Some time back, we created the branding for a fantastic start-up bakery in Leamington Spa called Haddie & Trilby. We recently caught up with owner and chief baker George Casey, who shared some of his learnings and insights with us.
Ice-breaker – allow us to get to know you a little better: how do you take your coffee/tea?
Too many Flat Whites in the week, Builders tea on Sundays.
Tell us about your business, what do you produce?
We are a Real Bakery making everything on-site from scratch following the seasons, bread, pastries, cake, tarts, lunch, coffee and we also do pizza on a Thursday night.
When did you start the business?
We’ve been going since early 2014, almost four years, can’t believe it but time has flown.
If you had to describe your company in one line, what would it be?
A Real Bakery.
What’s your role at Haddie & Trilby?
I’m a baker but as it’s my company I tend not to get covered in that much flour these days! (He says, dusting the flour from his jeans after another night shift.)
What was the biggest obstacle you had to get over to establish your business?
The biggest obstacle was cash flow and at the time I didn’t realise what it was or that it existed. A lot of juggling took place.
What do you look for in a design partner?
Creativity & good communication are key indicators of a good design partner but also the ability to understand and translate my poor communication into reality.
Anyone you partner with has to care a lot about what contribution they will make to the outcome, caring is important.
What’s been the most enjoyable surprise in business?
It happened early on, simple too but just meeting the same customers, again and again, realising that people actually wanted to buy the things we made, feeling proud of what we’ve created.
What’s been your biggest challenge?
Learning to realise that I can’t do everything.
Did you have a detailed marketing plan in place when you started up?
Did you follow it? Do you follow one now?
I’m working on it….. Our basic idea is that anything we do must lead to a positive word of mouth experience, repeat customers are really important, as are new ones that we retain.
How do you measure your success beyond the bottom line?
I like having time off with my family, so my idea of success really involves a measure of how much time I’m not working.
What value do you place on your current ‘Brand’?
It is really important, it now has a value that didn’t exist before, it’s a thing, “Haddie & Trilby” is a brand, small at the moment yes but our potential to grow is there. Without a brand, I think our growth would be limited.
If you could pass on one piece of advice to fellow aspiring foodies looking to do something like you, what would it be?
Do it. Do it now. Food is hard work. A business is hard work. Do you like hard work? Do it. People eat food. People make food. People are also hard work. Do you like people? Do you really like the hard work in making food and dealing with people that will make your work harder then it would be if you didn’t have your own business making food? Sure? So do it!
If you had to describe Toast in one line, what would it be?
Toast is creative, highly talented, perceptive, affordable and most importantly, has lovely people.
Last one – how important is design and branding to your company’s success?
How our customers see us is key to any success we may have, great design helps to stimulate the visual senses in a positive way that we hope will lead to repeat customers and ultimately to growth in sales. The visual cannot be ignored at any cost.
We would like to thank George for taking the time to answer our questions and share his insights and experiences with us, not just about starting a business but growing it and the problem that they faced along the way. We wish them all the best for the future.
Find out more about Haddie & Trilby and their amazing bread at www.haddieandtrilby.co.uk
Keep an eye out for other interviews with food and drink producers and other ‘Friends of Toast’.