Wrapping up in my favourite scarf and cosy boots at far-too-early o’clock in the morning, jostling to find a parking space for my van, trading bits of gossip with other stall holders… The fruit and vegetable stalls selling plump, seasonal produce, flower stalls with blooms spilling on to the pavement, all hemmed in by buzzing bars and restaurants and the relentless throb of tourists.
10 years ago, from my stall on Portobello Road market I decided I was going to turn this trestle table- brimming with fruit marshmallows cut into their perfect squidgy cubes- into a proper business. A registered business…gulp.
When I was 18 and left school I moved to Paris with the dream of becoming a chocolatier. I spent 4 years there- working as a waitress (not so successfully) running a trendy fashion boutique (bit more successfully) and enrolled at the Ecolé Médéric to trained in Chocolaterie
I adored every early morning, burnt fingered, flour faced part of it.
Parisians will cross the city for their favourite treat- it’s that infectious desire to create something that was the best it could ever be that hooked me in. When I returned to London I wanted to experiment with confectionary for myself. In Paris, fruit marshmallows were a common sweet treat in patisseries and luxury food stores- but not in the UK. And that’s how The Marshmallowist started. From a rickety table on the edge of a street.
I now have my own bakery, a small team of Marshmallowists and each day we’re growing more than I could have ever imagined…and some days we’re not. But that’s ok. Just the normal ebb and flow. We’ve gone from mainly selling outdoors and selling almost everything online. But what I’ve come to know is to trust your instinct. It keeps you happier.
The perks of the job are unimaginable- I get to decide who I want to work with, how I want things to look, sound, taste. I also realised that I couldn’t do it all by myself so my sister, Jenny came to work with me and one of our first ever employees quickly became my best friend- she’s left us now but I was even a Bridesmaid at her wedding last summer.
Being able to do this together means that the downsides, the lack of money and lack of social life, aren’t ever quite so hard.
I love these marshmallows- they’ve brought me around the world, been served to celebrities, put me on TV and kept me awake at night.
Quality is still non negotiable. We will always turn down projects and commissions if we think they compromise the quality of what we do; we haven’t taken the supermarket contracts or the brand dilution. It’s also important to grow a team around you that care about the brand as much as you do.
I don’t know what the next 10 years have in store for us but I suspect they will be every bit as thrilling and sugar laced as the last.