Kent-based sweet treat specialist Cheran’s Bakery is looking to accelerate its plans for new shop openings after smashing its crowdfunding target.
At time of publication, the business has raised a total of £289,585 from 169 backers via the Seedrs crowdfunding platform, surpassing its £225k goal by almost a third.
Pledges from new investors are still being accepted until the campaign ends on 20 December, with funds going towards Cheran’s latest shop in Tunbridge Wells scheduled to open in the early part of next year. Proposed new locations in Dartford and Croydon are set to follow.
“The more we can raise the quicker we will achieve expansion,” said CEO and founder Cheran Friedman. “Everyone loves the brand and we want to grow to touch a wider audience.”
It was around 15 months ago that Friedman received a text message from her uncle telling her to do something with the baking skills she’d honed in her nan’s kitchen, plus an offer of £50k to help open an online bakery.
“Ten seconds later I replied ‘ok’,” recalled Friedman, who noted they were initially unable to find a warehouse to work out of in her hometown of Sittingbourne in Kent.
Instead, she discovered a small shop to house her new bakery business. “I then decided to add a counter and one thing lead to another,” Friedman said, adding that her first outlet was opened in June 2022. “Six months later we opened a second shop, then another, then a central bakery, then two more shops.”
The additional four shops are spread across the county in Canterbury, Faversham, Rochester, and Maidstone, while production is now done at a 1,500 sq ft unit at Waterview Business Park in Sittingbourne. According to Friedman, the site is packed with bakery fridges, mixers, ovens, a sheeter, and a cookie-stuffing machine among other equipment.
Total sales to date, accrued across its shop estate and online via its website and social media channels, is said to have exceeded £1.3m with an EBITDA of £300k. Cheran’s is offering 8.8% equity in its business to investors with a share price of £2.73 based on a £3m pre-money valuation.
The bakery strives to create “luxurious sweet treats” made from the finest ingredients, presented in bespoke packaging, and showcased in “gorgeous looking” shops. These include ranges of brownies, cookies, buns, and celebration cakes – a selection box of its six bestselling cookie bars includes Triple Chocolate, Kinder, Birthday Cake, Lotus-Biscoff, Mars, and Rolo varieties.
In addition, a loyalty scheme offers members a point for every £1 spent at stores or online, with each 25 points earned converting to £2.50 off the next bill. “Nearly everyone signs up,” declares Friedman. Corporate gifting is also available to order.
Friedman noted the company had a highly active NPD pipeline and was “constantly innovating and make literally thousands of cookie and brownie combinations and flavours as well as celebration cakes, enormous cinnamon buns, and other specials”. Ongoing engagement with social media followers helps Cheran’s discover what they want, she added.
Friedman also revealed her team had spent a lot of time developing an online interactive cake builder, which she described as “totally bespoke”, with the hope of launching it in January.
Crowdfunding has proved a good way to raise funds for expansion of bakery businesses, with doughnut specialist Project D and ketogenic brand Srsly Low Carb both managing to smash their investment targets earlier this year.
Interested parties in a slice of Cheran’s Bakery can view its investment pitch on Seedrs here.