30th November 2022
Former student Claire visited our A-level Business Studies students last week to share how she is now a 50% shareholder of a booming Bristol business. We love hearing about what our alumni are up to, so when we visited Little Kitchen earlier this year and found out Claire was a former student we asked her to visit our students on campus to share her entrepreneurial expertise!
Little Kitchen is a unique cookery school which provides a well-equipped cooking environment that houses a range of affordable workshops and courses for adults and children. Little Kitchen first opened its doors 9 years ago and has since built a reputation for developing people’s baking skills, teaching attendees how to cook delicious meals and for adding extra inspiration to classic recipes! Due to popularity, Little Kitchen has now relocated to Totterdown where the larger premises can now facilitate more workshops and larger groups in each class.
At St Brendan's
During her time at St Brendan’s, Claire studied Art and Textiles in order to pursue a career as a costume designer, however after she completed her degree at Nottingham University she soon learnt the world of fashion was not for her. Claire then went on to open up a food truck with her brother which sparked Claire’s passion for food! The food truck was situated in business parks and they ran it successfully for several years.
A new venture
Claire explained to our students how it took her and her business partner roughly 6-7 months throughout 2014 to turn their idea of a fun and unique cookery school into a reality. Students asked Claire a range of questions to fully gain an understanding of the process of setting up a business and the hurdles she and her business partner may have faced especially during COVID-19. Here are just a handful of the questions our students asked:
Do you need loads of your own money to set up a business?
“No, coming from a low-income background we had to rely on bank loans and loan companies and I can proudly say that it was a massive gamble that has paid off.”
What would you say is the key to having a successful business?
“Your personality, just being a kind and genuine person! People are more likely to use your service again and to recommend your business to family and friends.”
What one piece of advice would you give people who want to set up a business?
“Always follow your passion and build a business around that. Your business will do very well if you are passionate about it and persistent.”
Would you change anything about your journey?
“No, as the mistakes and paths I took led us to Little Kitchen and where it is at today.”
What are the biggest hurdles you have overcome?
"The biggest hurdle was probably COVID-19 as it wasn’t just about me and my business partner Madeline, it was about supporting our employees, ensuring they felt supported and had job security. Another hurdle Madeline and I came across when we first started out was that as two young women in business, we weren’t always taken seriously, which is crazy to think that stigma is still around!"
We'd like to thank Claire for coming in and for giving our students such valuable insight into the business world. We hope to visit Little Kitchen soon to check out the new premises!