Welcome to the first Heropreneurs 'Mentee Spotlight'! Over the coming months, we will be featuring some of the fabulous Mentees that we are supporting through our Mentoring Programme.
Today, to mark International Women’s Day, we have been working with a variety of strong, inspiring women, with truly empowering stories to share and, as part of this, we wanted to share Emma Randell’s business journey with you, as the opening post of our new blog.
Emma is the owner of ‘Scrumptious Bakes by Emma’, who provide luxury wedding and occasion bakes across much of the South and South East. We think you’ll agree that Emma’s story of the success she has achieved is really inspiring, and her creations are truly stunning. We are so proud to have worked to support Emma through our free Mentoring Programme.
1. Could you tell us a little about your background (including your military connection)? What made you decide to go into business?
I graduated from The University of Warwick in 2009 with a BA (Hons) in French with Italian Studies. After several years of living and working in Australia, New Zealand and London, using my languages in the corporate world, I returned to Warwick to study for my PGCE, and began working as a French and Italian teacher in 2013. My connection to the military is through my husband, Josh, a frontline RAF pilot.
In 2017, I sustained a life-changing injury to my pelvis and lumbar spine. I had little to no feeling or control from the waist down, and severe nerve, soft, tissue and muscle damage. After 15 months of learning to walk and load my body again with a flotation belt in a pool, I became strong enough to stand and bake again. Four generations of my family have been professional bakers and confectioners, and I have always found the creative processes very mindful, easily losing myself in kneading soft dough or gently scooping and folding macaron batter. Baking became a way for me to reconnect with my body, mind and soul.
Baking for family and friends initially gave me a sense of purpose; a clear, achievable goal and focus, which helped to relieve the trials of chronic pain and rehabilitation. It helped me to re-discover a sense of identity, to feel pride, to feel empowered. It rebuilt my self-confidence.
I found the concept of beginning my own business simultaneously exhilarating and challenging. Stimulating my mind was equally as important to my recovery as each physical step, and dreaming about my business, and how it would look and feel gave me hope and strength.
2. Tell us about your business?
My business, Scrumptious Bakes by Emma, designs and delivers irresistibly elegant wedding and occasion cakes, macaron towers, macarons, cupcakes and personalised cookies across Hampshire, Surrey, West Sussex, South West London, Wiltshire, Berkshire, the Cotswolds, Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Dorset and beyond.
Our contemporary classic aesthetic is imbued with subtle luxury and timeless style, and we are renowned for our exceptional ingredients, decadent touches and sustainable ethos.
Working in partnership with our clients, each of our creations is heartfelt and thoughtfully designed. We blend an understanding of their tastes and vision with our dedication to perfection and translate this into beautiful showpieces to make the most special of occasions even more memorable.
3. What stage of your business journey are you at?
Scrumptious Bakes is an established brand for luxury wedding and occasion bakes in Hampshire, Surrey and our surrounding counties. We are currently working on eco-friendly packaging solutions to enable us to post our macarons.
My ultimate aim is for my business to function as a social enterprise, providing training, employment support and guidance towards a positive future for those who would benefit most from within our military community.
4. What has been your biggest achievement so far?
I was delighted to be invited to feature in British Vogue’s ‘Match Made in Vogue’ luxury wedding campaign last autumn. Being a small part of such an iconic publication and seeing our work in print was a real ‘wow’ moment, especially as my business grew from such humble beginnings during one of the most challenging and vulnerable periods of my life.
We are proud winners of multiple awards, and each one means the world. Most recently, we were awarded Best Wedding Cake Designer for the South Central region at The 2021 Wedding Industry Awards, the industry pinnacle, and shortlisted as one of eight national finalists. We were also over the moon to receive the Ad Astra award, for achievement through adversity, at the inaugural Milspo (Military Spouses and Partners) Business Network Awards in December 2020.
5. How did you hear about Heropreneurs?
I first heard about Heropreneurs through Suzy Olivier, who won the 2018 Heropreneurs Military Partner in Business Award with her teething jewellery business, Mama & Belle.
Suzy’s achievements were a huge source of inspiration, and her subsequent business, Mothers of Enterprise (MoE), was a great support in the early days of Scrumptious Bakes. I feel very fortunate to be part of the MoE community and the Milspo business network and cannot emphasise how integral to the success of my business both have been.
Scrumptious Bakes would not have achieved all that it has so far without the support, advice and guidance of so many resilient, strong and talented women through both communities, who fully understand the challenges of entrepreneurship and military life. Their courage and talents are inspirational, and I am very proud to call many of them friends.
6. How has working with a Heropreneurs Mentor helped you in your business journey?
I have found working with my Heropreneurs mentor, Rachel Sestini of Sestini & Co., very empowering. Knowing that she is interested in my business, and supports the decisions that I make, has given me a huge amount of confidence and has been a source of great strength over the last year.
Rachel’s expertise, business acumen and success are very inspiring. I really enjoy learning from her, and hugely appreciate her time and her honesty and approachability. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to work with her so far, and look forward to all that the future will bring.
· Based at RAF Odiham, Hampshire
· Business branding: Hannah Hubbleday (military spouse)
· Business illustrations: Chloë Howill-Hunter (military spouse)
· Heropreneurs mentor: Rachel Sestini, Sestini & Co.