We're officially out of our toddler years and into our pre-schooler years! And what a wild ride it's been getting here. From starting out as a solo home baker juggling flour and scales with a full time job, to evolving into a team of 14 and launching into retailers nationwide, it's been a journey for sure. And guys, we're just getting started!
Take a walk down memory lane with me as I looks back over some of my highlights over the past 4 years.
2018: THE SIDE HUSTLE YEARS
Let's be honest, I probably shaved off 5 years of my life from the lack of sleep this year but my god was it worth it! I'd always loved baking but something just "clicked" for me in 2018 and it became my ABSOLUTE OBSESSION.
It wasn't a business quite yet but by the end of the year I was working at my "proper" job for 9 hours a day and following it up with a casual 6-8 hours of baking in the evening making cakes and cookies for friends, family and a few lovely strangers who were following me on Instagram.
2019: A BUSINESS IS BORN!
After a couple of months of struggling to juggle a full time job with my baking hobby I officially bit the bullet, quit my day job and rented myself a commercial kitchen to see if I could make my baking obsession into a career! Thus Baked by Steph was born.
This year involved A LOT of support from my family and friends, both financially and physically. I recruited family members to help me fulfil large orders, build equipment and keep me entertained during all the late nights. Payment came in the form of hugs and cookies.
It was a tough slog until, eventually, the business started to take off and I was able to make my first official hires!
2020: THE YEAR OF...AHEM...COVID
Just as I was getting my little business off the ground and getting excited about our growth, Covid came along and shut us down for 5 long months! Great.
When we were finally able to open again I decided to take a giant leap of faith and move to bigger premises so that I could expand my team - eek!
Setting up a bakery from scratch in the middle of a pandemic was probably not one of my brightest decisions, and I definitely shaved off another 2 years of my life here. It was a real uphill battle and one of the biggest challenges I've ever faced but it paid off! I officially reopened the business in September 2020 and we entered into what can only be described as our "Year of Chaos"...
2021: THE YEAR OF CHAOS
In the midst of a pandemic and multiple lockdowns we kept our customers smiling and connected with each other with thousands of custom cookie messages (mainly lockdown themed!) and the Bridgerton obsession had our "Duke" face cookies flying out the door. (Rege-Jean also reposted us on Instagram, so we were basically dating for a day.)
I've never seen demand like it and we could barely keep our heads above water. Most days we were running around like headless chickens but we love a challenge!
My team quickly grew from 6 to 14 people in a short space of time and my favourite time of the week quickly became our Friday drinks when we would celebrate each successful week with a round of cold beers as a team.
2022: THE YEAR OF MATURING
The past year has seen us really grow up as a business in so many ways. We really took the time to listen to our customers and implement their thoughts and feedback.
We focused on improving our product, finessing our processes and forging new and exciting relationships with retail and corporate partners.
It was also a year of many firsts: first press show, first market stall, first workshop. And a personal milestone for me: getting stocked in Selfridges! Dream come true.
I couldn't be prouder of how far we've come in such a short space of time and I'm so excited for the next steps in this crazy journey!
If you're wondering what you can expect to see next from us, we're currently working on developing our product offering further. Expect more cakes, more flavours, more cookie designs, more workshops...basically a TON more options!
On a personal note from me, thank you so so SO much to everyone who has supported my little business over the past 4 years. Whether you've followed us on socials, placed an order or sent us a review, I value your support so much and I thank you all for helping to keep my baking dream going. I hope you stick around for the next part of the journey!