We talk to Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Fair favourite, Harriet Hastings of Biscuiteers about starting up and how selling biscuits is a bit like launching a fashion collection.
Biscuiteers make beautiful, hand-iced biscuits, cakes and chocs that you can gift or – and only if you’re really up to it – devour while crafting with a nice, hot cuppa (we’re in!). Each biscuit is carefully decorated by their talented team of artisan icers in the Biscuiteers South London bakery, but if you’re close to one of their icing cafés you could ice your own! They deliver their treats internationally, too which is great news for international reader who can’t make The Handmade Fair to sample the bakes.
Here’s Biscuiteers co-founder and director, Harriet Hastings on inspiration and all things sweet.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
I spend my days meeting with various members of my team, whether that be a planning session with our Head of Production for our incredibly busy Christmas season, or brain storming new content ideas with the marketing team. We are constantly designing new collections and refreshing our current designs, we launch them seasonally just like fashion collections so this is a constant and very enjoyable part of my day. I also visit our two icing cafés regularly, in Notting Hill and Battersea. At lunchtime we cook lunch for all the Biscuiteers staff. Depending on the time of year there are usually 40 – 50 of us, so it’s good to make time to have a break and talk.
Who inspired you to start selling biscuits as gifts?
The idea for Biscuiteers came whilst spending a weekend in New York with my husband and business partner, Stevie. We were inspired by the food gift market and were sure there was a real opportunity to set up a biscuit gift business back in the UK, something completely different from anything else available. We started designing and recipe testing in early 2007. At first we camped out in my husband Stevie’s catering kitchens, but had to move pretty quickly as the orders came rolling in.
What do you love most about working in the biscuit industry?
The designs! I love working on new designs and collections and in particular some of the bespoke work for other brands is really rewarding and exciting.
What new projects are you currently working on?
We opened our 2nd Icing Café at the end of last year, on the Northcote Road in Battersea. Is a fabulous space with an open plan, marble topped counter where we host our School of Icing classes and Children’s Birthday Parties. The event side of our business is a really exciting development and we are working on rolling this out further.
What are you looking forward to most about being at the Handmade Fair?
It’s a really creative environment with lots of inspiring small companies so I’m looking forward to seeing it all!
Tell us a little bit about what you’ll be doing at the fair?
One of our expert icers will be doing an interactive demonstration, teaching all the techniques and skills required to ice our very popular Butterfly collection. People attending will be able to take their hand iced butterflies home in one of our beautiful, illustrated gift boxes.
Fancy having a go? Biscuiteers can be found in the Seasonal Skills Workshop on Friday, 18th and Saturday, 19th September at 11.15am.
Check out all the exhibitors and book your tickets for The Handmade Fair now at www.thehandmadefair.com
The Handmade Fair, Surrey
Hampton Court Palace
East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AU, UK
18-20 September 2015
Full experience Ticket, £29
Includes a Super Theatre session, Skills Workshop and Grand Make of your choice.
VIP Tickets, £95
Includes a glass of bubbly with Kirstie, afternoon tea, an exclusive gift bag, front row seating in the Super Theatre and access to the VIP lounge, with refreshments and entertainment.