It’s our brownie birthday week and we’ve made it to the ripe old age of 3! In the last 3 years, we’ve seen our fair share of ups and downs as a business: from the global pandemic to ingredients shortages, dry diesel pumps, cardboard shortage, domestic fuel crisis… the list goes on.
The photo above was taken on our first ever trading day at Star Wing Brewery in our village, Redgrave. We had never worked together before and had no idea what the future held, but we were so excited to bring our brownies, coffees and cocktails to East Anglia.
The brownies were always a massive part of our café, but we didn’t have a great deal of time between us to develop the flavours. Little did we know we’d have all the time in the world soon after launching!
The Covid Impact…
At the end of January 2020, we launched our café at its permanent home at Bury St Edmunds Station. We were soon hit with wonderful Storm Chiara which meant 3 weeks of no trains. You can do all the business plans in the world, but nothing can prepare you for what came next. Immediately after that our whole family were hit with a respiratory flu (which we now understand to have been covid). Things were looking pretty bleak for us as a family, so we took the very difficult decision to close our hatch for good. It was a terribly difficult decision at the time. We are both very ambitious and determined people and we knew we’d made the right decision for our family and our health.
The weeks in between closing the hatch and lockdown gave us the opportunity to focus on the brownies. I came up with a hare brain idea of doing door-step deliveries of our brownies. Luke humoured me and encouraged me to put a notice on a Facebook community group. I’m so pleased I went with my gut, because it turned out to be the best business decision we’d ever made! Thankfully the response to our proposed brownie delivery was really positive! Lots of very kind people shared the post and we were getting messages from further and further afield.
The feedback we were getting for our brownie deliveries was incredible. People even wanted to gift friends and family in different geographical areas. At first I obliged and found myself travelling regularly across Cambridgeshire, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk. Alas this was to be short lived. I was travelling so much, I couldn’t physically take the orders for the brownies.
How things progressed…
Orders were starting to flow in from counties outside of my delivery area. People were starting to ask for vegan and gluten free brownies. When Luke wasn’t looking after our 4 yr old, 2yr old and baking for order, he was trying out new recipes for our customer base. It was all getting a bit hectic!
Very soon another challenge came our way! Whilst out delivering one time, I got lost and asked a local Post Office for directions. The Postmaster was so helpful, I gave him a box of brownies as a thank you! He demolished the brownies and gave me a call. He said they enjoyed them so much, he’d like to stock them. Wow. Our first wholesale customer was born. This was particularly helpful because I was struggling to get to so many deliveries in a day. This way, our customers could get their brownie fix without me having to drive to 30 houses in a day!
Something had to give!
We soon got to a place where we were totally burnt out trying to fulfil orders in person. The only option was to move our brownies to a postal model. Brownies by post were always something we like the sound of trying, but we didn’t know where to start. First thing’s first… we needed an e-commerce website. We engaged a company and they started building things in the background. Next thing was logistics… how do we transport them? Will the brownies cope in the heat (we had a lovely long heatwave that year)? Which delivery company is the most reliable? What will we wrap the brownies in? What will the packaging look like?
Just when you thought you had maxed out every hour of the day, we suddenly added this HUGE research project. It took months of posting brownies to family and loved ones, posting brownies to ourselves, trialing packaging and wrapping. We made lots of mistakes in the early days, but we learned very fast what was best!
Originally we launched with our Mixed Brownie Box, Bean Daddy’s Balls in a Box (now known as Power Balls) and our Without Gluten Brownie Box. Looking back on our brownie birthday, it’s amazing to see how the range has expanded. We now have a large range of sweet goods from Cinnamon Rolls to Fudge and Christmas Cake (to name but a few).
Very soon we were delivering our brownies all across the UK as per were treating their family and friends to birthday brownies, lockdown brownies and much more!
Hooray, it’s our brownie birthday!
Right now, we have a wonderful business incorporating brownies by post, wholesale brownies, retail baked goods and confectionary and corporate gifting. We feel so lucky to have reached our 3rd brownie birthday and we are so thankful to all of you that have come along for the ride!
Here’s to many more brownie birthday to come! This week we intend on taking some time out with our little family and reflecting on our brownie journey.
To hear more about how we got started, have a read here!