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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Onwards and upwards 2016, we've got this.
Lots of love,