Doesn't time fly?! It seems like it was just the other day I was standing with my pal in the school field, on a beautiful, baking hot, sunny day, dishing out biscuits, brownies & cupcakes at the Summer fete (did I mention before that we sold out?!) I did? Great! It's been a steep learning curve for an inwardly shy and self-deprecating girl like me, but I'll keep pushing myself through the cringe barrier to blow my own trumpet!
In let's start at the beginning I shared how this was the day it dawned on me that I might just be on to something. At the time I was working for the NHS doing a 'proper job' but big changes were afoot... I'll keep it short and sweet: Diving into self employment followed swiftly by a global pandemic. You get the picture.
Onto plan B for Baking. Why not? Always dreamed of having my own bakery, so 2020 seemed like as good a time as any (when life gives you lemons bake a lemon drizzle, and all that!) Did my research, registered my business, had a visit from a lovely food hygiene lady, got insured. Check, check check and check. T's crossed and I's dotted. On 7th July 2020 shit got real. www.mjbakes.co.uk was born. My very own website! CHECK!
Oh my golly gosh, I was GIDDY when that first 'ping' tinkled on my phone. MY FIRST WEBSITE ORDER! Dancing around the garden like a happy fool, I didn't realise at the time but that order would be just as special for the recipient - rainbow hearts for their wedding day!
Day one of taking MJ Bakes online and possibly my highlight for the year!
Does it get any better?!
The rest of the year looked something a bit like this;
Giveaways, collaborations with other small businesses, promoting #shopindependent, launching new lines, supporting amazing charities like Breast Cancer Now, making fun custom cakes, and bespoke biscuits, surviving 3 lock downs, home schooling (shudder), feeling the love from Miss Great Britain, selling in local Margate & Whitstable cafes, huge corporate orders, calling in the troops, getting the family involved, secret projects, a sold out Christmas, rave reviews, a feature in Wealden Times & Surrey Homes magazines.
We've been busy spreading the love far and wide with our best selling message biscuits, with sweet words and naughty messages, in English, Welsh, Scottish, French, Spanish & Hindi, celebrating Christmas, Halloween, Valentine's day, Easter, 1st birthdays, 90th birthdays, all the other birthdays in between, weddings, anniversaries, baby showers, new arrivals, new homes, new jobs, new businesses, retirement, adventures, friendship, love, hope, health, happiness, pride, shared memories, in-jokes, asking the big questions, reaching out in sadder times, telling Covid to go fuck itself, celebrating vaccination day, praising lockdown heroes, the NHS, carers, teachers, Mums, Dads, wonder women, humans, saying farewell, good luck, stay safe, I miss you, can't wait to hug you, can't wait to... (ahem, this is a family business). Have I missed anything?!
Right, trumpet well and truly blown (I'm not blushing, you are!) I think I chucked in the whole brass band after all!
Obviously its nice to celebrate the successes and highlight the highs whilst sweeping the lows neatly under the carpet... nothing to see here. Having a melt down in the kitchen because you can NOT prep all the orders stacking up whilst explaining improper fractions and practicing phonics! Panicking over postal delays that are totally out of your hands, worrying that now there's time and space to get business back on track the high streets are open again and everyone would rather go to the pub or Primark than shop with independent online businesses...
Did I say that last bit out loud?
Well, it's Ok to show a bit of vulnerability because that's real life and I know I'm among friends. You lovely lot have all showed me that. The support I've received over the last year (and beyond - I'm talking to you Sturry peeps, friends and family) has been incredible. You guys have literally made my dreams come true. You're my silver lining, my cherry on top of the big fat birthday cake I'm going to bake to celebrate 1 year of MJ Bakes and friends online in the big wide world. Cheers everyone! Here's to the next chapter (oof, I hope the toddler years are kind!)