*The proof is in the pudding!*
Nearly 30 years ago Shipley based business Just Desserts brought their first product to market! bizarrely it was a Shepherds Pie!
Soon realising that Shepherds Pies were not where their money was going to be made, they turned their attention to the sweet stuff and started creating their Traditional Chocolate Fudge Cake which is still their best seller today.
James O’Dwyer who founded Just Desserts trained as a chef and started the business with the help of a £40 a week enterprise allowance.
He says “In the beginning it was just me making cakes in our unit in Salt’s Mill, now we employ 20 staff across the business which includes our sales, bakery and delivery team.”
*Joining the club!*
Just Desserts became members of deliciouslyorkshire in 2007, initially because they wanted help with their marketing to enable the business to grow.
James says “We knew we could make jolly good cakes and tarts and sell plenty of them but we wanted some help raising our profile as a handmade bakery which is why we became members of deliciouslyorkshire.”
Just Desserts have entered the deliciouslyorkshire awards every year since they joined and have had several successes including winning the bakery category in 2010 and 2013 with their Raspberry Franzipan and Landlord Fruit Cake.
James adds “Gaining recognition for our products is so important and we always like to display the awards we have won in our brochures and on our website. We’re incredibly proud of our wins in the deliciouslyorkshire awards over the years and see it as great way to get feedback from industry experts on our latest products.”
The Just Desserts range has now expanded to include over 130 products the majority of which are delivered direct to their customers by their delivery team. The majority of their customers are in the food service industry seeing their products served in restaurants, cafes and delis across Yorkshire and beyond.
James says “Having our own delivery fleet and drivers is incredibly important to the business and our drivers are all fantastic ambassadors for the business. Our drivers are the face our business so it’s vital that they’re passionate about the company, provide an excellent service and know our product range inside and out.”
The Just Desserts delivery team take care of the majority of the company’s deliveries with 2 distributors, FDP Fine Foods of Chorley, and fellow deliciouslyorkshire member Crofter’s Foods taking care of their more far flung delivery locations.
One of the benefits of still making their entire range by hand is that Just Desserts have the flexibility to create bespoke products for their customers, including a Riggwelter Christmas Pudding created for Black Sheep Brewery last year.
Bespoke projects and innovation are something that the Just Desserts team are more than used to says James “Sometimes we’ll get requests from our customers or I’ll have a bright idea for a new product. I then take it to the bakery team who develop the recipe and refine the finished product. Working as a close knit team allows us to react quickly to requests and add new products to the range in just a matter of days.”
Over the years Just Desserts have supplied some big high street names such a Selfridges and most recently Waterstones’, Café W, which came as the result of a local sourcing enquiry from Waterstones to delicouslyorkshire.
Just Desserts also supplied Booths with a range of individual tarts for their 2013 Christmas Catalogue which included James’ personal favourite and DY award winner Raspberry Franzipan.