GIRLBOSSES OF GREAT BRITAIN: From Banking to Baking – One woman’s escape from the City

This year Taste of London was full of unbridled festive delights, the latest burgers here, turmeric lattes over there but we were yearning for something more pure and hygge. Step forward Natasha with her new bakery box Bakit (justbakit.co.uk)

From £14.99 to £19.99, Natasha’s baking kits contain everything you need to make a delicious cake at home, with just the right quantities of ingredients and even a toothpick to check that you’ve got a good bake, as the curiously tanned blue eyed wonder would tell you. We gave the gluten free Chocolate and Hazelnut Torte a whirl and, in stark contrast to all gluten free baking we’d ever done before, this was a great success! Check out our before and after photos below and read on for our interview with GirlBoss Natasha.

HOC: Hey Natasha, so nice to meet you! Tell us about your baking and what brought you to create Bakit?

Natasha: Lovely to meet you too! Bakit all started around this time last year – with a Christmas cake! I was staring at all sorts of half empty old packets of raisins, sultanas and mixed spice in my cupboard, and just thought how nice it would be if someone could send me the exact quantities I needed to make my cake. It would mean less waste, a lot less hassle. I thought, Hello Fresh and others already do this for main meals, so why not try it for baking? So that’s when I had the idea for baking kits – Bakit. 

HOC: Did you always love baking growing up?

N: I’ve always loved cooking and learnt with my mum and granny – I love how it brings everyone together around a table. I never used to bake that much though, otherwise I’d just be eating cake all day! And that’s kind of why the idea of Bakit made sense to me – because I’m not someone who bakes (or used to bake) that frequently, I didn’t want to have to buy big packs of ingredients to only use a teaspoon of it. I also want people to see that if I can do it, and I’m no pro, so can they.

HOC: You left the corporate world to follow your dream, can you tell us about that?

N: Yes I was in banking for about 12 years. I was a business manager for a team of 180 people in an investment bank, but somehow making decisions relating to your own business is far more daunting than most of the work I did back then!

HOC: What was it like making that decision to leave the world you knew behind?

N: It felt wonderful, daring – and terrifying! When I left, so many people said they’d love to be able to do the same. I had spent a lot of my time wanting to ‘do something different’ but I was never quite sure what, though I knew it would be food related.  So I left last year and did a cooking course at Cordon Bleu, and it was whilst I was doing the course that I had the idea for Bakit.

HOC: What have you done to prepare yourself for entrepreneurship?

N: There are a lot of books and blogs you can read (my favourite book is the The $100 Start Up), but until you actually get going, it all feels very academic. What really got me going was a start up course at Escape the City, which was brilliant. They showed us all sorts of free tools that you can use – you really don’t have to spend very much money to get up and running. They also engrained in us the idea of starting ‘scrappy’ and of testing out your product and market as soon as you can

HOC: Starting a food business must be tough! Any recommendations for any budding foodie entrepreneurs?

N: There are a few different ways to approach a start up – but as they taught us at Escape the City, start with the minimum, most basic version of your product, to see if you have a market. Don’t spend loads of money on making an amazing website or creating a stand out brand, until you know that someone is going to want to buy your product.

And don’t worry about telling people about your idea. Ideas are two a penny, what counts is the hard graft that comes next. It’s very unlikely that someone is going to steal your idea – and if they do, I guess you have to see it as flattery. Reach out to people, ask for help – and offer to help others in return! From my own experience, the startup community in London is incredibly generous.

HOC: What does an average day look like for you?

N: The first thing I do is always check my emails to see if I’ve had any orders! I like to send these off as soon as I can – I still get such a rush when I potter off to the post office with Bakits in my bag. I’ll then usually check my social media accounts and see if there is anything I need to reply to. If I am testing out a new recipe I’ll spend the day in my kitchen. I need to make sure that the recipes are just right, and that they can be replicated. I’ll then need to photograph each stage, and design / write the recipe card. It is quite an involved process but I love it when a customer posts a proud picture of one of our cakes!!

HOC: Sounds exciting, what’s next for Bakit?

N: I think the run up to Christmas is going to be really busy, so getting ready for that! I’m also working on some new recipes –  Selasi (editor’s note:  *swoon*) gave me his red velvet recipe when I met him at Taste of London, so that’s definitely next on the list.

I have got lots of plans to grow the brand – I’d love to do some video tutorials to help people learn some of the trickier techniques. I really want Bakit to be about teaching people that they can bake and learn loads of new skills at home, and that it isn’t actually all that complicated!

HOC: And finally, make us hungry ; what’s your favourite thing to bake?

N: I love making Christmas cake, mainly because of how my kitchen smells when I’m doing it – rich spices and oranges, yum, it really gets me into the Christmas spirit. For the rest of the year, I’d probably say chocolate chip cookies. You can’t beat them fresh out of the oven.

To find out more about Bakit head to justbakit.co.uk

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Anna Willatt

A chronic over researcher, Anna is the one who will sniff out all the unusual things to do at a destination and create a spreadsheet of options so there's no FOMO. Less likely to be spotted at an infinity pool, Anna will be finding dive bars, flea markets, 3rd wave coffee shops and chatting with locals to find out what they get up to...and sharing that intel here as part of #TeamCoco.

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