Hello! And welcome to my wonderful chocolate and cake fuelled world!
Before I start telling you about my project, I maybe should tell you a bit about myself; I am Katie the owner and sole employee of my company 'Kakes and Bakes' which has been running since February 2017.
Before I took the plunge to focus on my business full time I was a teacher, working in a special needs school working with children with emotional, social and mental health difficulties. A rewarding vocation that I was really passionate about and, I'm not ashamed to say, actually very good at!
In October 2016, after months of stress which stemmed from my position in middle management in school, my son going through an autism diagnosis, divorce and the backlash from whistleblowing on a fellow member of staff (which included an impending court case), I suffered from a breakdown and was signed off by my doctor with work related stress. I was subsequently diagnosed with PTSD and SPD (sensory processing disorder) and made the very difficult decision to not return to school and focus on my mental health and my son and took voluntary redundancy.
I spent a few months just enjoying time spent with my son, establishing his routine with nursery and getting him into a mainstream school, but after a while during the days when my son was at nursery I began to get a bit... bored. There is only so much daytime TV you can watch without starting to go a bit doolally!!
So I started baking! I always advocated baking and cooking during my time working at school as being excellent for your mental health and baking really helped me to focus on getting myself better.
Fast forward a few months to February 2017 and I did my first event. The Valentines themed craft market at Leeds Kirkgate Market gave me my first taste of self employment and I loved it! I have been running my little pop up shop 3 days a week selling handmade chocolates, cakes and cookies since April 2017.
Running my own business is the hardest thing I have ever done. But thankfully I have the support of everyone around me and I've met some great people; traders and customers that I'd now consider as friends, and the rewarding feeling I get is always amazing.
In the year that my business has been running I have achieved...
I exhibited at the Ideal Home Show for 4 days in June
I received a 'Special Recognition Award' for my work during Love Your Local Market Fortnight 2017
Countless comments about my bakes including;
'That fudge cake is banging'
'Will you come and live at my house and bake cakes for me?'
'I'm going to pimp out your cookies they're that good'
My son has achieved his official diagnosis for Autism and has been accepted into a mainstream school (my biggest achievement)
Received a five star food hygiene rating!
My project now is to move my business into a permanent unit in the market and to expand the pop-up into both retail and food to go offering hot drinks, milkshakes and desserts. The reason for this is that, although I love my little pop up vintage barrow, I have reached the peak of what I can achieve due to logistical limitations (size, lack of electricity, water, heating, lighting etc). So I am crowdfunding to be able to afford the bond on the unit and 1 months rent, if I manage to reach that target that would be amazing!
So that's my story! Thanks for bearing with me and reading it all, I really hope you can help me in any way possible, i'll just leave you with some pictures of the possible rewards you could receive - all edible by the way!