistical problems such as biscuits being broken in transit.”
The team is made up of eight bakers and, at the time of British Baker’s visit, 70 icers, some of whom were on seasonal contracts for Christmas. There’s also a packaging team, who label each gift tin by hand, and more staff working in the office area.
The facility produces around 8,000 biscuits per day, as well as cakes for Christmas and iced chocolates, which are imported from Belgium and decorated on-site. It also has an area dedicated to production for its two shops – one in Notting Hill and one in Battersea – where it sells cakes, biscuits and afternoon tea.
“When you’re predominantly an online business, it’s really important to have some kind of experiential space,” says Hastings. “The shops are very important for us – they’re a great marketing tool for the business.”
They’re also one of the things Hastings is most proud of, along with the two books she has produced, the Royal biscuit collections, and a cityscape window installation at Selfridges in 2013.
Now, she wants to focus on experiences and launching pop-ups, for example the one it has in Covent Garden for the festive season, featuring a gingerbread replica of the area’s famous market. “Pop-ups are a more interesting way for us to take the brand into new spaces,” she explains.
Who: Harriet Hastings, founder of Biscuiteers
What: A new purpose-built office and production facility, spanning 20,000 sq ft.
Where: Unit 2 Greenlea Park, Prince George’s Road, Wimbledon, SW19 2JD
When: Hastings founded the business with her husband Stevie Congdon in 2007. The team moved to the new facility in October 2019.
Why: The business had previously operated across five production and office spaces in the Kennington and Camberwell areas, so decided it was time to unite under one roof. The move has brought the team together and allowed them each to see the process from start to finish.
Equipment: Kit used in the bakery includes a Metronics water cutter, Canol sheeter (pictured), Polin four-rack oven, Rondo dough break and dough press, and a Hobart mixer.
Icers: “Those with a creative background, such as an A-level in art, tend to be the most successful,” says Caroline Grant, head of production.
Inspiration: “We take inspiration from things we’ve posted on Instagram. We also look at sales from previous years and trends for the year ahead,” says Lucy Simmons, head of icing.
Hand-illustrated: “The packaging is very unique,” says Hastings, noting that every packaging design is hand- illustrated by the in-house illustrator.
Add-ons: Areas of expansion for the business include add-ons aimed at gift boxes, such as its partnerships with Tregothan Teas and English sparkling wine manufacturer Gusbourne.
Delivery: Biscuiteers promises that any order placed before 1pm will be dispatched the same day. “People have high expectations, and we have to deliver,” says Hastings.