DessertCo baking up a storm from humble beginnings in the family kitchen
A Broughshane couple who started baking from their kitchen at home, have revealed the secret recipe for success, after growing their workforce to 11, with plans to expand to a second premises later this year.
Sean and Lauren Taylor registered their company, DessertCo, in 2019, and after experiencing the loss of Lauren’s mother and Sean’s redundancy from his sales management job, took the plunge to launch the firm in April 2020 by baking up a storm in the kitchen.
And in spite of the challenges and uncertainties of a global pandemic, DessertCo has flourished in the last 12 months, with the shop at Raceview Mill in the village opening in August 2020, and the demand for deliciousness causing the order book to fill to bursting.
The couple pride themselves on a mouth-watering range of high quality products, delectable desserts and delicious cakes for all occasions, and their passion and flair for creating something a little different for their customers has earned them a loyal fan base.
Sean credits hard work and long hours with the success of DessertCo to date, and encourages any business which needs that extra ingredient to move to the next step, to avail of the support available through Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.
Through engagement with the Council’s Business Client Manager, Ally McGarry, DessertCo was matched with a specialist mentor on the Business Escalator Plus Programme - whichis part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) Programme - and the company was able to quickly review their operations and business model to respond to the new working environment and get strategic plans in place to grow and develop.
“Ally McGarry reached out to us and explained that there were programmes out there to help and support me to progress the business. Being honest, I was very hesitant to commit to anything, as time was in short supply.
“However, through our conversations, Ally quickly identified what support would provide the most value to DessertCo.
“Ally assigned me a mentor, who got in touch the next week and we started our weekly Zoom meetings. The mentor was great and helped me develop and work through a strategic plan for DessertCo’s future.
“I was able to have candid conversations with the mentor, who was challenging but constructive; this helped me develop clear targets and goals moving forward. It is incredibly easy to get lost in the mountain of tasks, especially in a new business.
“The support allowed me to set aside time for strategic planning and growth. I would recommend a chat with one of the Council’s Business Client Managers and support on the programme. Take advantage of the help on offer. The team are top quality at what they do. If people want to grow their business, I would say go onto one of the programmes available through the Council.”
Business Client Managers are able to provide wrap around support by creating connections with other stakeholders and as such, connections were made for DessertCo with Stella Graham, Foodovation Manager at North West Regional College’s Foodovation Centre, who supported them to secure an Invest NI Innovation Voucher valued at £5k to assist them with further product development.
By using their innovation voucher, DessertCo were instantly on Innovate NI’s radar; Innovate NI is a Department for the Economy initiative which helps local businesses innovate successfully. It is delivered by Invest Northern Ireland, local councils and further education colleges.
Innovate NI recognised DessertCo as a bronze level innovator, issued the company with a recognition certificate and an “innovator stamp” and as an added bonus, they will continue to provide the company with resources and tools to help companies continue their innovation journey through to commercialisation and value creation.
All companies in Northern Ireland can visit innovateni.com to self-assess their innovation levels, and depending on which activities they have undertaken, they could also receive recognition.
The journey of Council support continues with DessertCo now availing of further assistance through the Business Escalator Plus Programme, helping to suitably prepare them to take on new staff as part of future expansion plans.
If you think a chat with one of Council’s Business Client Managers might help your business or you simply want to find out more about the help available make an enquiry now via:
www.midandeastantrim.gov.uk/EscalatorPlus Invest Northern Ireland works with individuals, companies and organisations in manufacturing and tradable services which show the ambition and commitment to grow by being more innovative, more entrepreneurial and more internationally focused.
Invest NI’s full range of support and services are delivered through local offices in Belfast, Coleraine, Ballymena, Craigavon, Londonderry, Newry, Enniskillen and Omagh, and an international office network.