Punk Princesses of Baking: Telegraph
Meringue Girls share some top tips:
- Find a unique product
First and foremost: you need to find a product that is new, exciting and like nothing else on the market. Cupcakes and macarons had had their day, and we knew we had to find something imaginative and innovative to start our new business venture together. You need to make delicious, eye-catching and fashionable treats, have strong branding, and always think about the next big thing, to keep ahead of the game. Experiment, experiment, experiment!
- Allow yourself time to find your feet
We tried loads of different ways of making the meringue until we discovered our own recipe; a combination of French and Italian techniques, in which the sugar is partially melted before being added to the stiff egg whites. If it wasn’t for some frustrating late nights swirling natural colours into the mixture with the end of a knife, we never would have tried painting the inside of a piping bag. We make time once a week to come up with new flavours and products – from rainbow teacakes to marshamallow ropes – which is a crucial to continue to grow the business and brand.
- Keep costs low
Keeping costs low at the start is imperative. Don’t splash out on expensive machinery, staff or a location until you are 90 per cent sure your model works. We started baking from home, then moved into a shared kitchen space to bake at night, and three years later are now in our own bakery (in the day time!) We didn’t borrow any money, so started really cautiously and frugally. It wasn’t fluke that the raw ingredients for meringues are cheap (sugar and egg whites), and not too much specialist equipment was needed to get us started.
- Come up with a business plan and strategy early
Looking back, our advice would be to set up a proper business plan and five-year strategy from the start. We didn’t, which was a massive error. Our idea took off really quickly, and everything happened very organically. It was a fun, whirlwind journey – but we made a lot of mistakes along the way. We are now getting our proper plans in place, which should have been implemented from the very beginning. Saying that, it is so hard to predict and forecast when you haven’t tested, so you need to be able to go with the flow too.
- Know your brand, and keep it fresh
Your brand identity is your strongest asset. With the ever-increasing demand for online marketing, strong branding is more important than ever.
- Be your own PR
At the start we couldn’t afford traditional PR, so social media has been an incredible platform with which to grow and expand our business. It is a brilliant medium for us to communicate with potential clients and collaborators, as well as keeping our eye on baking trends and keeping our 90,000 followers updated with our new products and events. Our favourite platform is Instagram, as our products are so visual. We are also developing our own YouTube channel with baking tutorials. Plus joining Snapchat & Periscope, a new live streaming platform to live stream the fun and tasty stuff we get up to.
- Collaborate = Networking
Collaborating is a great way to reach new clients and build a business network within your chosen industry.
- Have Fun!
If you’re not having fun, what’s the point?!