Welcome to IR’s spring “A Day in the Life Of…” series. The first, fabulous entrepreneur that we’ll be spending a day in the life of is Lissy from Crumb’s the Word bakery.
You may remember Crumb’s the Word from the IR Christmas gift guide but if not, they operate a post-based cake business, which means they deliver cake through your letter box. Oh yes, cake waiting for you after a hard day’s slog. Wonderful!
Today we learn more about what it means to be a working mother who home-schools her children from Lissy, who runs the business with her husband, Simon.
Over to Lissy…
My day usually starts with one of the children waking me; they have a breakfast bar and access to the kitchen so if they get up early they can help themselves to food while I catch up on my sleep if we had a late night baking the night before.
Simon will pop downstairs and get my breakfast; my autism means I am a creature of habit and for the last few months it’s been gluten-free porridge in almond milk, sweetened with a couple of spoons of Sweet Freedom Choc Shot. By the time I’ve come downstairs Simon will have his clean baking kit and beard guard on and will have started measuring out the ingredients for the first batch of the day while I’ll catch up with social media and any messages.
Then I’ll spend a couple of hours with the children and their education, which could be anything from science experiments (a personal favourite) to project work on relevant subjects from the curriculum. I teach my daughter at the same level as my son which makes life easier since they’re both great at keeping up with each other. As they are taught 1-2-1 it takes less time to do a whole day’s school work so they can spend the rest of the time creatively at their various clubs or catching up with their friends.
I’ll then get suited up, (clean baking hat and apron, remove my watch) and go into the kitchen to start baking. It’s important that all of the cakes go out as perfect as possible, so I keep a close eye on the ingredients as I add them. Free-range eggs for example are approximately sized and too much egg in a mix can give the cake the wrong flavour. I’m a self-taught baker that has been independently baking since I was 6 so I know what I’m looking for in a bake and I taste test every batch to ensure the quality.
While the cakes are baking I usually double check the invoices and make up the postal and gift boxes, depending on the bakes going out. To pack our cakes we use a vegetable-based PLA plastic which is compostable, along with compostable greaseproof paper. We try to keep everything very easy to recycle and minimise anything ending up in landfill. At this point Simon will be checking we have enough of the stickers we use; he’s a graphic designer so we do most of our printing in-house and any changes can be made immediately, which is great for us!
At lunchtime we all have something different to eat as we’re all picky eaters, so Simon is in charge of lunches and we tend to eat them in various places in the house. I’m usually at my laptop catching up on work, checking the stock and ordering in anything that’s running low while I eat mine.
After lunch I have a scroll through the PR opportunities and check in with the PR group I’m in, to see if there is anything I should be bringing to the business meeting I’ll have with Simon at some point in the week and if I have a specific theme for an order coming up, I’ll set up a Pinterest board for inspiration.
When all the cakes are baked they are left to cool and we crack on with the next batch and so on until they are all done. Our orders can vary from a batch of Tuck Shop Treats, (so called because they remind me of the treats I used to buy in my school Tuck Shop at break time) to larger traybakes, cakes and my personal favourite, cupcakes.
Decorated cupcakes are more complex because I do all the sugar art by hand. I find it extremely therapeutic and really take pride in making sets of cupcakes completely identical. I will spend hours making sure each one is as perfect as possible from any angle. Even though I bake, decorate and deliver cupcakes same-day, I like to make sure I do my best work on them, so they usually do not get delivered until the afternoon or early evening.
“My personal favourite, cupcakes.”
Sometimes at this point we might take a few photos to pop on social media, to show everyone what they’re missing! After that all non-cupcake bakes are packaged and posted ASAP; 90% of our stock goes out on the same day so people receive their bakes as fresh as possible. Our cupcakes get delivered by Simon in his car, since they are for local orders only.
After the cakes have been packaged and posted, Simon gets on with cleaning everything up for the next day, unless we have a big set of orders. If we have a lot of work set for the next day we sometimes try to get ahead with Simon prepping everything the night before. If it’s a quieter night, Simon cleans the kitchen and packs everything away while I catch up with friends on social media. My friends have been amazingly supportive of the business, and they are always excited if we have new products coming out, but mainly I catch up on their lives and have a giggle or chat with them.
We usually have dinner together at the family dining table with a “no tech and toys rule”, so we can chat with each other. I don’t think there has ever been a dinner time where we haven’t ended up in fits of laughter. My son, aged 11, is a terrible giggler so once he’s off with his infectious laugh, then Simon starts the dad jokes which sets our daughter (aged 9) off. By the end we’re all either groaning at his jokes or laughing at something silly one of us has said. It’s definitely the highlight of my day and usually ends with someone saying their stomach hurts from laughing.
After dinner I usually settle down in front of the TV. I love documentaries but if I can’t find a good one, we’ll all watch a film or I’ll settle down to a murder mystery as I love them. Watching TV is important for me because it helps me to focus my mind on one thing and relax, otherwise I end up doing 70 things at once on the laptop and never switches off.
I usually pop off to bed between 10pm and midnight and quite often, when Simon comes up to bed, he’ll find me checking social media for the business again and then I drift off into a deep sleep until my little alarm clocks wake me for another day.
If you’d like to find out more about Crumb’s the Word, visit their website or check them out on social media: