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The first Welsh cake maker launches its first retail store

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Welsh family business opens store on Llandaff High Street in Cardiff

Leading manufacturer of bespoke cakes and pastries, La Crème Patisserie, has weathered the pandemic trend by opening its very first dedicated retail store. The family-owned business, which has manufacturing facilities in Neath and Cwmbran, has signed a 10-year lease on 1,200 square feet of premises at 24-26 Llandaff High Street in Cardiff. The store will allow customers to purchase a wide range of premium take-out cakes, desserts and pastries.

La Crème Patisserie was founded in 2005 by husband and wife team Sian and Ian Hindle. General Manager and Pastry Chef Sian previously worked in new product development for Tescos and always dreamed of running her own business.

With her husband Ian as CFO and three of the couple’s children in key operational roles, the company initially supplied large commercial clients such as The Celtic Manor, Hampton Court Palace and Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.

The company has grown stronger, expanding to employ 18 people at two production facilities in Baglan and Cwmbran before the COVID-19 pandemic struck. As many of the company’s biggest customers were in the hospitality industry, the company faced an overnight dry-up in orders and revenue. Sian and Ian made the quick decision to pivot their business model, bringing their high-end pastry directly to consumers for the first time. Customers responded to this opportunity to purchase treats typically only available at luxury hotels and events by the thousands, first by word of mouth and then through a dedicated e-commerce site. Sian Hindle says it was this overwhelming response that gave the company the confidence to enter the retail market for the first time:

“After 15 years of hard work to make our family business the UK’s leading manufacturer of high-end bespoke baked goods, the pandemic could have been devastating for us. We knew we had to act quickly to survive, and it made sense to allow customers to buy directly from us for the first time. What we weren’t expecting was how amazing the response would be. Initially, we opened up our manufacturing facilities so that the public could pick up orders from us, and the demand for this led us to launch an e-commerce site to sell tea boxes and other goodies.

“The demand for online orders quickly skyrocketed, which allowed us to protect our income and many jobs. After building a new business model from scratch in a matter of weeks, we didn’t want to let go. Opening a retail store seemed like the obvious next step, and we hope our new premises in Llandaff will be the first in a long series.

La Crème Patisserie was assisted by the Business Wales Accelerated Growth Program (AGP), which offers targeted support to ambitious growing companies. The program is partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh government. This support has been “invaluable” in meeting the challenges and opportunities presented by the pandemic, according to Sian Hindle:

“The Accelerated Growth Program supported us with marketing, branding, grant funding, e-commerce and branding visuals for the new store. This highly targeted support has contributed to the success of our new economic model. We are extremely grateful for the help and guidance we received during this critical time. We currently employ 22 people at our sites and aim to recruit ten more team members by the end of the year.

Richard Morris of the Excelerator consortium, which implements Business Wales’ accelerated growth program, said:

“It’s fantastic to see La Crème Patisserie, a true Welsh success story, opening its first retail store. The company has pivoted its business model remarkably well during the pandemic. We all know the proof is in the pudding and in this case we can all enjoy the experience of their high quality product. Sian and Ian have a fantastic multi-channel business and are taking an ambitious step down our main streets.

“Like so many other companies, they faced a crisis in early 2020 and took on this challenge with incredible vision, courage and hard work. I have no doubts that they will continue to enjoy the sweet taste of success with their first retail business, and we look forward to supporting the company as it expands its retail operations over the coming months.