Finance · 2 July 2018

How Honeybee Bakery founder overcame the biggest hurdle facing young entrepreneurs

Founder of Glasgow’s Honeybee Bakery, Vittoria Capaldi

After being surrounded by enterprise whilst growing up, this 24-year-old set up her own patisserie business in Glasgow, Honeybee Bakery.

Vittoria Capaldi trained in London and worked for high-profile brands such as Fortnum & Mason before taking the leap and starting her own venture.

For the latest instalment of our Young Entrepreneurs series, Business Advice caught up with Capaldi to find out what she thinks the younger generation can bring to the business world and why she would never go back to a 9-5. 

Who are you and what is your business?

I’m Vittoria Capaldi, the founder of Honeybee Bakery, an artisan bakery and patisserie based in Glasgow. We sell a wide range of bakery products, from cakes and sweet treats to savoury staples like country loaves and focaccia.

We specialise in baking spectacular special occasion cakes especially for weddings, which are all home baked. We also sell many other delicacies such as honey and preserves.

Best of all, our shop includes a café where customers can enjoy afternoon tea or coffee along with sandwiches, scones, brownies and a variety of different baked bites.

As well as selling our products directly to customers, we also sell our bread and cakes wholesale to local restaurants which has been successful. We have also started to offer kids’ baking parties, where they can have fun decorating their own cupcakes, with the aim of inspiring the next generation of bakers.

What inspired you to start your own business?

Growing up I’ve always loved baking, so I realised early on that I wanted to pursue my dream of becoming a professional baker. I spent two years studying to become a baker in London, working at high-profile brands such as Fortnum & Masons and Konditor & Cook.

I really enjoyed my time in London, working in various coffee shops, but knew I wanted to eventually work for myself and set up my own bakery in Milngavie, which I was starting to miss.

As my dad has worked in a family-run business, I felt inspired to follow his entrepreneurial footsteps, but I knew the amount of work involved to get your venture off the ground.

Having my own business has offered me the freedom to come up with my own cake designs and sell the sort of baked treats I want to. My customers always tell me that my cakes are not just beautiful, but also delicious!

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Young Entrepreneurs

 

Young entrepreneurs: What’s your story?

Our new series is shining a light on the young entrepreneurs launching their own micro businesses to highlight the talents coming through Britain’s ranks.

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What are the barriers to starting your own business as a young person?

I think the main barrier for young people is obtaining funding. When you have no prior business experience or evidence to show you can succeed, it can be difficult.

Typically, investors often worry that younger entrepreneurs may not have a solid business plan to support growth. But even with a sound business proposal, things don’t always run smoothly. It can be a risky business investing in younger business owners who may be new to the market.

I also feel young people lack the confidence to just get started. They may feel that a lack of experience is a reason to not do something. But you can’t build up that experience unless you just go for it. Sometimes jumping into the deep end is the best way to learn and succeed. I’m learning more and more things every day, including from my mistakes, which are all helping me to grow the business.

Capaldi with her daughter

What app do you use the most?

I love using Instagram, it is the best app to allow me to show off my creations and has been the perfect marketing tool. It’s like having a digital brochure which is constantly updated. Many of my customers will look through my Instagram feed to gain inspiration for what they want their next celebration cake to look like.

How did you fund your business?

To begin with, I saved up a lot of money from my old job in London, as I knew I wanted to eventually start my own business. But it’s no secret that startups often lack access to finance.

I contacted The Start Up Loans Company, and secured a low-interest loan. Access to finance can be a stumbling block for many aspiring business owners, but fortunately, The Start Up Loans Company provided me with much-needed financial backing.

The loan helped me to pay for equipment, ingredients, the deposit to rent the shop and renovate the premises. Since receiving the loan, the business has grown. I’ve hired five members of staff and expanded the kitchen to both cater for my growing customer-base but also to focus on wholesaling to locally based business as well as in store customers.

What do you think the younger generation can bring to the business world?

I think young people are full of fresh and innovative ideas which they are eager to bring to the table. They are quick to learn from their mistakes, which helps build resilience in tricky situations.

What’s more, technology is fast-changing and young people have the skills to adapt to new situations. My social media skills, for instance, definitely helped me grow my business to where it is today.

Will you ever work a 9-5 job?

Now that I’ve had a taste of what it’s like to have your own business, I don’t think I could ever go back to a 9-5 job. I’m really enjoying the freedom it has given me to make my own decisions, as well as the special relationships I’ve built up with my customers. 

Is a degree a necessity? 

I think it depends on what your end goal is. For careers where certain skills are needed then obviously university would be the correct choice. But going into baking, I don’t think a degree is necessary. I learnt more on the job then I did while at university.

What tips do you have for other young people wanting to start their own business?

My biggest tip would be to just go for it. The time will never be right, and there will always be a million reasons stopping you from achieving your goal, but you just need to ignore them.

I’d also say try to get as much advice as possible, and never be afraid to ask questions. There are so many companies out there willing to help get young businesses off the ground. For example, The Start Up Loans Company offered free mentoring advice which really helped me with my business plan.

Who is your celebrity icon?

I love Mich Turner’s cake designs. She is the owner of the Little Venice Cake Company, and has a range of successful businesses, running cookery classes around the world.

Where do you see yourself at 50?

Hopefully I’ll still be running the bakery, but working a lot less hours!

Netflix or night out?

Netflix

 

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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.

Finance