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Happy Birthday to Us!

It might not seem a very significant number, but we're 2 today. However, our story is much older than that...

My Story by Elodie

From a very young age, I have loved to cook. Then, about 3 years ago, an idea was born. I was in full time education and looking at my options for Year 13 studies. An EPQ (Extended Project Qualification) was something that caught my eye. This could be a project on pretty much anything I wanted, to teach me planning and time management skills. With a passion for food and a completed Chef Skills qualification already under my belt, it was an easy decision to focus on something food related!

Year 13 also brings other questions....what's next? Extended education wasn't something I wished to pursue. I also knew I needed to learn some skills for the workplace. How could I combine a food project with business?

In 2021 two things happened which really focused my ideas and helped to finalise my project.

  1. My grandma, who was terminally ill, passed away. She inspired me with her love of baking - it was therapy for her through lockdown and difficult times. Often when we visited, she would appear from the kitchen with a freshly baked cake. One day it was cookies - she mixed a big batch of dough, then divided it up into lots of flavours...then froze them to bake fresh whenever company arrived. Even her nurse was sent on her way with freshly baked cookies! An idea was born...

  2. Then we moved house. The exciting thing about this was The Annexe. It was separate to our home and had a fully fitted kitchen in great condition.

Now I had an idea and somewhere to work. It didn't take much more to come up with Willow & Finch. The skills I learnt from this project were vast! I made a website, I worked with Environmental Health, I created health and safety documents, I learnt to do marketing, I developed recipes - the list goes on!

So, 1st December 2021 I clicked twice. Once to launch my website and again to send my first marketing email to friends and family. I had a small range of freshly baked cookies available to send as gifts within the UK. The orders started trickling in and this continued throughout my last year at school. I worked evenings & weekends to fulfil orders and continued to document the progress of my project at school during the day!

By December 2022 Willow & Finch had grown and I started to offer corporate gifts to businesses. I developed a custom gift wrap option, which includes company logo and corporate colours with a personalised message.

In January 2023 I left school. What started as an EPQ project became my full-time employment!

In February 2023 I exhibited at The Source Tradeshow in Exeter and launched my products to trade customers. This was an exciting new move and a huge step, but also the best thing I've done to grow the business.

Fast forward to today...we're now a team of baking enthusiasts! In addition to the personal and corporate gifts, we also supply coffee shops, farm shops and other food outlets across the UK. We have invested in catering equipment and have a "micro but mighty" bakery churning out hundreds of gourmet cookies every day! We still bake everything fresh to order, made by hand in small batches - just not quite as small as we did at the start!

Cheers to 2024. We have a new staff member joining us in January and will be exhibiting at The Source Tradeshow on 6-7 February. Our stand is bigger than last year and our team are currently coming up with's looking promising! Make a note in your diary and come and visit - it's a great place to find new food and hospitality suppliers and it's free to visit.

As i write this, I still can't really believe my school project has come so far. Never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed where we'd be today. Thanks for reading my crazy story and here's to another great year in 2024!


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