2021 so far...
We can't believe we're more than half-way through 2021 already and are now looking forward to a brief summer shutdown in just a week's time! So much has changed in the business over the last 7 months that time really has flown, so we thought it was a good time to reflect on all that's happened!
Our new premises
We took a huge step in April when we moved out of our home kitchen and into our new 2,000 sqft. unit in Basingstoke. Amazingly 3 months have now passed and we're finally beginning to feel at home in the new space.
There was lots to get used to in the first few weeks, most importantly the new ovens and bigger baking trays, but we're now reaping the benefits of the more efficient equipment and being able to bake in larger batches. The extra packing space has made the whole packing and wrapping process so much easier and the spare tables in the office have become our makeshift photo studios for website images and social media posts.
Much of the early weeks in the unit were taken up by the additional hidden work associated with a new premises, such as transferring licences, completing fire safety inspections and obtaining sign-off from Environmental Health. Thankfully most of that work is now behind us and it definitely does have upsides; we were particularly proud to be awarded our 5 star Food Hygiene rating from Environmental Health on their first visit and our certificate now has pride of place on the kitchen door!
We had a great time at our first event at The Blenheim Palace Flower Show in June and equally good fun at our second at Wallop Wheels and Wings in early July. It's been great to get back out to public events and meet customers and other small businesses again.
Since these first 2 events we've been eagerly booking more events for the remainder of the year. So far we're booked to attend:
- Borough Basket Street Market (Basingstoke, 30th July)
- Hartley Wintney Festival (Hartley Wintney, 4th September)
- The Longstock Rally (Stockbridge, 11th - 12th September)
- Hyde End Craft Fair (Great Missenden, 15th - 17th October)
- Berkshire Craft Food & Gift Fair (Newbury, 6th - 7th November)
- Knebworth Christmas Fair (Knebworth, 26th - 28th November)
We're still looking at other options and hope to be able to add a few more to the list before the end of the year. We'll keep everyone updated with where we'll be on social media and we'd love to see you there!
We were so excited to finally sign off our new box designs in May and see them go into production in June! We actually started on the design project way back in 2020 but after a couple of false starts with other suppliers we finally found a supplier in January that understood exactly what we wanted to create. After several weeks of exploring different materials and box types we eventually found something that looked great and was also robust enough to cope with the demands of couriers delivering soft, gooey brownies all over the country! It also took plenty of back and forth with our graphic designer before we had a design we were 100% proud of, but we're so pleased with the final product that it was well worth the wait! We're still loving seeing all the orders going out in the shiny new boxes and seeing them arriving looking immaculate in social media posts. Please keep tagging us!
Being able to attend events again has the extra advantage of giving us a new platform to trial new products before launching them more widely on the website. At The Blenheim Flower Show we were able to trial our Raspberry Blondie and Coffee Caramel flavours; both went down a storm and have been launched as our July and August flavours of the month respectively. Prior to that we ran our Millionaire's brownie as June's flavour of the month and that proved incredibly popular too. We also created a selection of new slabs and brownie & booze combos as part of our Father's Day range and have just finalised our Fudgy Brownie ground coffee, which will be available on the website very soon.
The move to the unit and the extra staff that's allowed us to hire has freed up more time for experimenting and creating new flavours and products, which can only be a good thing!
2020 was tough on cafes for obvious reasons. Many of our cafe customers were closed for long periods right through to the Spring of this year and others have sadly now closed their doors permanently. However the recent lifting of restrictions has meant that things are opening up again and it's fantastic to be able to supply our returning customers again along with some exciting new ones. You can find an updated list of the outlets currently stocking our brownies here.
It's been great to cover so much in the first half of 2021 and we're now looking forward to a short shutdown break before more of the same in the second half of the year. As well as getting the chance to attend lots of events and meet more people, we're hoping to increase the rate of new brownie creations in the autumn and we'll be planning our Christmas range before we know it!