A HARLOW woman has seen her bakery service grow and grow over the past two years.
Ellen Segal, 32, runs a bakery service from her own kitchen in Harlow.
Ellen set up Mummy’s Crazies’ Kitchen providing a wide variety of lovely cupcakes and cookies for her customers.
The business was doing well and then came the lockdown in March.
Ellen said: “At first we adapted really well, my husband Craig is working from home which really helps and I’ve had a lovely time with my two chider, Zeb (4) and Ezra (2).
“I’ve been teaching my eldest how to bake because he has a real interest in it and my youngest loves to eat them all, which I think is the best deal.
“I had to close for the first two months of lockdown so that was a really lovely time, we did something different every day and did our daily exercise together.
“Now it’s more challenging because they’re stuck in that routine, they’re both at nursery so they’re missing their friends. It’s starting to get a bit difficult but we’re lucky to have this time.”
Ellen’s business grew from a passion for baking and has flourished into a company now serving the local community and beyond through her Facebook page – Mummy’s Crazies’ Kitchen.
“I said to my husband when I was pregnant with my eldest I was interested in learning to bake,” Ellen said. “Six months before I opened the business I was baking for fun.
“My husband bought me my first kitchen aid for my 30th birthday and I had lots of fun baking for friends and family. They all said ‘this is really nice Ellen’.
“I was encouraged by my husband to start up my own business because I lack confidence, so I decided to get the business going. It will be two years in October and it has really grown rapidly, especially in the first year.
“What’s been lovely with the customers is they’ve become friends and you get to know everyone. It’s a lovely job to have to bring happiness to people through baking, whether it’s birthdays or just a weekend pick-me-up.
“That’s also helped during lockdown, a lot of people have needed something to lift their spirits.”
Ellen creates around 20 different flavours of cupcakes and cookies, each with their own unique and incredible design.
She explained how she often matches the colour schemes of her bakes to weddings, engagement parties and other family events, with her rainbow theme being particularly popular during lockdown.
“I make sure everything tastes and looks good and it’s really important you have both,” Ellen explained. “I personally have always loved buying bakes from people rather than from a case in a supermarket.
“Now I have my own business I’m making sure that I support others, I’d rather put money into a smaller business than a big supermarket.
“One customer left a message saying everything is baked with love and that it’s not just another mass production.
“Every cupcake is bespoke to that customer whereas in a supermarket what you see on the shelf is what you get. With us they can choose anything.”
While her business is now back up and running, Ellen has had to take extra care when baking due to the current Covid-19 situation.
She said: “I closed for the first period and when I decided to reopen I had to make sure that I knew that my kitchen was safe.
“I got extra gloves, made sure it was COVID-friendly and had to make sure that all orders were collected contact-free. I became extremely busy, more than I predicted.
“One negative is that I had no access to my cupcake boxes, cases or ingredients that usually I’d be able to get without a problem. Everyone was doing fun baking at home and it was hard for us businesses to get those things.
“There’s also been a negative on the little ones because of how busy I’ve been.
“But the overwhelming response I’ve received from customers is that my bakes have been making people happy during these really difficult times.
“I feel very lucky and fortunate that these people want to buy all my bakes, I feel like I’m in a really lucky position.
“I’ve also been donating to the NHS just as a thank you as I have a lot of customers who work in the NHS.”
While Ellen says it’s easier for people to collect their orders from her with two kids to look after, she has also been providing a number of deliveries to people in the local community.
To ensure social distancing is maintained, Ellen leaves the bakes on a table outside her front door when people come to collect them, and leaves the delivery on the doorstep when taking the bakes to other people.
Ellen and her family live in Harlow and have become good friends with many of those in the local area.
For her, shopping locally isn’t just about supporting others financially – there’s a real community spirit to be gained.
I didn’t realise before I started my own business how important it is to shop locally,” Ellen said. “When I buy I make sure I do it locally because it’s families like mine who really benefit.
“You’re benefiting the communities and families, and you’re also inspiring other people to get baking and start their own businesses.
“You can make someone’s day and it’s really easy.”
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