Emily is known for her gingerbread building expertise and original cake designs and she has years of baking experience and a passion for woodwork and construction so it was a no brainer that one day she would launch her own company. Cue the arrival of 2010 and Maid of Gingerbread was born.
As avid cake eaters here at House of Coco it would be no surprise that we would be fans of Emily’s creations so much so that we had to find out more…
When did you launch the brand and what was the reason behind it?
Maid of Gingerbread launched back in 2010, which was around the time that cupcakes were taking over the world. I wanted to offer something totally different, to somehow capture that childlike creativity of making gingerbread houses at Christmas and see how far I could take it. It all grew out of a love for building things, and for baking great tasting cakes.
What’s your background?
I’m a self-taught baker (having learned over many years from all the amazing women in my family), and have always been passionate about making and building so it felt natural to combine the two. But I actually studied Southeast Asian music originally. I still play regularly, and really enjoy having it as a hobby; it is the perfect way to de-stress and connect with other people. After graduating I worked in administrative/office manager jobs for years, always baking in my spare time, and slowly building up the brand until I finally quit my day job to focus fully on Maid of Gingerbread last summer.
If you could start over with the business, would you do anything differently?
The only thing I’d change is to be more confident in my brand right from the start and approach more people. I think it took me a while to learn that everyone’s just a person – even the buyers in the biggest stores, or brands with 100k+ Instagram followers – they still want to talk to other people who’re doing interesting things or have great products.
Tell us one fact about you that people wouldn’t know.I have an ongoing project where I take designs from manhole covers (and coal hole covers) in London and transform them into cake designs: www.maidofgingerbread/projects. There are some truly fantastic pieces of design right under our feet that are totally overlooked so I wanted a way of bringing more attention to them, and their round symmetrical patterns are perfect for the top of a cake.
2016 is flying by, where do you plan on taking the brand?
I’m really excited about this year – there are lots of collaborations and events coming up. One area I’m particularly excited about is drink & biscuits pairings; Having developed some botanical-infused gingerbread biscuits that pair with different gins I’m looking to work with some more distillers/brewers to expand this to a whole range of drinks, so watch this space!
To date, what has been the highlight since launching?
I loved working with Lily Vanilli – we made a working gingerbread clock for her bakery. She’s a superstar in the baking world, but is just genuinely lovely and great fun to work with.
Also, seeing my showstopper gingerbread fireplaces on display in Fortnum & Mason at Christmas was pretty special. To have them as my first retail client felt like a real achievement and it’s been great working with them since.
Best thing about London to you?
I have SO much love for this city. The people, the food, the green spaces, the fact there’ll always be something new to surprise you however long you’ve lived here.
Best place for a coffee?
Freestate (nr Holborn)
Most memorable piece of advice given to you?
It’s not so much a piece of advice, more of a motto. My mum says, “cooking is a game you can eat” which has definitely influenced my approach to baking. I’m always trying to capture that sense of fun with my designs.
If you could spent 24 hours in anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Indonesia – I used to live there so it’d be amazing to be able to pop over for the day, with no jet lag!
Where can people find out more?
My website: www.maidofgingerbread.com
I also do a daily biscuit-based weather forecast for London (on my Twitter on Instagram) (#biscuitforecast)