Ahead of our Young Businesswomen's Forum?on Tuesday, October 17 at The Westbury Hotel, we decided to have a chat with Catherine Buggy, Founder, and Owner of Boutique Bake?
At what point did you discover your passion for baking and food?
I have always been hugely passionate about food, in particular, baking and grew up baking in the kitchen from a young age. I think it goes back to a tradition we had in my family growing up, of always having big Sunday lunch, which you absolutely had to be there for! I was always on dessert duty, so this just developed into a real love of baking and creating sweet treats for everyone to enjoy.
In 2013, I saw there was a gap in the market for a high quality and truly homemade tasting baking mix. So in June 2013, I began trialing a range of baking mixes in local farmers markets. The response was amazing, and after two months I received an email from Tesco, so I knew then that I was on to something special!
What are the core values at the centre of Boutique Bake?
At Boutique Bake, we want to encourage people to get back baking and have some fun! With our range of baking mixes, our aim is to give people the confidence that they can create delicious home baked cakes & bread, with guaranteed results each time! Our range does not contain any artificial flavours, colourings or preservatives, and we never compromise on quality, this is something that is really important to us. I also want to create a trustworthy and approachable brand and for customers to feel that they can get in touch with any questions.
I definitely think that Boutique Bake is creating new interest in home baking, and one of my aims is to get those who may not have baked before to give it a go!
What has been your career peak to date?
I appeared on the ?Late Late Show? in January 2016 to talk about my business and product range and that was such an amazing experience. I got to say ?there's one for everyone in the audience? and give away one of my baking mixes to everyone, which was very surreal. But from a day-to-day highlight just seeing my products on the supermarket shelves gives me such pride. In particular, when I saw my products on the shelves in Planet Organic in London; that was a really exciting day!
Taking the plunge and setting up your own business, would you have done anything differently?
I don't think so! My top tip would be to just give it a go! There's never a perfect time to start a new business, but you learn so much once you are up and running. It can be daunting, but if you have a great idea, definitely go for it! It's a really exciting time to be in the food industry in Ireland!
What is the most rewarding element of owning your own business?
I love?the variety that comes with having your own business. Every day is so different and it keeps you on your toes. In the current growth stage that?Boutique Bake is in, there are little milestones?happening each day from adding more'stores?in Ireland, to'recently?exporting to the UK, Australia and'most recently the US. These?achievements'definitely help me to stay motivated. In particular with a food business, it is incredibly rewarding seeing a little idea you develop in your kitchen going through all the stages of testing and branding, to then becoming a product on the supermarket shelves. That never gets old!
Hear Catherine and fellow panelists Sonia Deasy and Emma Manley talk about their working life at our IMAGE Young Businesswomen's Forum.