My name is Liz Wilson and my business is Ma Baker – an award winning micro bakery in the heart of Fulham. I bake, sell, and deliver real bread to the good people of SW6. I also run a range of highly acclaimed Bread Courses, which are listed as one of the top 3 classes in London by Trip Advisor.
Four years ago, I was working as a primary school teacher but felt I was a crossroads in my life. I decided to take a bread making class and absolutely fell in love with the magic of dough. I then volunteered in bakeries, washed up in cooking schools, talked endlessly to bakers, and baked and baked. I gave away so many of my loaves to neighbours and friends that they eventually said ‘Liz, stop giving it away, we will pay for it’. And they did. And then more people did.
I soon went part time with my primary school job so that I could spend more time baking and teaching bread. At the end of 2014, I started my full-time bread adventure – and ‘Ma Baker’ was born.
In just three years, I have nurtured Ma Baker to become a thriving young business. I absolutely love what I do, and my business makes people happy. There is nothing quite like sharing something you are passionate about with others.
Since starting my business, some of my proudest achievements include four Great Taste awards, 12 World Bread Awards, being listed as one of the Top 5 Bakers in London by the Real Bread Campaign, and more than doubling my turnover and profit in the last year. Most recently I was awarded Best Sole Trader at the British Small Business awards 2017. I was also awarded a grant through Urban Food Routes and the Plunkett foundation, which enabled me to purchase a bakery oven and large mixer.
The success of my business has been down to staying true to my values, offering a quality product, being sustainable, as well as the combination of excellent customer service, a creative marketing strategy, and a very good accountant.
I also train others to learn what I do, and am proud to say that this year there are twenty new micro-bakers beginning their bread journey across the country thanks to Ma Baker.
I am now developing a range of longer shelf life products, which will enable me to approach new and different markets, as well as the opportunity to explore online sales. The packaging is complete and buyers have been approached, with very positive results. So, keep your eyes peeled for Ma Baker Bakes oatcakes with dark chocolate and fennel, or my new range of Buckwheat Crackers, because they will be available very soon!
I was chosen as a WOW winner by Jacqueline in December 2016. Becoming a WOW winner is a wonderful stamp of approval to add to my business, as it gives me both validity and pride. It also gives me networking access to other women in business, which is invaluable.
Being a female entrepreneur is hugely important. I am very proud of how I have created a business out of something that I love and that brings so much pleasure into people’s lives. I am also proud that I have created a business out of bread which is dominated by male bakers.
My advice to other entrepreneurs is to be the best that you can be. Love what you do and learn from your mistakes!