'Thyme after time Cafe' Bites Back at COVID

by Margot A Dimmer in Stalbridge, England, United Kingdom

We did it
On 4th August 2021 we successfully raised £9,159 with 70 supporters in 28 days

Post Covid we are now looking forwards! The next obvious step is to offer our hand made, high quality 'Dorset Cream Teas' by mail order.

by Margot A Dimmer in Stalbridge, England, United Kingdom

 New stretch target

If we were successful in our crowdfunding attempt then to purchase a walk in fridge so that we can bulk purchase would certainly make a huge difference to us. It would enable us to gain better bulk prices from our suppliers and to plan on a much larger scale. Cost of the walk in fridge we have quoted is £4,000 plus VAT= £4800.00

Extra funds would also allow us to market our web site more directly via paid adverts on social media and on Google rather than the slow but sure approach. This would be a more fast track approach to succeeding! Estimated cost £1000.00

Investment in the finishing's of our mail order boxes with proper branding we feel will make them even more special.  So for instance branded tissue paper which is eco friendly and printed with soy ink, is FSC certified and on acid free paper would cost £215 for 2000 sheets.

We plan to make each and every box to be like finding and opening up a treasure box! it should have a salubrious feel and like each person who receives one of our boxes is the most special person in the world! 

We would also need branded stickers to stick down the tissue paper to give it that luxury feel. These also are environmentally friendly and cost £74.11 for 2400 labels.

Total extras to set us up fully - £6089.11

Fiffi the Thyme after Time Café and catering delivery van

Who are we?

'Thyme after time' is a small rural Dorset business with a large appetite to never let the grass grow under our feet! The 'Thyme after time' brand has been established for 17 years. 

The Café aspect of our business where we are now has been established for 6 years today on this very day of launching our crowd fund! Our business has evolved and grown slow and steady since I started it in 2004, starting out as making preserves wholesale to lots of farm shops and deli's around the area. 

As I had been head Chef of an upmarket local catering company for a number of years in the past, folk started to ask me to cater for their parties- so who was I to say no? 

Before I knew it- I was catering for lots of weddings,  also private and corporate parties. I outgrew my 'working from home' situation and so took a commercial premises where our Café business was born. 

Before I knew it our Café took off and I really enjoyed this aspect of my business so decided it was 'thyme' to get onto a busier 'A' road and make our café my main business. 

The rest as they say is history and here we are- COVID business survivors with a forward vision!

So what is our forward vision- Dorset Cream teas by post.....

As we now drive forward our plan is simple....

We plan to add a string to our business bow by offering high end, quality Dorset Cream Teas by post. We are very niche in that we make all our own buttermilk scones and our own strawberry jam in small batches in our kitchen here using as much ingredients that is local as is possible, even our clotted cream is local- that's what will give us the edge! Given that we keep our sourcing mileage as low as possible we also plan to package our cream teas in environmental packaging too!

 serving cream tea at Thyme after Time Café and catering

Our Ethos

From day one, Margot's vision for 'Thyme after time' has been a no compromise approach to quality and provenance of ingredients. 

Most dishes we try to make, so even a Dorset cream tea for example is not just a scone, sachet of jam and some cream......absolutely not! It is all about the small things that make one big, delicious, unforgettable cream tea.

We make our scones with quality, carefully hand selected ingredients.

making our renowned cream teas at Thyme after Time Café and catering 

Into our Dorset cream teas we use Matthew's Cotswold flour, a brand we trust and have used for many years! We add Dorset buttermilk to make our scones lovely and soft and fluffy!

Served with our cream teas we add our own homemade strawberry conserve with lovely juicy whole strawberries. In season we use New Forest Strawberries the most local we can source for as long as the season permits! We always have always felt this instantly raises us above our competitors!

Then we source Dorset clotted cream from a local dairy.

Beautiful scones from Thyme after Time Café and catering 

Loose tea and coffee beans we source from a local company just down the road -Reads Coffee Roasters of Sherborne. Even our milk for the teas and coffees hales from right here in Stalbridge- The Dorset Dairy Co!

Our tag line for our business is 'Dorset born, Dorset fed'.

This alone tells you what we are about, if we can source and buy from our beautiful county and from local suppliers, then we jolly well do as a matter of course, its just how we naturally roll!

A cream tea from Thyme after Time Café and catering

We like to turn our wares into something wonderful and appealing from the realms of our Dorset kitchen then this can only lead to good and wonderful and of course tasty things!

Covid 19 Pandemic

The last year with the pandemic has seen a time where we have proper had to innovate, reinvent and push forward with ideas that once might have never been pushed forward but equally we saw our established outside catering business nose dive virtually into non existence! 

We had two choices at the start of the Covid pandemic. our café had to close in line with government rules and so we could either shut up shop and bury our heads in the sand or we rose up on eagles wings and faced the pandemic head on- by doing what we do best - we cooked our way through it!

Hard at work at Thyme after Time Café and catering 

Lockdowns 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 - We Cooked our Way Through Them All!

Through all three lockdowns we prepared preordered, fresh ready meals, cakes, pastries, granola,  posh afternoon teas, cream teas as well as weekend hot breakfast takeaways and Saturday night hot takeaways. Customers who were shielding we delivered to and when general supplies were short- well we obtained those too and delivered them. Items such as fresh veg and fruit, pasta, rice, bread, meat from our suppliers.

lockdown essentials from Thyme after Time Café and catering

Lockdown offerings from Thyme after Time Café and catering

During the three lockdowns our social media followers increased and our email subscribers has more than doubled! We have a keen, committed and engaging audience not to mention incredibly supportive and loyal.

easter cream tea from Thyme after Time Café and catering

Forward Planning

It came to our attention quite early on that many of our followers were not necessarily local but craved our produce and would happily pay to get them delivered, we were receiving lots of email requests and social media comments asking us did we mail out or could we. However we were not geared up to do so.

We feel there was never a more appropriate time than now to once again to keep our heads firmly set forward bound and start looking at the future. 

Tea at Thyme after Time Café and catering


It is fair to say that after this pandemic, generally the idea of gifting has become a predominant part of our culture, it gives both the arranger and the receiver so much pleasure and we have enjoyed being part of this movement and want to expand on this pleasurable part of our industry even more. 

In the last year we have been focussed down as a business more in the name of survival but now we see the end of this dreadful time and we are very much looking forward to where we now want to lead our business.

 Our café will continue post pandemic for sure. Our customers are very keen and  now returning to dine with us . The 'thyme after time' kitchen is well kitted out, it is established and a very productive space. So investment on this basis into this next project is in fact minimal and low risk. 

Our staff

We have the most wonderful team of staff, all with different layers of skills, they are local as well.  Many of them multi skilled and keen to take on more hours where available. If for no other reason, we would love to move forward with a renewed energy now we are back open and we are certain our staff will, as always share this new vision which complements so wonderfully what we already do- and well!

Eve and Margot from Thyme after Time Café and catering

Here are are a few statements of what our staff members think of their jobs at 'Thyme after time'.

"I love my job at 'Thyme after time It means so much to me because it allows me to be me!

I was a full time Mum, not quite sure where my position was in the working world after being out of it for so long. I was initially given 4 hours a week but have done many more and I can honestly say I have never looked back! We are a great team and we all respect each other, we all work hard to get the job done. There is lots of love, laughter and coffee. This is what helps to give 'Thyme after time' its welcoming atmosphere as well as all the lovely customers who keep supporting us. I can truly say I would not work anywhere else!"

Mrs N

The Thymers team at Thyme after Time Café and catering

and another....

"I am the longest serving member of staff here at 'Thyme after time' and the one thing I have observed over my time here  is the care that Margot and Eve put into the food that we serve. The Café is constantly evolving and so is the food to keep up with the latest food trends."

Mrs H

"I was a school leaver when I came to work here as an apprentice Chef four years ago. School had been a very unhappy time for me however I was given this opportunity to learn a trade at 'Thyme after time' Since then I now have my qualifications but have been promoted to Chef and I lead a team of staff here despite the fact I am only 20 years old. I have even just managed to buy my first house this year!"

Miss A

Thyme for fun at Thyme after Time Café and catering

So what do we have planned?

From Here on in....

Its fair to say that upon reopening we simply do not have the cash flow to purchase large appliances, our heads are down on working at getting our café back up and running to the levels of pre-covid. 

It is however a great time to look at our business with renewed perspective and look towards the future and how we want to steer the ship that is 'Thyme after time'.

We need to invest time and energy in healing our established Café business, this will not happen overnight but we are positive that in no 'thyme' we will get back on track! This is where we hope you might help us?


So with this all in mind, this new element to our business  means we can keep spending and outlay to a minimum- sensible right?

We have essential outlay costs to fulfill this project and also items that we could 'make do and mend' but it would mean a compromise! 

Web Design and Marketing

So we would definitely need a new e commerce web site for this purpose as our current web site does not have a selling platform. 

The new web site would also need substantial advertising and marketing at least for the first year to get us noticed and off the ground.


Packaging for our project is essential, we feel strongly that we would like to use an environmentally friendly packaging, that's important to us and the well being of our planet. Currently we are testing a sheep wool insulated pack which sits very nicely with our vision.

Let's Talk ovens

We could get away initially with the baking oven we have in our café. It works and would do the job -albeit slowly. This particular oven we bought last year second hand when our previous one was no more. It is painfully slow to heat up from cold (about 30 minutes in fact). This is 30 minutes we could be baking and producing!

Having researched the most suitable oven for our purposes would be a 'Rational' oven which would also bake lots of delicious scones, cakes, pastries but it would need to dually serve our café too. The oven we have in mind is much more highly productive, it could potentially bake 200 scones an hour!

So, as you can see, this is pretty much all we need to expand and move forward- modest eh?

Once we are set up....

Well, once we are set up, we would be all systems go in a very short time. We cannot however do this without this initial capital we are fund raising for, which would in essence drive us forward into the future. 

Many of you may think- well that's not a lot of money? Or others of you may think well why do they want to do that now, why not wait?

We need to make a recovery from the last 15 months and to be in business means you should always forward plan, not stop where you are at. 

This is our forward plan for our future.. We have 12 local staff on our books who rely on us for their jobs and we want to be there for them and lead them into feeling safe again in their jobs after this very insecure time.

 Margot and the Thymers at Thyme after Time Café and catering

Now all our staff are back in from furlough, we want to set them up with new exciting challenges that they and we can get stuck into and lead the 'Thyme after time' business forwards into a bright future.

We believe our business has something special that not all businesses possess, we care about our customers and our staff. Our Café has soul, a home from home and a good feeling that makes us unique. We like to think our customers leave feeling much happier than how they arrived.  

If we can spread that same love into our ultra special cream tea boxes by post then this can only be a good thing right??

Breakdown of costs for you to see!

Here is the breakdown of the costs to get our project up and running-

New Rational cooker along with shelves and fitments

Cost - £7010.00

Electrical and Plumbing installation for cooker 

It requires a water pipe installation for the self cleaning oven and steam plus electrical installation

Cost -£1200.00 

E Commerce Web site with selling platform including domain names, annual subscription for selling web site, art work and design and 10 sets of blog art by local web designer - 

Cost - £1000.00

Sheep's Wool Packaging initial purchase including complete box sets and water packs.

Cost £72.48

Custom Branded Tissue Paper to line boxes 

(Eco Friendly and printed with soy ink, FSC certified)

2000 sheets

Cost £215.00

Crowfunder Commision at 

0% platform fee for Covid related projects + 1.9% +23p Transaction

Cost based on raising the required target

Cost- £180.45

Total Crowdfund Target- £9677.93

The courtyard and marquees at Thyme after Time Café and catering



This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£15 or more

7 of 20 claimed

£15 Reward Thyme for a Dorset Cream Tea

Treat yourself to one of Dorset's finest cream teas for two people. This is after all what our crowd funder is all about? You will receive two of our large Dorset buttermilk scones served with our special Strawberry conserve with big juicy strawberries and to complete your cream tea you of course need a gurt' dollop of Dorset clotted cream! This pledge comes with unlimited loose teas or proper coffees or hot chocolates of your choice.

£10 or more

£10 Donation

Spare us a tenner to help your favourite café work their way into the future by offering a side dish to our business of our delicious handmade Dorset cream teas by post!

£15 or more

4 of 20 claimed

£15 Reward Cake and Coffee (or tea) for two

If you know our café then you know how we make all our own delicious cakes! This price offers you a discounted price for coffee/tea and cakes for two people. You can choose your cakes from our cake counter and then wash it all down with unlimited drinks!

£20 or more

3 of 20 claimed

£20 Reward Thyme for 6 Large Jars of our Preserves

Pledge £20 and we will offer you a fab deal on our preserves. Normally retailing at £13.25 for 3 jars so you will be getting an exceptional deal that would normally cost you £26.50! You can choose off our shelves from our handmade marmalades, jams, jellies, pickles, chutneys or relish's all made here in the Thyme after time kitchen

£300 or more

0 of 2 claimed

£300 Reward for a Breakfast Party for 20 Guests

Have you got a anniversary or birthday coming up?? Why not treat you and your guests to one of our very popular breakfast parties worth £18 a head. You will save a huge £60 on this pledge. Upon arrival you will be greeted with linen laid tables with fresh breakfast pastries, fresh hand cut fruit salad and yoghurt from right here in Stalbridge! Follow that with a Full English breakfast, toast and our homemade marmalade or jam.

£350 or more

0 of 1 claimed

A kids cooking party with Margot

A kids Cooking party with Margot! An all inclusive 3 hour kids cooking party (up to 6 kids) to prepare a three course meal to prepare and then sit and enjoy it our café afterwards.

£1,000 or more

0 of 1 claimed

£1000 Reward Fork Buffet for 45 people to go!

Here is a fantastic opportunity to seize the moment to lay on a party for a greatly reduced price! You can simply collect your food, we will prepare on platters ready to serve! Hand cut gammon Kettle cooked ham Chicken dish of your choice from our menu Spinach roulade with Smoked salmon 4 salads of your choice Our mighty meringue buffet for dessert with cream, summer berries and chocolate sauce! List price for this is normally £1235.00

£25 or more

20 of 20 claimed

£25 Breakfast Deal

Pledge £25 today and we'll reward you with two of our delicious mighty Thornhill Brunches from our breakfast menu including coffee tea or hot chocolate unlimited of your choice. Pledge worth £30 plus at usual café rate. PLEDGE NOW> CLAIM LATER

£40 or more

8 of 8 claimed

£40.00 Reward Posh Afternoon Teas

Treat you or someone you love to one of our Posh Afternoon Teas in our café. Price includes unlimited teas, coffees or hot chocolates during your tea. Price is for two people. Normal price £23.95 per person.

£50 or more

6 of 6 claimed

£50 Reward Fixed Seafood Platter Meal for 2 people

If you love our seafood platter on our lunch board, then this is a treat! This is for two people and is a fantastic deal, you will receive your two seafood platters which has Scottish smoked salmon, our crab cakes and king prawns with Marie rose sauce, salad and our chips all served with a chilled bottle of white (or red if you prefer) Pinot grigio followed by two desserts of your choice from our menu and then to finish with coffees or teas.

£55 or more

6 of 6 claimed

£50 Reward Three Course Meal with Wine!

Pledge £50 today and we'll reward you with two tickets for our themed monthly evening events worth £30 each. We will even throw in a bottle of our house wine- red or white, your choice!

£100 or more

5 of 5 claimed

£100 Our Hand Prepared Canapes for 20 Guests

Pledge £100 today and we'll reward you with handmade canapes of your choice sufficient to feed 20 guests. Why not host that drinks party you planned before covid hit us and we will cater for you? PLEDGE NOW> CLAIM LATER

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