On the up · 17 October 2016

This luxury hand-made biscuit brand is transforming the market for premium gifts

biscuiteers
Biscuiteers have a hand-made biscuit collection for most occasions

Launched in 2007, Biscuiteers was the first UK venture to offer luxury hand-made biscuit collections, to send as gifts.

The business has grown every year since, and the brand is now stocked by some of the biggest names in British retail, including John Lewis, Selfridges, Harrods and Fortnum & Mason.

A new crowdfunding campaign sees Biscuiteers look for £550,000 investment to take the company from startup to scale up. Business Advice caught up with business founder and head Biscuiteer Harriet Hastings to discover more.

(1) Who are you and what’s your business?

I’m Harriet Hastings, and I’m founder at Biscuiteers. We make beautiful collections of iced biscuits to sell as gifts all year round: for birthdays, thank yous, “get wells” and all seasonal occasions.

We started our business under the banner “why send flowers when you can send biscuits instead?” Essentially, we are offering a more unique personalised gift solution.

(2) How long have you been around for?

Nearly ten years.

(3) How do you make money?  

We sell online, which currently represents 53 per cent of our business, and we have two icing cafes in Notting Hill and Northcote Road, Battersea.

We also have a bespoke corporate business selling to wonderful brands like Cartier, Christian Dior and Net a Porter.

(4) What makes you different and why should people take notice?  

We are new entry in the premium gifting market – our competition is really flowers and chocolates. We think our handmade approach, our strong design ethic and beautiful packaging make us truly unique in the market.

(5) What was key in terms of getting started?

We saw a gap in the food gifting market but key was getting product offering right, the brand, the packaging and ultimately the logistics.

We are an online delivery company and had to work out how to send our biscuits safely in the post and manage our delivery promise – order before 1pm for next day delivery.

Biscuiteers Notting Hill
Biscuiteers’ new biscuit icing cafe in Notting Hill, London

(6) What’s your biggest achievement to date?

Building a multi-channel brand with a loyal customer base and exceptional corporate client list.  We are also proud of creating a new concept in high street retail – the “icing café”. Anyone can drop in without booking and ice some biscuits or book a lesson in our school of icing.

(7) What setbacks have you had along the way?

We haven’t had any major setbacks just yet, and the business has grown every year. Moving an online brand onto the high street was tough initially and it took some time to work out the right model.

We are an ambitious business and so we are currently crowdfunding on Crowdcube to enable us to invest and grow faster and explore new opportunities – possibly internationally.

(8) In five years’ time, I will be…

Running a brilliantly successful multi-channel gifting brand, which has really disrupted the premium gift market.

(9) What one tip would you give to others starting out?

Try and work out where you want to be in five years – it really helps inform decisions about your brand, positioning and packaging. In our case, we knew that we needed to get those bits right from the outset. We were then able to scale up from there.

(10) Who are your business heroes and why?

Chrissie Rucker’s White Company is a brilliantly executed concept, and for great disruptive marketing, Airbnb and Innocent stand out for me.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.

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