As the success of her Alford-based baking firm Cake You Happy continues to rise, owner Melanie McEwan will begin operating from a commercial unit in the coming weeks.
The 49-year-old has been producing her range of celebration cakes and bakes from her home kitchen in Alford since launching Cake You Happy in 2016.
But having outgrown the space, Melanie set out to find larger premises where she could operate that would also allow her to separate her home and work life.
The unit rented by Melanie, who lives with her husband Gary and their nine-year-old son James, is located in the village on Donside Road, just moments away from her home, and is 9m x 12m in size.
It will not only provide the avid baker with more space for equipment to increase production but also the opportunity to host baking workshops in the future, something she has wanted to offer for some time.
Melanie has purchased two commercial ovens, a dishwasher, stainless steel tables, a double sink, mixers and fridges for the space. And she is proud to say there was no crowdfunding involved in setting everything up.
“I happened to be chatting to a friend at school pick up at the end of last year about needing more space and she mentioned new units being built in the village,” Melanie continued.
“I have quickly outgrown my home kitchen. When we moved here eight years ago it was never designed to have a business run from it. Due to the volume of cake orders I bake a week, the number of ingredients have also increased and there’s only so much flour and sugar I can hold at home.”
Melanie has set a date for the end of September to begin working in the unit so it is being run efficiently by Halloween and Christmas, both of which are extremely busy periods.
Up until then, she will continue to bake out of a domestic two shelf oven with one food mixer.
“You have no idea how much this will benefit my business,” said Melanie.
“At the moment, it’s a case of one cake out the oven, one cake in. Large biscuit orders take a week of baking and packing so I can get them all done.
“It will increase productivity and be a far more slick and efficient operation. It also means not having to plan bakes around having to use the oven for family meals.
“I’m really excited at the prospect of being to bake more biscuits and cakes. I know some of the coffee shops I supply are really keen to have more from me. It’s such a compliment to know how much people are enjoying what I bake!”
Cake You Happy supplies a number of local businesses, including The Cult of Coffee, Butterfly Effect, Wander & Graze and The Newport Bakery.
Starting out making celebration cakes alone – mostly for children due to word of mouth among parents – Melanie gradually moved into supplying coffee shops with a range of other bakes.
She accommodates a number of different dietary requirements including vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free.
Melanie, who didn’t start baking until her 40s for her son, and eventually neighbours, is aiming to hire a member of staff to help expand her business further.
Melanie said: “After baking for a couple of neighbours, things escalated quite quickly with other parents in the village getting in touch for birthday cakes.
“I decided then that I needed to register my kitchen with Environmental Health and pass my Food and Hygiene certificate. That was five years ago.
“Now, I’m on the hunt for someone to help with my deliveries. I deliver every morning from Monday to Friday to various coffee shops around the north-east. It takes close to 10 hours a week which I could use more efficiently!
“I’d also really love to expand my ‘decorate your own’ biscuit sets and provide workshops and pop-up shops at the unit. There’s so much to look forward to.”