Christmas 2012 was the beginning of an exciting and successful journey into business for me. It seems only yesterday and yet I have packed so much into the last twelve months that it also seems a lifetime ago already!
My first customer was Reece Lippolis, owner of Urban Pantry in Crookes, a champion of Sheffield Made and Yorkshire products where Tipple Tails cakes are certainly ‘hot’! Since then I have secured 25 regular stockists across Yorkshire with a core of outlets in Sheffield, and as far as Vanessa Deli & Cafe in Beverley in the East of the county and Fodder & Arcimboldo’s in Harrogate to the West. I have also started supplying some outlets in Derbyshire with lots of opportunity to expand into the county and further afield.
As many of you will have read, last August, the Tipple Tails Cherry Orchard cake was awarded a coveted Gold Star in the Great Taste Awards. I very proudly displayed my certificate at the Speciality Fine Food Fair at Olympia in September and then at the Fabulous Places Christmas Market in Derby and the Weekend Shopping Company Christmas Market in Buxton. All the Cherry Orchard cakes now sport a smart Great Taste Award sticker.
I introduced the Cinnamon Pippin fruit cake into the range in October, which is proving extremely popular. It is overflowing with golden sultanas, hazelnuts and cinnamon and is infused with the homely flavours of Boozy Infusion’s Cinnamon Apple Crumble Liqueur.
I’ve been working making the Ginger Tingle cake, which is most popular in the north of the county, much more ‘tingly’ so look forward to sharing that with you soon.
I’m planning to enter both cakes into the Great Taste Awards this year so fingers crossed will be sharing more Gold Stars with you later in the year!
The creative juices are really flowing at the moment; there are all sorts of new product ideas being mulled over and developed to add to the product range in the future. Lots more work to do though in the development and then I will need to source packaging and design and build product labels … I am also working on a product, designed especially for the Tour de France Grand Départ so watch this space!”
Having just missed the Christmas season in 2012, the 2013 festive season was an eye opener for me. I worked 7 day weeks from October to make sure that my growing army of customers had a constant supply of Tipple Tails cakes. I knew that Christmas was going to be busy because the Tipple Tails cakes make such a great gift, never-the-less I was delighted that the cakes were in such great demand.
Very excitingly, I have had some strong interest to supply Tipple Tails cakes to customers abroad, so I have been busy behind the scenes finding out how to go about exporting my products. I’m very lucky to have secured support from the Sheffield Enterprise Agency and Creative Sheffield’s Export Development Programme, and am also taking part in the UKTI Passport to Export, a government scheme designed to support businesses on their export journey. I don’t think export is going to be difficult, just different to doing business in this country.
Perfect timing for my business, following on from the success of the London Olympics and coinciding neatly with the exciting news that Yorkshire will host the Tour de France Grand Depart next year when the region expects to host over 2 million visitors.
I think 2014 is going to be busy!