We have always loved simple good homemade food, when I met Caroline I realised just how much. She's an amazing and inspiring cook and baker. I didn't know anything about cooking or baking and when she made me a loaf I was hooked. I wanted to do it all day everyday and I did. I read all the books I could and made plenty of what were, terrible loafs looking back but loved every second. I pushed Caroline into sharing her food with friends and then the public. We started out in our tiny kitchen with our tiny oven selling at table top sales, food markets then running vintage fair/tea rooms and then selling through a friends bakery on Saturdays to opening our Bakehouse in Barrow market hall in March 2015.
We spent a lot of time looking for the right start up property/opportunity. We were both brought up on Walney so opening up in Barrow town centre was important to us. We believe Barrow deserves nice things and sometimes you have to make the nice things happen. We have both been very inspired on our baking journey and now, we are inspiring people. The hours are long and the days are hard but very rewarding. People come and tell us how gorgeous everything is. Its a dream come true. Being 'green' is very important to us, we use 100% green energy from Ecotricity which we are very proud of in the bakery. We use residual heat from our bread oven to bake with when possible. We recycle carrier bags, we operate a cotton bag for life system. We are a real bread bakery and make everything from scratch. We bake the traditional way, no artificial ingredients or additives. We use as many organic and local ingredients as possible specialising in sourdoughs and mix all by hand, fermenting them long and slowly. Making people aware of what goes into the food you eat and where it comes from is also very important to us. All of our ingredients are traceable, as local as possible, additive/chemical/preservative free and organic where possible.
Our bakery and what we do has brought so many people with a love for bread and good food from barrow and the surrounding areas TOGETHER . We feel its a little community hub, we have made many good friends. We are ever evolving, learning, growing and pushing forward to make a difference for the better.
Within less than two months of starting out we won the CN groups business boost scheme giving us £10,000 in free advertising in our local paper and their website. This was a massive help to us as our start up budget was very small and we had nothing for advertising. We used it to show people where we are based and raise awareness of what we do. We also entered the world bread awards 6months in which are very prestigious based in London every year with some of best in the baking industry judging the awards. There are many categories, we entered our roman spelt loaf into the 'real bread' category and won a silver world bread recognition award. I have worked with, met and talked with many of the bakers that win awards yearly, its a massive compliment to be given a silver award at all let alone in our first year. We contacted heron corn mill, our closest water mill based in Beetham about using there spelt for entering the world bread awards. They agreed to supply us small batches of English organic grains freshly stoneground by watermill. We now use some of there flours daily in shop which is a real pleasure.
The end of year one we came top3 in the Cumbria life food awards for specialist food producer which was an amazing honour.
We re-entered our spelt loaf in our second year and went on to receive a gold world bread award for it which was also the real bread category runner up, it was a massive shock. We then found out we were nominated finalists for two categories at this years cumbria life food & drink awards. The readers award, we were runners up and we won best specialist food retailer! It's been an amazing two years.
Good question and a long story, as some of you know things have been really stressful as of late and we are going to have to close in the next couple of weeks to refit the bakery because we have to give up our storage room(second property) due to a massive business rate rise and squeeze our large retarding fridge and dry goods into the tiny bakery unit in order to stay in the town so there'll be a few changes :/ This helped us in our decision to make a Kickstarter campaign. We are asking for money to help us buy a new bread oven and help refit the bakery in exchange for bakery rewards when we are back on our feet. The money we saved for a new oven has unfortunately had to go on rate bills and has been a massive set back in our progression. In the last six months weve been selling out by 1pm meaning some people cant buy our produce, even tho we are loosing space an oven upgrade will mean our workspace is more productive and we will be able to get more bread on the shelves for our ever growing customer base.
How we will use the fund's?
We are asking for £5000 approximately 60% of a new Tom Chandlery four deck oven (£8000), we believe this target to be realistic for a small town. Ideally we would love to reach £8000 to buy the oven out right but appreciate this is a lot of money, if your pledges take us over and beyond our oven goal we plan to buy a small espresso machine to combine our love of good bread with good coffee.
What you get in return?
We have some really nice rewards in return for your greatly appreciated pledges please check them out.
What's special about what we do?
There is nothing like us for miles in our area,the basis of what we do is-small batch, natural, organic, simple, slow and handmade. We are real bread campaign ambassadors specialising in sourdough breads making bread the traditional way using only flour, water, salt and time.
We also make all kinds of speciality cake, treats & lunches.
We take our inspiration from the seasons for our special bakes and lunches. Everything we sell is made by us on site by hand. We roast all of our own meats, making meat,vegetarian and vegan options. We make our own jams,chutneys & cordials. We love being flexible in shop making sandwiches to suit the customer and the time of year.
One day to have one big beautiful space that everyone can enjoy that is a working bakery and café with enough room for seats. Also to be able to teach and share our skills and passion for great food.
Just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to read this and a massive thanks to everyone that's supported us on our journey, it means the world to us. We are so lucky to be where we are and couldn't have done it without you!
Also thank you Ben http://www.hddn.co.uk/ for working so hard on our video at short notice
Risks and challenges
The biggest issue for us is space, downsizing the bakery due to giving up our storage room. We aim to completly empty and remap the front half of our bakery. This is currently a prep and sales area, we will shorten our sales space and improve our workspace and storage making the most of the height in our shop. We built all the units ourselves so we will disamantle and recycle as much as we can to keep costs down. We have good basic knowlege in joinery and are lucky to have a friend that has helped us with worktops in return for bread. With the bakery being so small and doing the work ourselves it will mean we will close for around 2 weeks to complete the work, this is costly but a small price to pay for being able to stay where we are based.
After 2 years we have a better understanding of our routine and the refit will give us chance to make a more productive space that works better for us as a bakery.
One of the challenges will be trying to keep as much of our beautiful sales space as possible,we know people love coming into the front of our shop to sit and chat and we love that to so we dont want to loose to much of that.
2. Not being able to buy the oven out right
If we reach £5000 we plan to trade/sell our old oven on to help make up the rest including a small affordable finance plan.
- (45 days)