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Our most difficult business decision - Closing the Kensington Shop

After an epic frantic sell-out Christmas this may come as a little shock - after lots of consideration we have made the most difficult decision to close our Kensington shop.

Kensington Cake Shop

Why? A lot of reasons but it all boils down to one common denominator - it was holding our business back. 

 

We are a small business with big ambition. We want to grow a business based on awesomeness at every level - from creative ideas to quality of products and packaging and all the way to customer service. To achieve all of that is all consuming and managing a shop at the same time with our limited resources was just not working out.

Doughnut Drip Cake

We put our heart and soul into the bricks and mortar of that shop, right from the beginning building it ourselves with our friends and family, and running it for two years in which we won TWO awards and were loved by the press both national and international becoming a local tourist attraction of sorts (and feeling like a bit of a celeb when asked for a selfie ;)).

Of course we had our ups and downs like every business but for a year and a half we were growing as we introduced new products and saw our cakes going nuts, became official supplier to Selfridges bakery and launched on Notonthehighstreet.com. 

However, since this summer we have had many sleepless nights. While the glamorous shop was a delight to be in and our loyal regular customers were such a joy to serve, the reality of running it was quite the different story. It took my focus away from creative and production with dramas ranging from trivial things like racism (from some residents and the bin men!) to much more serious long drawn-out arguments over business rates with the local borough which ended up with us going to court, LOSING in court only to be told later (without apology) that the rates have been revised in our favour based on our own findings which were refused at aforementioned court hearing where the council's solicitor lied under oath (I KNOW!). That's great woohoo, no LOLz here though as the damage has been done with lost time and a lot of trauma on a small business and ourselves as individuals. Every moment that I spent stressing over such dramas was a moment away from creating and growing, ultimately reaching a point where the shop was not profitable anymore, and our online business sprinted forward and took over.

@deliciouslystella cake!

Frankly, we can't pretend to be a big business while being small. We can't have solicitors on speed dial, we are a tiny team and don't have endless resources, and we don't want cowboys to think just because we have a shop in Kensington means we are some massive faceless corporation rolling in dosh and can be had (yeah...I read some of the comments surrounding a certain incident that went viral this summer, ridiculous). We just want to focus on growing the core of our business, which is gifts and cakes, without the burden of the shop.

Macaron wedding favours

So what does this change for our customers? On the whole, not much really! Our business is live and kickin', we are taking and delivering orders as normal spanning our entire product range of cakes, macarons and gifts online. We are still available for all enquiries via phone and email and of course you can pre-order and collect our cakes at Selfridges Oxford Street too. We are moving our cake decorating classes to our professional bakery in West London where you'll get to use our big baking gadgets and enjoy the class in a lot more light and space!

Anges Bakery

Of course we will sorely miss our regulars and loyal customers of the Kensington shop (you know who you are!) who have supported us through thick and thin while bonding over a common love for great coffee, cake and banter, and we hope to bump into you on the high street some time when we are doing our deliveries! 

Thank you for taking the time to read. I hope it goes some way to unearth some of the struggles of a small business. I guess I could BS with any number of reasons about closing the shop like oh we grew so big we needed larger premises, oh we grew so big we retired early and are moving to Provence, oh the location sucks blah blah but I figured if you've read all the way through you deserve the truth :) 

I look forward to 2016 more than ever with a renewed fire in my belly, a jump in my step, a lot of love for my tight team supporting us through this change and a LOT OF FUN in the kitchen baking all your awesome treats and cakes!

Anges de Sucre Cakes

Onwards and upwards 2016, we've got this.

 

Lots of love,

Reshmi

3 Responses

Vanessa

Vanessa

March 30, 2016

I would actually love to meet you! What a terrible circumstance, but I swear you have one hell of a back bone. Hopefully when I finally make my way to london, you’ll be one of the first cakes I eat or happily attack with my face. I am sure you are very very proud of yourself, as you should be! XO ness

Hasti Goradia

Hasti Goradia

January 08, 2016

I am so proud of you for doing what you do and making such amazing mind bogglingly (pardon the english) beautiful stuff. As a small business owner and a creative person i totally understand how running the business takes away energy and the creative drive. I wish you all the success and hope that in 2016 you grow and develop yummier stuff for us to admire from afar ! Sigh !

Ryan @ Borough 22

Ryan @ Borough 22

January 06, 2016

I’ve been living in a social media hole since December the 15th, 2015 (important to clarify the year!) I’ve only just read this. Oh Reshmi! My emotions are all over the place. I laughed and cried, just like when I saw the John Lewis Christmas advert (I know there really isn’t a lovely elderly man living on the moon, with crazy hair – I checked. I even bough a telescope in the January sales… Granted it was from Toys’R’Us, bought on a whim, but… I digress), stupid advert, sniff, sniff.
I feel like I’ve been on a journey having read this now. Meeting you was one of the highlights of 2015 for me. A real creative genius with a wicked sense of humour. I for one think this is the absolute right decision. You have a wow factor and professionalism with all your products and I am strongly against bricks and mortar. It’s an unnecessary expense. Especially in bloomin’ Kensington. All the money you save you can pour into the business and you can use Selfridges and NOTHS as your bricks n mortar. That way you can grow your baby and avoid a “hurting” from Papa!
I will definitely try to catch up with you this year at some stage, but well done. A tremendously brave decision and you should be ridiculously proud of what you achieved. Very well done.

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