On the up · 10 April 2018

Miss Macaroon: The confectionery business which trains young offenders

Trainees are offered the opportunity to undertake Level 2 Food Hygiene during the eight week training period.

After studying fine art, teaching English in Taiwan and opening a community vegan restaurant, Rosie Ginday went onto her next venture and founded Miss Macaroon.

Seven years later, Ginday’s Miss Macaroon offers premium confectionery products to big businesses whilst providing opportunities for young offenders.

Business Advice spoke with Ginday to find out more about what inspired her business, future expansion plans and why helping others is at the centre of her brand.

How does the business work and how did it get started?

I am Rosie Ginday, a social entrepreneur patisserie chef who works with young offenders to reduce re-offending. I set up Miss Macaroon in 2011 with just £500 of personal funds. Initially I was located in a kitchen at University College Birmingham which was offered to me for free – as I had previously studied there. I was determined to start a business with a significant social impact. I combined my artistic side and passion for premium quality food with a way to provide opportunities for young people, while providing moments of sublime indulgence for Miss Macaroon’s customers.

We produce handmade, gluten-free French macaroons for corporate, wedding, and wholesale customers, to the public online and in our Great Western Arcade store in Birmingham. Our customers can buy macaroons individually and in gift boxes, ranging from four to 24, whether it is a treat for themselves, their friends or family or the other half. We have supplied to some of the biggest companies, including Virgin, Facebook, Instagram, BP, Lloyds Bank and Google.

At Miss Macaroon, indulgence is also a virtue. Our social enterprise activities are supported through every macaroon sold, helping to provide employment opportunities and training programmes for young people aged between 18 to 35. The training scheme, Macaroons that Make A Difference (MacsMAD), is aimed at some of the most socially disadvantaged young people. In the past I have worked with care-leavers, lone parents, ex-offenders and those who have slipped through the education system.

We are currently running the MacsMAD catering programme, which involves learning basic catering and pastry chef skills. This takes place at our training kitchen for the first four weeks and then at the production kitchen for a further four weeks. We will soon be running our retail course, which involves learning about retail and customer service skills. Trainees are offered up to six months mentoring from us and the opportunity to undertake a Level 2 Food Hygiene qualification during the eight week training period.

Have you had any major setbacks or challenges?

We’ve had a few major challenges during the growth and expansion of the company. Raising finance for our retail store was really challenging, but I found a funder partner in BCRS who understands what we do as a social enterprise and supports our business model.

What makes you different and why should people take notice?

One of things that makes us different is our Pantone matched macaroons. We are the only patisserie in the world to use a Pantone-matching system to match our macaroons to wedding colours or brand colours. We are also different by creating bespoke branded gift boxes, ribbons and logo prints for corporate customers looking to gift our macaroons within their business or to their customers.

People should take notice because through a normal everyday spend they can really change a young person’s life. Our customers get to sample our range of 30 different flavours and help get young people into long term careers in catering and hospitality.

What was key in terms of getting started?

For me, it was getting mentoring support from other business owners and key industry figures. We set up a board of non-executive directors with contacts whom we already knew and were great friends. I’ve found that the advice and contacts they have brought to the business have been key to Miss Macaroon’s success. Setting up the board led to our first major corporate order for PwC. This influenced other major businesses and well-known clients and we often work with these clients to deliver orders for their customers.

What’s your biggest achievement to date?

Buy Miss Macaroon products here.

My biggest achievement to date was fulfilling orders for Facebook and Instagram. Facebook requested 500 logo printed macaroons of their Facebook emojis, 150 logo printed macaroons and an Instagram logo wall of 300+ macaroons for three major corporate events in London recently. It was a great way to celebrate our 7th birthday.

In five years’ time, I will be…

Growing the business through expanding the product range with other social enterprise premium treats and aiming to open more Miss Macaroon stores across the UK. I’m currently planning to refit the shop, where we will be able to serve teas and coffees, afternoon tea and brunch options, all sourced from social enterprises.

Who are your business heroes and why?

Sophie Tranchell MD at Divine Chocolate is one of my business heroes. She’s a fantastic ambassador for social enterprise and pioneered the Fair Trade movement. Through growing Divine Chocolate and creating such a loyal and engaged following, she and her team have changed the quality standard, perception and conversation around Fair trade food in the UK.

Why is it important to you to help others?

I believe it’s important to help others because we recognise there are many young people in Birmingham and the wider areas that haven’t been given the opportunities that they deserve resulting in them struggling to get jobs or believe that they can succeed. The MacsMAD course enables young people to learn new skills, build their confidence, raise their aspirations and make links with established professionals.

 

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Carly Hacon is a reporter for Business Advice. She has a BA in journalism from Kingston University, and has previously worked as a features editor for a local newspaper.

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