Armed with a knack for baking and
a mascot in the form of her pet Jack
Russell, Rebecca Scarlett Hedley gave
up life as a lawyer to start Scarlett & the
Spotty Dog Cakery in 2010. Within
months, delis were selling out of the
old-fashioned goodies she’d baked in her
family’s Northumberland farmhouse.
1 Be true to yourself
I was 26 when I started my biscuit
business. It took nerve to concede
that after years spent qualifying, law
wasn’t the creative role I craved. If I’d
listened to doubters telling me the market
was saturated, I would have lost faith. But
I knew my brownies and flapjacks would
stand out because I used free-range eggs
from my hens and best-quality chocolate,
and wrapped my biccies with scarlet
ribbons and spotty-dog stickers.
2 Accept all offers of help
My family was fantastic. My
parents suggested I move home
and run the business from their country
farmhouse – I earned my keep helping
with DIY. My brother, an accountant,
offered gratefully received advice.
3Set achievable targets
I stuck to small goals – the first
was persuading my favourite local
café to sell my biscuits. Bit by bit, word
spread and the Spotty Dog made its way
onto deli shelves across Northumberland.
The ultimate dream is to open my own
shop – in the meantime I’m slowly
working my way further south.
4 Get online
The internet is a tremendous tool.
The biscuits are sold in cafés as a
direct result of contacts made on Twitter,
and two of my biggest stockists – loveyour
larder.com and notonthehighstreet.com
– are online retailers. I only wish I’d had
the confidence to approach them sooner.
5 Get the right kit
I struggled to meet demand with
my little Kenwood mixer but with
support from a brilliant small regional
business fund I’ve been able to invest in
an industrial-sized one. Everything else is
the same – me, my ethics and my dog
– except that these days, the baking sheets
are bigger and the order book a bit fatter
Olive Magazine October 2011