Lancing, West Sussex

How did you get into the baking industry?

I was expelled from school and don’t have any qualifications; I had three children and did voluntary work and had part-time jobs as a cleaner and worked in a nursery while I looked after them. People loved my chocolate brownies so much, that they said I should sell them, so I took the plunge and gave them out at the school gate. When I got lots of positive feedback, I took samples to a local tea shop. They placed an order and we became a business overnight!

How has the business grown?

I bought a bigger oven and was baking from 5am until 12 midnight as we grew capacity. Then my husband, Paul, was made redundant, which gave us the kick we needed to concentrate on the company. We wanted to expand and, luckily, our key worker from Sussex Enterprise put us in touch with a local baker who was struggling, and he kindly let us rent his bakery by the day and use the equipment. After he sadly went bankrupt, we took over the lease of the unit. Now we have 40-50 customers, mainly in Sussex and London, including Waitrose in Sussex and Budgens in London.

What does your job involve?

We start baking at 6am and, after we’ve finished making the brownies, I also do the packing, paperwork, and try and find ingredients at a better price. I also get involved in designing packaging, while Paul is good at selling, and we have a part-time worker who helps clean up.

What motivates you?

We give 10% of our profits to two charities for neglected and abused children, and being able to do that was actually the reason I decided to try and make money from the business.

We don’t make a big thing of it, but there is a line on our packaging, informing customers. Winning the Sussex Food Producer of the Year award twice in three years has also been great recognition.

What does the future hold?

We’d like to take on someone to do a lot of the baking, so I could do a bit more of the creative stuff.

We’re speaking to Virgin Atlantic and are hopeful that something will happen with them next year, while our website is being developed so we can do some e-commerce. It means we would be able to give more money to charity.