Charlotte Giddings is the founder of Suffolk-based Brownie and the Bean. Here, she explains how she and husband Luke pivoted the business into a boutique brownie gifting service delivering across mainland UK – and how recruiting ‘Super Sue’, thanks to the Pathways 50+ Scheme, has been the best move
We started our business in 2019 as a mobile cafe operating across East Anglia. Sadly, when Covid hit us, we took the tough decision to close the hatch on our beloved horse trailer for good. We had already pivoted to be an online brownie retailer but the tide of post-Covid Britain was changing again, and people were making fewer online purchases. At around this time, our wholesale side of the business started taking off. It makes sense really; people are no longer stuck at home sending gifts, they’re out and about experiencing food and drink with their loved ones.
The Kickstart scheme initially sounded perfect for us as we would get a young person into the business to train up. The plan would be that they’d bring in enough business with their newfound skills, so we could hire them at the end of the contract. Sadly, we were not one of the lucky ones. People didn’t show up to interviews and those that did “ghosted” us after we’d offered them roles.
It took me out of the business for quite large periods of time whilst arranging interviews and discussing potential candidates, so when a customer of mine suggested we tried the Pathways 50+ scheme, I wasn’t interested at all. Luckily our customer (who works for Pathways) pursued and very quickly found us a perfect match on paper. I couldn’t quite believe my eyes; someone living local, with a lifetime’s worth of commercial kitchen experience. We interviewed (“Super”) Sue and offered her the job then and there.
Super Sue came to do a trial day and it was evident immediately that she was exactly what we were looking for. She’s kind, funny, helpful, she has bags of energy, trustworthy and pro-active.
Being as though we’re a family run bakery, it really is important to find the right balance of personality to blend in with us and our ways of working. Super Sue is all of that and so much more.
Before becoming an entrepreneur, I worked in TV and film. I’ve worked in some really hostile situations, with very difficult people, so it was so important for our first hire to set the tone of what’s to come. Super Sue is an absolute dream to work with and we don’t call her “Super” for nothing!
Visit Brownie and the Bean. Christmas 2022 has sold out, but you can buy brownies online for New Year Parties.
Featured image of Luke Giddings, ‘Super Sue’ Carr, and Charlotte Giddings