Award-winning Leeds based artisan bakery Tarte and Berry have shown commitment to the company’s continued growth by harnessing the support of a regional business programme and accessing a £15,000 grant towards costs of relocating to a new premise suited to their ambitious growth plans.
Named as one of Yorkshire Business Insider’s ’42 under 42’ rising stars of business, Tarte & Berry is owned and managed by sisters Jane and Lucy Batham and has seen a rapid rate of growth since it was founded in 2014, more than doubling turnover to £150,000.
The business started from home and soon gathered pace due to its philosophy of quality, professionalism and integrity. The company bakes and supplies artisan cakes, flapjacks and brownies to coffee shops and restaurants with their award-winning treats available online, at food festivals and to trade supply.
Jane is a Cordon Bleu pastry chef, having trained at the Tante Marie Culinary Academy and Lucy’s background is in PR and marketing, giving the sisters the perfect skillsets needed to set up their new company.
Being savvy enough to investigate what support was available to help make the most out of their investment, Jane and Lucy attended a pop up business café delivered by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership in November 2016 and have since accessed a range of services aimed at growing SME businesses in the region, including support from the Manufacturing Growth Programme for SALSA food safety accreditation.
The event also introduced them to AD:VENTURE, a business support programme backed by the European Regional Development Fund, which delivers grants and support for new start businesses and existing businesses in their first three years of trading. The programme offers one-to-one mentoring, help to develop business plans, support to access finance, peer to peer mentoring, academic expertise, workshops and events and even incubator space.
The business was operating from a 650 sq. ft. unit, which included manufacturing, storage and office space. With plans to grow all three arms of their business – selling at food festivals and pop-ups, selling via their e-commerce site and wholesale over the next two years, bigger premises were clearly needed to capitalise on growth potential.
Lucy said: “The move to our bigger bakery unit is fundamental to the growth of our business. The new premises have been designed to meet SALSA (Safe and Local Supplier Approval) accreditation, which we should achieve by October 2017. This accreditation means that we, as a small food manufacturer, are able to target larger retailers and launch our products into a much wider marketplace. We simply had outgrown our first unit in terms of size, space and capacity and we wanted to prepare for growth in a sensible way, so that we could plan ahead and target potential future customers”
In addition to rapidly increasing turnover and growing the workforce by recruiting two more staff members, future plans also included a new website to enable trade businesses to order and pay online. A client management and invoicing system was also needed to create the infrastructure to manage operations more effectively, allowing Jane and Lucy to focus on growing their business.
Jane and Lucy learned they could access grant funding worth up to 50% of project costs through AD:VENTURE and have received £15,000 over two phases.
Jane adds “The grant support has been so beneficial to our business and has allowed us to capitalise on our growth plans much faster than we ever expected. The refurbishment of our new unit to meet SALSA standards ensures that we can target those high-end independents and retailers; which suit our products perfectly.
“Investment in our mechanical cutting machine will improve efficiencies in our bakery considerably, improving workflow and also freeing up time to focus on driving new contracts. The new trade website will allow us to expose ourselves to the wider UK coffee shop and café market and be seen as a key player and supplier to those independents.
“The AD:VENTURE team have been so helpful and supportive throughout the process of the application and continue to support us. We are also very grateful for the help of the wider team, including our LEP Growth Manager, who introduced us to AD:VENTURE at the networking event last November. Leeds really is an amazing city to grow our business in and we could not be more proud to live and work here and gain this support through Leeds City Council”
Councillor Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council’s executive member for employment, skills and opportunity said:
“We are undertaking a range of work both as a council and through the Leeds City Region to provide a package of support to existing and new-start businesses.
“The AD:VENTURE project which is funded through the ERDF is one of the programmes that is helping us to achieve these aims, and it is fantastic to see a business like Tarte and Berry, receive support to develop their plans for expansion.
“Leeds has a proud and rich tradition of innovation and enterprise, and this is another great example of how as a city, we are committed to helping especially young business owners and entrepreneurs grow their companies.”
With sales forecast’s showing demonstrating potential for a very fruitful turnover, these sisters are not about to stop here! Over the next 3 – 5 years they are planning to grow their sales in their current market, increase their presence across the UK, and take their products into a range of independent and boutique retailers.