The range of cookies and cakes produced by Sarah Davidson, founder of Gumblossom, are sure to make anyone’s mouth water.
Perfect for gifting friends and loved ones (or enjoying yourself), the delicious treats are available in a variety of traditional and quirky flavours including Nutella, chocolate, red velvet, Lotus Biscoff, chocolate orange and stroopwafel.
And despite proving challenging at times, Sarah has relished the years spent building and running her very own baking firm in Stonehaven.
Intrigued to hear all about the secret to her success, we caught up with the entrepreneur ahead of a busy baking day.
What inspired you to take up baking?
I have always had a passion for food and baking and wanted to run my own food business, having worked in hospitality since I was 15. My mum did a lot of baking whilst I was growing up and encouraged my sisters and I to learn alongside her.
Before completing my degree in hospitality management, I lived in Australia for three years and worked front of house for a bakery and patisserie, giving me a taste for running a baking business and developing my interest in the industry.
When did you start running Gumblossom full time?
It was in September 2019 that I decided to leave my job in the hospitality industry and focus on running the business full time. Having completed my degree and reaching my goal of becoming a general manager at a city centre hotel, the time seemed right to take on a new challenge. And that role actually gave me the opportunity to learn how to run a business.
My mum had been running a cake decorating firm part-time, and so I decided to continue this venture in baking and develop the treats we offered.
The food industry is a competitive market and I knew it would be a challenge, so I started selling various baked goods at local markets and small events to establish what products were popular. This was alongside selling buttercream celebration cakes but then the pandemic hit!
So what happened exactly when the pandemic hit?
Before the pandemic and lockdown restrictions, I was still developing a signature product. Faced with months of no local events or markets taking place, I began looking at what we could sell online for delivery. My first box of cookies went out in May 2020 and it’s been busy ever since.
We had a following on Facebook and so started marketing on there before focusing on Instagram. Social media has been vital for the business over the last year allowing us to widen our customer base and share our products.
I’m proud of how far it’s come in such a short time and hope there will be lots more to come for Gumblossom.
That’s great to hear! Tell us more about what’s on offer at Gumblossom…
Cookies (including giant ones) and cake are our things! I don’t think I ever realised how much people like cookies, but it works for us. They’re made using good quality butter, free range eggs and the best Belgian chocolate. The chocolate makes the world of difference and is a big part of the reason the cookies taste good.
The business was initially established providing buttercream cakes and we still have a trusty band of followers that we provide cakes for.
How do you go about experimenting with different flavours?
New products come about both through research and development or from our customer preferences and ideas. Our giant cookies came about as I was receiving so many messages asking if we could do them and I’m so glad we made them a regular product.
Flavour choices are definitely influenced by customer demand as they help us to determine what stays on the menu.
Would you say the giant cookies are your most popular product?
Our giant cookies are definitely our signature product and they are my favourite to create. I love making them and it’s great to see the flavour combinations and looks customers go for.
Our boxes of original cookies would be the second most popular product we have.
How far afield do you distribute your treats too?
We offer local delivery within a 30-mile radius of Stonehaven. We have recently started posting our cookies and giant cookies nationwide, which has allowed us to expand our customer reach during lockdown restrictions.
We’ll definitely be placing orders then. What’s it been like for you running Gumblossom?
Running your own business is hard work but it’s also incredibly satisfying and I feel very lucky and grateful for all the support from our customers and loyal followers. Every day is different and you never quite know what’s around the corner.
There have been so many highlights over the years. These include leaving my job to work full time for Gumblossom, the creation of our giant cookies – this was a real turning point for the business – and watching our cookie boxes sell out in record time on key dates such as Halloween, Christmas and Valentine’s Day.
I’ve also loved growing the team and having my mum and sister come on board part-time to help keep up with demand, and watching our following on social media grow – our loyal followers mean everything to us.
What’s next for Gumblossom?
As lockdown restrictions change, we will continue to adapt our business with a focus on postal boxes and completing the development of our website so that ordering is made easier for our customers and we can increase production. New cookie creations will also always be at top of the list!
Do you love cookies as much as Sarah (and us)? Well, try recreating Gumblossom’s original cookie recipe at home.
- 150g unsalted butter
- 80g light brown sugar
- 80g caster sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 225g plain Flour
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ¼ salt
- 150g chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 190C and line two baking trays (or cookie sheets if you have them) with non-stick baking paper.
- Put the butter and both sugars together in a bowl and combine using a hand whisk or spoon.
- Add the egg and mix. Sift in the flour and bicarbonate of soda and mix until the dough comes together. Do not overbeat.
- Add the chocolate chips then divide the mix into dough balls. This mix will make 15-20 small cookies.
- Place the dough in the fridge for at least an hour before baking. Bake for around 8-10 minutes, until they are golden brown. Leave on the tray to cool slightly before moving to a wire rack. Add your favourite chocolate toppings.