Sweet success for Leeds sisters with a plan
TWO sisters following a passion are challenging the traditional way to run a business and have credited the Leeds lifestyle with much of their recent success.
Just over two years ago Jane Batham, 32, and younger sister Lucy, 27, packed in their day jobs so they could dedicate time to developing bakery business Tarte and Berry – which they were doing from Jane’s second floor flat in York using savings and any profits they made.
And now their perfect mixture of Jane’s cordon bleu cooking expertise and Lucy’s PR and marketing knowledge has led to the sweet taste of success.
After re-locating to Leeds, the duo have been cooking up delicious delights in their unit at a former mill in Farsley since November 2015.
Having gone from making 500 chocolate brownies a week to 4,000 a week as well as butterscotch flapjacks and almond bakewells to name but a few, Tarte and Berry now supply to wholesale customers such as the Waterstone’s cafe in the city centre, go to Farmer’s Markets and shows as well as having pop-up stalls rather than a permanent premises.
They have also taken on an apprentice in the bakery and retail staff for busy periods .
And it is this kind of approach to the business which helped the venture gain momentum whilst enjoying the day to day variety that drives them both on.
Jane said: “We quickly realised that to be successful we could not be home based and we didn’t want to be limited by space.
“The reason that we came to Leeds was that we got the chance to go into Trinity Kitchen in the summer of 2015 for six weeks and it was the Leeds crowd that really took to our stuff.
“The food scene is huge and in just two years we have noticed how many new things are on the market. Everyone wants to try something new and we could target a lot more people when we were in Trinity Kitchen.
“The pop-ups are really successful. We could trial what does and does not work and really honed in on our target market which was young professionals in the morning and at lunch and students in the afternoon.
“That is the reason why we do pop-ups – we can move around the country and reach different people. We didn’t want to just start with a fixed cake shop.”
It was a move that paid off.
Following on from Trinity, Tarte and Berry were asked to do a four-week pop-up in Victoria Gate for the centre’s launch last October but due to their popularity they were asked to stay for another four weeks.
These stints at the Trinity, Victoria Gate and also one in the Arndale Shopping Centre in Manchester led to being invited to collaborate with fashion retailer Topshop for a pre-Christmas promotion at the Leeds store.
Lucy said: “Topshop had seen us on Instagram and at Victoria Gate and got in touch and said ‘would you work with us’? That was a pinch yourself moment.”
There is plenty more in the mix for 2017 including a return to Victoria Gate, products in Ilkley Cinema and more big name collaborations.
Jane added: “We want to expand but not lose the home-made nature or the passion. It is hard work but we can’t really imagine doing anything else.”