Name: Lucy Norwood
Company: Little Lucy’s Bakery
Position: Cake Maker & Decorator / Company Owner
They say that if you have a passion for what you do, you will never work a day in your life. However, they also say that success is 90 per cent perspiration and 10 per cent inspiration. Now, Lucy Norwood is not calling herself a success, but judging by the record of her fledgling bakery, those who taste her cupcakes might well do.
Lucy’s route into business was very straight forward. She had finished her first year in college training to be a chef and decided that she wanted to specialise in baking and turn her passion into a business.
She started by making cupcakes for friends and family and eventually started up a website and Facebook page to draw in new customers. Lucy had never run a business before and like many didn’t study the subject at school or college either.
Lucy said: “I just wanted to make cakes for people and make them happy by doing so. I never imagined it would turn into the business I have today.”
While she was getting her business off the ground she supplemented her income by working for a local taxi company answering their phones. To some this may seem like a possible diversion or distraction, but it is testament to Lucy’s attitude and entrepreneurial mindset that she recognised it as a positive and an opportunity for a learning experience.
She said: “I think this helped to grow my confidence as I saw that it was a relatively small company that was doing really well and I thought ‘well, maybe I can do it too’.”
Encouraged by her manager and the other staff at the taxi company, Lucy felt supported enough to develop her business to what it is now. Her full-time job. But it hasn’t stopped there. Her initial idea of making people happy with cakes and running a well-established, well-known business in the local area has become a reality, and now her ideas and dreams have become even bigger.
This sounds like a very successful journey for anyone and it becomes even more so when you consider that Lucy was just 17 when she started. An age that proved to be her first challenge. She didn’t have much money to purchase all the equipment that she needed and didn’t have much experience either. But she knew that she could cook, she knew that she could bake and she knew that she could decorate cakes well – the accounting and other things she was confident she could teach herself over time. And she has. In fact her business has grown to the extent where work space has become an issue and she is hoping to expand into a unit in the future.
So what role has Ignite had to play? Lucy says that she approached Ignite because she was lost on what to do next.
She said: “I didn’t know what my next step was or how to make my business bigger and stronger. Liz and Gen have helped me make my business more professional and given me so many valuable ideas.”
The relationship with Ignite has continued to this day and she still visits regularly for support and help. “After every time I go I feel inspired to achieve whatever goals we’ve set in the meeting,” Lucy said.
Displaying all the credentials of a successful businesswoman and being a finalist the last two years running in the Essex Business Awards, Lucy is well positioned to offer advice to others. While she admits that she has made mistakes she says that she wouldn’t change anything as they have helped her learn to become better.
Lucy said: “If I could give anyone advice about starting a business, it is to never give up. It’s not easy at first when you don’t have a client base and don’t have much experience. But you have to keep going and never give up, even when it feels like you want to, because eventually you start to gain confidence and your business starts to grow into something you’ve been dreaming of.”
It is this passion of hers that has sustained her through difficulties, but she is also quick to recognise that Ignite have been there to encourage when more perspiration is required:
“I would highly recommend the advice and support that Ignite provide because it is free – what have you got to lose? I was a bit hesitant at first and I was worried they were going to tell me I was doing it all wrong, but it was not like that at all. They offer invaluable advice and pick you up when you are feeling like it is all going wrong or not worth it anymore. They will help you in every way they can.”
Ignite has been there to support, guide and help focus the innate passion and energy she has and if her business continues to grow how it has done so far, Lucy may well retire from her successful bakery one day, feeling like she’s never worked a day in her life.
Lucy G Norwood