First year of business really takes the biscuit…
It’s safe to say that their first twelve months of business have been a bit of a whirlwind for Sarah Williams and Philippa Atkin, founders of Halifax based company Dottie Biscuit.
Launching in January 2014, the duo had high hopes for their new venture but neither had predicted just how well their first year of trading would go.
Making plans from their kitchen table in the Calderdale village of Holywell Green, you’d be quick to think that Sarah and Philippa had taken a chance by turning their hobbie into a business but that is not the case.
Philippa, a keen baker with a strong background in sales and marketing and Sarah a recent graduate in Business Management did their research, tested the market, developed their product and found a niche in creating great tasting and attractive iced biscuits that would appeal to the retail market.
Finding the right product…
While they’re not the only biscuit bakers and decorators out there, they’ve made sure their product has a point of difference from their competitors developing a butter rich shortbread base and hand decorating with royal icing which they believe tastes superior to the sugar paste alternatives.
Over the year the duo have established a strong base of retail stockists including Fodder, Tebay Services and Country Harvest. They also attended a handful of events around Yorkshire including 1940’s weekends in Haworth and Brighouse, for which they produced ‘Spitfire’ and ‘Dig For Victory’ biscuits!
They have also begun to exploit other market sectors, with personalised biscuits made for weddings, parties and anniversaries and logo biscuits for the Corporate sector.
CRUMBS! We’ve won!…
In October 2014, Philippa and Sarah’s hard work was recognised when they won Best New Business at the Yorkshire Post & Deliciouslyorkshire Taste Awards. Praised for their “high quality product with fun and quirky designs, backed up by a flawless marketing plan.” Dottie Biscuit beat off strong competition from around the region to be named as the best new addition to the Yorkshire food and drink scene by a panel of Yorkshire food and drink experts.
Of the win, Philippa said “We never thought we would actually win. While the award was for new businesses we felt we didn’t stand a chance against such strong and better established competition so we couldn’t believe it when they read out our name.”
Before becoming a partner in Dottie Biscuit, young graduate, Sarah had very limited experience of icing biscuits but now she’s chief decorator and responsible for some of their most inventive and intricate designs. But it’s not just icing that she’s good at, with a degree in Business Management Sarah is responsible for the website and their social media strategy, which was praised by the judges in the Yorkshire Post & Deliciouslyorkshire Taste Awards.
So what does the future hold?
More biscuits we hope!
Already outgrowing their production space, Philippa and Sarah are hoping to move the business into larger dedicated premises at some point in the not too distant future.
Philippa says “A few months after we launched we bought an additional oven to allow us to keep up with demand, but now we could really do with another” and the workforce is growing too as she revealed “we are beginning to train two new biscuit baking elves to help make more of the magic happen!”
The art of getting owt for nowt!
It may be a saying long understood in Yorkshire ‘that you don’t get owt for nowt’ but in Dottie Biscuit’s case quite the reverse is true. By perfecting the recipe for their new range it’s the absence of gluten that’s getting the market excited in this ever growing sector.
“We have worked very hard to make sure that our gluten free recipe biscuits taste as good as they look” said Philippa “and everyone seems very excited that gorgeous iced biscuits are now available gluten free as well as in our original recipe version”.