As a business owner it’s amazing to be able to surround yourself with fellow business owners who inspire you and see their passion for what they do! Kristy definitely inspires me with her business, The Pudding Parlour and I know she has a real passion for what she does!
I asked Kristy if I could interview her for a guest blog and I was over the moon when she agreed! If you haven’t checked out The Pudding Parlour yet in and around the North East, you really need to. Their cakes are out of this world!
Here’s what Kristy had to say about her amazing business:
Tell me a little bit about you, your business and what you do…
I am one half of The Pudding Parlour! The business is ran by myself and my brother and we have been going a little over four years now. We are an American inspired bakery specialising in real indulgent comfort food and unique moreish creations! A few examples of recent specials are M&M Cookie Dough Pie, Caramac Cheesecake jars and Creme Egg Scotch Eggs!
What made you decide it was time to take that big leap and start your own business?
When we first began, we trialed it with a Facebook page…. I would bake from my kitchen at home and Greg (my brother) would deliver door to door. When we started nobody else was doing this other than your more traditional takeaway deliveries such as Chinese takeaways, pizza shops etc. and it quickly boomed and we were fast outgrowing my kitchen! Just four months later we found the perfect spot in Hexham on the industrial estate that would allow us to have a small retail shop, but more importantly at the time a large kitchen for food production and to run deliveries out of. We built up to our opening day on social media and crossed our fingers that people would come to the shop! Day one saw us see almost 100 customers cross the threshold and we knew then that we had hit on something special!
What’s the ONE thing you absolutely love about being self employed?
Flexibility! I love that I can join my little one on school trips or be there for her nativity plays etc. without having to worry about time off/ holidays etc. I just need to make sure I plan well in advance and that I’m super organised to check I don’t double book myself with anything at work!
What are your hopes and dreams for your business in 2018?
This year we have been working hard on growing our trade side of the business and now supply over thirty businesses across the North East and North Yorkshire. Our plan for the remainder of the year is to keep all of our current customers happy and continue doing what we’re doing, and do it well! We don’t want any new projects this year (unlike the last 4 years) as I am due my second baby in early May and will be working part time for a few months so need to ‘try’ and take things a bit easier for a little while, as this business is so busy and fast paced!
Are there any entrepreneurs that you follow who inspire you and why?
I am a huge advocate of the new generation of female entrepreneurs that have emerged in the last few years.
Michele Mone is a fabulous example of a female entrepreneur and a real inspiration! We are also very lucky in the North East to be surrounded by so many other amazing female entrepreneurs too! Sarah Pittendrigh at Simply Bows and Chair Covers, Kate at Northumbrian Flowers and Lucinda at Wheelbirks are just a few fabulous examples!
What did you want to be when you were younger?
I wanted to go into hotel management! And I did…… then pregnancy cravings and a love of baking set me off on a whole different path…. a path I never planned to head down!
Who inspires and motivates you to keep moving forward with your business?
My family inspires me. I come from a family of entrepreneurs and our parents were a huge inspiration to both Greg and I. We both didn’t really want to work for anyone else and wanted our own business and to reap our own rewards from our hard work! My own family (husband Rob, daughter Anya and a new little one on the way) are also a huge inspiration to me. They make me strive to work harder and provide a good life for us all.
If you could give ONE piece of valuable advice to women who are just starting out in business, what would it be?
Don’t try and and struggle on all by yourself! There are some fabulous networks you can tap into online for support and advice, grants available for start-up support and so many fabulous business men and women in the North East who are happy to give advice and work with other businesses. Business collaboration is an amazing tool!
How have you built up your business?
Blood, sweat and tears! We laugh, but the route of entrepreneurship is not always easy! There are loads of perks, but also lots of downsides too and a lot of stress can come home with you! I am very lucky that rather than doing it on my own, I do it alongside my brother Greg so we can share the load and cover each others holidays etc. to allow the other one a little bit of down time! Together we bring different strengths to the business. I am the creative and organised one. I am an ideas person and then I get the job done and coordinate the logistics between shops, bring out new specials, organise internal staff roles, rota’s and the general organisation of the company. I however, am rubbish with figures and accounts and Greg is brilliant at them! He deals with all the business financials and accounts and is often the voice of reason when I become stressed or go off on a wild idea; he reigns me in! He also coordinates all of our deliveries each week, of which there are now a lot! The secret to our business success really does come down to teamwork, hard work… oh and strong organisational skills!
Have you faced any challenges along your entrepreneurial journey? How did you overcome them?
Sure! In our last 4 years of business we have seen approx 8 our our trade customers go into administration, often owing us money… sometimes a little and sometimes substantial amounts! Even if you keep on top of the accounts, when people order such vast volumes of cake each week their invoices mount up very quickly! These circumstances hit us hard as we still have had to pay out for all the ingredients and all of the staff labour, to bake, ice and complete their orders. It is just money down the drain! 🙁
Staffing is always tricky too. Nobody will ever have the dedication and attention to detail Greg and I do as the company is our baby! It pays our mortgages and helps feed our families! We eat, sleep and breathe it! But as we have grown, so has our workforce! Some staff naturally come and go and some have gone under a cloud of drama! You really do get your eyes opened when you employ staff… People are not always what they seem! Saying that however, we also have had some real diamonds who have been the biggest asset to the company and have played an instrumental part in our success and we are very lucky! Right now our team of ten is the absolute dream time! They are amazing and we really wouldn’t be where we are without them and their hard work, ideas, dedication and a love of all things cake!