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EP 3: BEHIND THE SHOWER CURTAIN WITH VICKY’S DONUTS

18 April 2017

Yes, after Easter something EGGS-TRAORDINARY happened and we became BORED of chocolate (who’d a thought it), so we decided to treat our sweet tooth with a doughy alternative at Vicky’s Donuts, a boutique bakery in Hackney, east London that specialises in raised donuts, hand-made using only the very best ingredients. This ain’t you average donut, Vicky has a quirky line-up of fun new twists on the classics, from blueberry cheesecake and the devilish Reese’s (peanut butter and chocolate) to an “exploding Smartie” flavour. Sounds super delish right?

We wanted to find out how Vicky set up her successful Donuterie and asked her to share the ultimate entrepreneurial advice for all those who are totes feelin’ inspired (and hungry) right now! #FEMALEBOSS

  1. 1. Donut-making-QUEEN! Tell us how you got started?

Oh haaaiiii! Well, I LOVE all kinds of baking and used to get up super early on my weekends off from my job at a food magazine to try and make something new. I even had blog to record everything I’d made – I’d post the recipes up and style everything up in pretty pictures. When I tried donuts for the first time, I fell in love with making them. They’re so much fun to do – they’re different to anything else and there’s a lot you can do with them. I had a pipe-dream to start selling them one day on the side of my job, so with the help of friends, got branding designed and setup my website and social media. The reaction was crazy – it seemed like noone else was really doing American-style donuts in lots of flavours and colourful designs. After just a few weeks, it got so busy, I decided to take the leap and make it my full time job and haven’t looked back since.

2. How do you balance baking and running a business?

I have two amazing staff that help in the kitchen with baking – I still do a lot of it but one of things about running a business is that there’s lots and lots of other stuff (like managing finances, developing new products, looking after PR, working on project management, dealing with sales and keeping up with emails) that needs to be looked after and only you can do it! I’ve been doing a lot of recipe testing recently and it’s been so much fun to spend more time in the kitchen. I always find though as soon as I focus on one thing, the other areas start suffering, so it kind of becomes a constant battle of plate spinning! The key though is to plan plan plan – get up early, work your bum off at work and try to stick to a (realistic) schedule without getting distracted! I have the attention span of a 2-year-old sometimes but I’ve taught myself to focus and it really helps to get shiz done.

  1. 3. What’s been the most EXCITING project you’ve worked on?

Oooooo so many to choose from!! I’ve had to sign NDAs for most so can’t talk about them which is super annoying!! Hehe. My fave donuts we’ve made for a project are the floral donuts we did for Betty Magazine. It was also so lovely work on too – we shot the pictures at Lily Vanilli’s pretty bakery on Columbia Road and there were lots of inspirational ladies there on the day that I embarrassingly fan-girled all over. My fave event we’ve been a part of was for a crazy-famous actor’s birthday party (damn NDA means I can’t give up names)! We got to go to the film studio they were working at and setup a donut stand and it was the most fun day ever!

  1. 4. Strangest decorating request?

I think the weirdest donuts we’ve done are boobie donuts that we made for the lovely charity CoppaFeel. They were vanilla iced with raspberry nipples, ooo la la.

  1. 5. What’s been your BIGGEST order, like, how many donut’s can someone possibly need?

Can there ever be too many donuts?! Our biggest order was for 600 – we worked like machines all day and cracked open the prosecco when we were done! It’s weird thinking back to how far it’s all come – I remember getting an order for 30 donuts when I first started out and thinking that was loads!

  1. 6. What’s the most stressful part of your job?

Trying to fit everything in – I’m a bit of an idealist and fail to admit myself that I’m constricted by what I can do. Sometimes I have weeks where everything seems to come in at once, but I don’t want to turn people away so say yes anyway and then at the end of it I’m like “WHYYYY DO I DO THIS TO MYSELF?”. TBH I’d just quite like to find a magic lamp and ask a genie for more hours in the day so that I can say yes to everything.

 7. What do you do to destress?

Catching up with friends is my fave de-stresser. Working for a small business means you don’t necessarily have a lot of contact with humans all the time so my friends save me! Plus if I’m ever home alone I’ll end up doing some kinda admin so getting tipsy somewhere fancy with my besties is the best way to detach myself from donut lyfe.

8. What advice would you give your 13 year old self?

Believe in yourself! I think every teenager at some point feels as though they’re not good enough – whether it’s the way they look, not getting good enough grades, not fitting in with everybody else. It’s only as you get older you realise there’s no such thing as being perfect and there’s no set way of doing things for everyone. It’s important to recognise the things that you’re good at and freakin’ well be proud of them! I spent a lot of my early twenties in jobs that I thought should be in but that actually I had no real desire to do. I think there’s so much pressure coming from all angles – parents, teachers, friends – it’s tricky to have the bravery to follow the path you might want to follow but are scared to. My advice is to just follow your gut and go for it! And if things don’t work out, who the hell cares? At least you gave it a shot.

9. Any tips and tricks to young women wanting to start their own business?

  • Find a gap in the market – it’s not as tricky as it sounds! It just takes time and research. My business has gone in a way I never really expected it to, not that that’s bad – it’s even better than I imagined! I’ve tried a lot of things and ended up sticking with the ones that I’m super proud of and that have worked well with our customers – they’re the most important factor in deciding which road to go down.
  • Be the best you can be, consistently – No one wants to buy a sub-standard product. Make it the best it can be and then when you think you have it, improve it again and make sure each time you produce it, it’s as good as the last.
  • Apply for funding – there’s so many schemes out there including a lot of grants which will help you get started. While money isn’t everything, it is important to have enough cash flow to keep yourself going. You’re going to have bills to pay and don’t want to find yourself in a position where you’re turning business down because you can’t afford the goods you need to produce it.
  1. 10. If you were going to be a donut, which flavour would you be?

A glittery hibiscus donut because it has all the flavour and is super pretty!

  1. 11. How many donuts can you eat in one sitting?

Oh man, more than I’d like to admit to on here! I once at 3 chocolate donuts in one go because I’d been working for hours and was starving – it was the most satisfying 30 seconds of my life. Yes you can judge me.

  1. 12. Lastly, if you were on Dinner Date, what 3 courses would you cook?

-Sea bass ceviche

-Beef shin ragu pappardelle

-Sticky toffee pudding

You can check Vicky’s social channels below

Facebook / Instagram/ Website

 

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