Harriet Hastings launched online biscuit boutique Biscuiteers in 2007. Since then, the business has boomed and the first Biscuiteers Boutique and Icing Cafe opened earlier this year. Here, she shares her secrets, tips and advice for making it big in all things tasty.
Where did the idea for The Biscuiteers come from? What did you do before you set up the company? Where did the name come from?
I used to work in publishing and then subsequently was director of the consumer brand division of a PR company. I was keen to have a go at creating my own brand and as my husband runs a catering and events company, foodie gifts seemed a natural extension. The name was actually my husband Stevie’s idea – there are four of us and we liked the Musketeers reference!
Do you have a baking/cookery background?
No I don’t but my husband does. He is a great chef and has been running a top London catering business for twenty years. I do more of the creative around the designs, the sales and marketing.
How big is the Biscuiteers team?
There are twelve of us in the office but we also have a big production team of anything between – 20 and 40 a day.
What advice would you give to someone who is looking at starting their own business?
Have a very clear idea of who might buy your products and why. I thought quite hard about how I wanted to communicate my business idea before I launched Biscuiteers – testing my own proposition! Make sure you also have a good marketing plan.
You sell recipe books, baking equipment, tickets to your own icing school… What’s next in the (icing!) pipeline?
Well the events business is growing all the time – we sell children’s parties, private hen parties and corporate events as well as the school of icing. I hope that we may be able to grow this area of the business.
What inspired the Biscuiteers boutique?
We just really felt that we needed a base for our brand, somewhere to focus our marketing and meet our customers. It has also enabled us to launch all our icing classes and teach other people to be Biscuiteers! It just took a long time to find the right shop in the right place.
When did you realise The Biscuiteers had ‘made’ it?
I certainly realised there was a demand almost as soon as I had launched it as we were quickly overwhelmed by orders. I never really think about us having ‘made’ it as it feels like we are still at the beginning of our journey as a brand.
What excites you most about the company?
The designs! I love working on new designs and collections and in particular some of the bespoke work for other brands is really rewarding and exciting.
Visit www.biscuiteers.com to view the full Biscuiteers collection.