Recently, the pair launched a national cake delivery service – taking their social enterprise to a whole new tier. I caught up with Shelley last month to learn more about Cake Club.
We have a customer who regularly comes up with schemes and things for us to make, do and sell. They are usually very silly things. This time we thought, “Actually, this is a really good idea!” so we went for it. We launched our Cake Club in August at the London Vegan Festival, and the first box went out on the 12th of September.
And how does it work?
It is just like a veggie box delivery, but for cake! Subscription boxes are all the rage at the moment – think Graze. People hop on our website to buy a trial month or subscribe for 6, 9 or 12 months. The first month was mostly trial boxes, but people are beginning to subscribe now. It costs £12 a month, including delivery to mainland UK. Customers can tell us their preferences – like if they hate fruit cake, have allergies, or want a gluten free cake – but each month’s cake is a surprise. We send four good sized portions each month… what we call the “Hastings Slice”.
You said it’s a surprise, but do you have any hints about what kinds of cakes subscribers can expect?
Well, we ultimately choose the cake but subscribers are encouraged to issue “Cake Challenges”, where they suggest a style or flavour of cake for us to make. If we accept a Cake Challenge we will give the challenger that month’s box for free. It is too early to have had any challenges through Cake Club yet, but challenges via our shop have included gluten free Eccles cakes, vegan lemon meringue pie and Pimms cake.
Where’s the furthest you’ve sent a cake? And has anyone subscribed who could’ve just walked down to the shop and bought one, because that sounds like something I’d do?
I think Manchester is the furthest our cakes have gone so far. We haven't had any orders we can hand deliver yet, but one customer has threatened to order when she moves from Hastings to St Leonards!
Finally, do you think there’s a need for more vegan food in this area? What’s your favourite vegan thing to do in Hastings?
There is always a need for more vegan food in Hastings as I am a colossal pig and am also vegan. There are loads of businesses who cater really well for us, in part I think because it's so common here. I think, my favourite thing to do on a Sunday is go to Foyles for a nice vegan pie and mash, then to the Jenny or Crown for a pint. There is almost always someone about to chat to, or a nice bit of music to listen to, before taking a little post-pint waddle home again.