This week we got to know two of our stallholders much better; The Epsom Bakehouse & Junkbox. The Epsom Bakehouse is a baker who runs fantastic online classes, so you can progress beyond lockdown banana bread, whilst Junkbox offers you comfy, ethical and independent clothing, whether you’re sitting around the house or heading off on a local adventure!
We chatted about their plans for this year, how they’ve adapted to lockdown, and why it’s so important to shop small wherever you can. Let’s find out more…
Pedddle: Tell us a little more about your business…
The Epsom Bakehouse: The Epsom Bakehouse offers relaxed online classes, so you can learn how to make delicious, fresh bread at home.
From soft ciabatta to crusty baguettes and delicious cinnamon buns, there are so many options to choose from. All classes assume no prior experience and there’ll be plenty of time to ask questions if you attend live. You’ll also receive detailed notes and recipes to use at home afterwards.
Following the class you’ll receive a recording of the key steps to creating the bread you learn in your class. My classes are 5* rated on Google reviews, and Gift Vouchers are available for all classes – the perfect gift for the keen baker in your life or a weekend treat for yourself!
Junkbox: We create clothing which encompasses the things we love most about the world and celebrates the sports that allow us to ‘Go Outside’. Each collection gives you a perfect capsule wardrobe of the highest quality mix and match garments, fit for all your boarding, surfing, beach and hiking adventures. Our clothing is handmade and designed in Chester, and we make it as ethical and sustainable as possible.
Pedddle: What’s new for you in 2021?
The Epsom Bakehouse: You can learn to bake a delicious treat at home on one of my online cinnamon bun baking classes, which has been a popular choice especially during this recent lockdown. You can join the class and be guided step-by-step through the recipe whilst on the call. You receive a detailed recipe to use, plus a recording of the key steps to help you bake them again at home if you wish. You can find out more here.
You can also join me in March to learn to bake your own hot cross buns, a wonderful traditional bake for Spring and Easter. New dates have just been added and you can find out more by clicking here.
The Explorers brings you a cosier collection of mix & match; with shearling lined hoodie jackets and chunky organic sweats, these pieces will keep you nice and toasty. As always, they’re designed for easy layering with our unpredictable weather.
Pulling our palette together from the icy blue mountains and fiery sunsets to the mixed green foliage of the forest, this collection transitions through the seasons perfectly.
We’re excited that this is our first completely sustainable collection, with every product being made from organic, recycled or regenerated materials.
Pedddle: How have you adapted your business during the pandemic?
The Epsom Bakehouse: I’ve taught people to bake great bread for seven years now, all previously through in-person classes. Last March, due to the pandemic, I adapted my classes and took them online. You can now join me to learn to bake various breads including baguettes, cinnamon buns, ciabatta, brioche and hot cross buns. Beginner bread bakers are welcome, as well as those looking to extend their skills.
Classes are so relaxed and fun – you could even join one with a friend and bake along online together. It’s a great way to spend time together, have fun and learn something too.
I also started a membership club for home bread bakers who would like to learn more. We bake a different bread each month and I demonstrate different bread making techniques.
Junkbox: It’s really strange how the pandemic has affected both myself as a person and the business. In some ways it’s been incredibly tough; I’m such a people person and really enjoy selling and meeting customers face to face, particularly at festivals. On the other hand it has given me a lot of time for reflection and re-evaluating where I see the business going forward.
Honestly, over the last year I’ve pulled so many 180’s I’m amazed I still have my head together (at least I think I still have!).
The lack of travelling has been a strain for sure! My favourite thing about taking regular trips is planning out capsule wardrobes for each one, which is pretty much how Junkbox was born. Much as long distance travel was completely off the cards last year, we’re lucky enough to live near Llangollen in North Wales, so used some of our time between lockdowns to explore our home a little more. It’s also given plenty of time to plan The Explorers collection!
Pedddle: With three lockdowns over the last year, it’s been difficult to sell at in-person markets. Virtual markets are popular, but it can still be hard to stand out and make sales. What is your top tip for selling at a market?
The Epsom Bakehouse: I originally started my business selling my handmade breads at local markets and I absolutely loved having a stall. My top tip for in-person selling would be to chat to people – even if it means standing a little in front of your stall and making casual conversation. It’s a great way to get to know people, get feedback on products and suggestions for what people would like.
Online, I try to provide information that will answer common questions about my classes. It helps people decide whether they’d like to find out more and invites them in.
Junkbox: For me personally, it’s not trying to actively sell. I’ve never been a fan of the hard sell; coming from a retail background and working to tough sales targets has taught me that. I think engaging with your customer, whether they have the intention of buying or not, is hugely important. Show people faith in your product AND your customer service and they will have much more confidence in buying and remembering you.
It’s the same for online selling too – don’t bombard with sales, but try and engage in conversation, whether that’s through IG Lives or similar.
Pedddle: Which of your products are ideal to send to people you miss during lockdown, or have as a treat to yourself?
The Epsom Bakehouse: I have gift vouchers available for all my online classes. It could be a great treat for the budding baker in your life, or you could both book on and do the class together online – and perhaps share photos of your bakes afterwards!
I also offer private bread baking classes, perfect perhaps for an online birthday celebration or virtual get together for friends or a celebration.
Junkbox: I think the unanimous lockdown uniform of a hoodie is the most appropriate for a treat to yourself. I’m literally living in them right now! Our organic ones are super comfy and would make a great present too.
For a gift to someone else, a bobble hat is always a good choice! Wrapping up for our daily exercise is the most fun we get right now I guess, and we have lots of colours to choose from so there’s one for everyone!
Pedddle: In your opinion, why is it so important to focus on shopping small, independent and local?
The Epsom Bakehouse: Often, it’s just one person or a very small team that runs the business, meaning you get a personal connection and very often exceptional customer service. Such businesses will be passionate about their product or service and excited for you to share in it. I’m certainly very grateful for all the support my business has received – both locally and from those buying from me online.
Junkbox: Shopping indie is, and always has been, hugely important. You usually find that small independent businesses are born out of passion and that really does stand for a lot. Knowing that the products are so carefully curated and crafted with a huge amount of thought in every tiny detail; from the materials used and how the product is made to the packaging and presentation.