A Chorley cake manufacturer has grown turnover by a half and significantly increased its output by moving to a new facility following mentoring advice from Boost; Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub.
Eat My Logo is a specialist bakery business that makes freshly baked bespoke cakes and biscuits. The business was formed in 2014 by Ruth Poar, primarily as a sideline to her celebration cake business after a customer requested that their business logo appeared on the cakes. It led to a change of business direction and is now led jointly by Ruth with her husband Andy.
Due to rapid growth in demand, Eat My Logo moved premises four times in its first five years to expand its production. Having previously benefitted from Boost support, the couple contacted the Growth Hub again in 2019 to seek specific mentoring advice to help with their expansion plans.
The service matched them with Stephen Turner, an experienced business director who had experienced similar rapid growth through his own business, Group 55. Stephen received support through Boost’s Growth Mentoring programme in 2019 to help manage his own growth challenges.
Stephen’s guidance helped Ruth and Andy gain a wider strategic view on the business. He advised them how they could expand through more proactive online marketing and also helped the business in relocating to a 9,500 sq ft facility at Yarrow Mill.
Andy said: “As a husband-and-wife team we spend an incredible amount of time working together but we don’t always manage to devote focussed time to discussing the future of the business on a regular basis.
“With each opportunity to move, we’d find premises, get a refit and move, but we kept underestimating what we needed and not thinking big enough.
“Stephen was a great match as a mentor because he understood our situation. Having started a business from scratch himself, he’d experienced challenges similar to ours. Stephen gave us the confidence we needed to take the next steps with the business.”
Boost is Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub and is led by Lancashire County Council and the Lancashire LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership). It is supported by funding from Lancashire County Council, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
The Growth Mentoring Programme is a fully funded programme where the business is matched with a successful businessperson who will provide support to tackle the challenges business leaders and management teams are facing in managing and growing their business.
As a result of the mentoring, Eat My Logo experienced further rapid growth, hitting a turnover of £850,000 in 2019, employing 13 staff.
Faced with a significant downturn in their market due to Covid-19, Andy and Ruth pivoted their business to offer a greater range of sweet treats and biscuits which could be delivered to companies’ staff by post.
This resulted in the company’s three largest orders to date, 180,000 biscuits for a catering business, and contributed to the 50 per cent increase in turnover.
Ruth said: “Despite the challenges of working through the pandemic, it was still a great decision to move into the large bakery. The business is now back on track as the economy lifts out of lockdown.”
Even though they faced the challenges of Covid, 2021 was a record year for the business with temporary staff brought in to meet demand. The business has continued to grow with an expected turnover £1.25 million in 2022 and a team of 20.
Growth mentor, Stephen Turner, said: “As a result of building a fantastic business, Ruth and Andy were going through challenging growth pains. Together we scoped out the merits of scaling up and the risks of choosing not to. Thankfully, Ruth and Andy made the right decisions, increased their risk exposure and it paid off – as we knew it would.”
Ruth and Andy now have ambitious plans to sell their branded baked goods direct to trade, and to expand their offering to the hospitality and catering sectors. They also plan to develop two new web portals and are exporting overseas.
Nikki Hesford, managing director of The Small Business Academy, which delivers the Boost Growth Mentoring programme said: “Lots of Lancashire businesses have successfully innovated their products or routes to market during the pandemic and Eat My Logo is an example of a business which has managed to develop its online offering, with support from Boost’s Growth Mentoring Programme, which has led to strong growth.
“Whether you’re an owner of a Lancashire business or part of a management team, Boost’s Growth Mentoring programme can help you overcome your growth challenges and capitalise on opportunities. Get in touch with Boost to find out more about our expert mentors and their wide range of specialisms.”