I started my company after realising I couldn’t go any further in my job at Rose Bakery in Dover Street Market. I really wanted to bake for a living, but work for myself so I set up a market stall in Sunday UpMarket on Brick Lane, baking from home and offering my baking services for parties and weddings. This operation slowly grew over the years and now my partner Sam and I employ 13 people, have a big bakery in Wandsworth and a shop with a small bakery on-site in the heart of Soho. We’ve done this with no outside investment! Just a lot of hard work, late nights and team-work.
Thankfully a lot shorter than it used to be when I started the company! Back in the day I could expect to wake up at 5am and work pretty much solidly until past midnight. These days I start with breakfast and a dog walk with my Manchester Terrier, Curtis. Then I either go to the shop for meetings, catch up with my team, help out in the shop and meet fans who have come to visit from all over the world and once the kitchen is free, do a bit of tinkering around with recipes for my channel. We film here as well once a week so I do all of the prep for that the day before so I am ready to roll! A couple of days a week I go to HQ to do all of the boring stuff like the VAT return and paying bills, but it’s a really good chance to catch up with the office gang and the other members of the baking team who don’t cross over to the shop. I love seeing what they’re getting up to. I walked in the other day and there were 60 tiny Minions and 4 huge rainbow cake Minions, all with completely different expressions and hand gestures, staring at me from the work bench! I’ve got a very talented team. And other days, I work from home, testing recipes and sometimes even filming videos. This is great as it means I get to hang out with Curtis more. The day always ends with a really long walk with him.
I would love it if it said “She never took herself too seriously, was always ready to help others, always looked chic and died surrounded by fluffy puppies”, though I suspect it will be more like “Jemma, did really well, despite her tendency to procrastinate, looked pretty good despite being covered in mud a lot of the time and swore too much!”
I would have to say my dog, Curtis. I have always loved dogs but until getting him as a puppy over two years ago, I never thought it was possible to love a thing so intensely. I sometimes worry that if I ever have children I might not love them as much as I love Curtis! He brings me so much joy and amusement every day.
I feel most happy when I feel physically free, free to be myself and free of self-doubt so I would say that I am at my happiest when I am walking Curtis on Hampstead Heath or surrounded by my friends or doing karaoke or all of the above!
A few weeks ago. I lied to my business partner, Sam, about doing something he’s asked me to do for work. I hadn’t done it and I got the fear like when I hadn’t done my homework at school (which was every day) and I told him I’d done it. I suck at lying though and it filled me with such guilt that within 15 minutes I’d fessed up and apologised for lying!
I wish I had the patience and dedication to learn another language. I wish I could speak French and Spanish in particular, but I’m too lazy!
My effortless style (one day!)
Being surrounded my people who love me unconditionally, laughing hysterically and eating good food.
Moths! I have some very nice clothes!
My tendency to procrastinate and doubt my ability to do things well.
Whining (especially when sick), a lack of initiative and always expecting someone else to fix everything, arrogance (though a small amount is useful) and a limp handshake!
I would have to say my good friend Petra Barran. She is one of the most inspiring people I know. She has a thirst for knowledge and travel and an interest in people and society which puts us all to shame. She is a fearless warrior woman!
Clothes, definitely! I used to work at Dover Street Market where I acquired a love of Comme des Garçons clothes and really developed my style. Now I am truly happy when I’m returning home from a shopping trip there or at Liberty, throwing off the small amount of guilt I feel after spending so much money and rolling around in all my new clothes! I’m currently really into a new brand at Liberty called Edit. They make clothes with really interesting shapes and lines, much like Rei Kawakubo. I’m not that bothered about looking sexy in clothes but I love to make people wonder about them.
A mixture of excited, content and frustrated! For various reasons!
I think most virtues are pretty useful but if you asked me what the most underrated one was it would definitely be good manners!
I think Petra Barran (owner of KERB) should feature for all the aforementioned reasons.
I’m going to be on the Today Show in the US on March 9th, which also happens to be my birthday. It feels like a really big deal, going over there to be on one of the biggest daytime shows in the country! But in the mean time, just subscribe to my channel and come and see me in the shop.