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Thursday, 13 April 2017
Launched in 2007, heavenly Biscuiteers is a brand we’re completely obsessed with. Hand-iced biscuits in lipstick form? Yes, please. Their creativity is endless and the woman behind the award-winning company is very inspiring, also launching the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. With 100,000 customers in 98 countries, we caught up with Harriet Hastings to chat work-life balance, productive mornings and of course, sweet treats…
How did the Biscuiteers story begin? We founded the company nearly 10 years ago. I had just left a full time job as director of consumer brands at a PR agency and was keen to start my own business. We thought there was a great opportunity in food gifting – my husband runs a catering and events company (Lettice Party) so food was an obvious direction for us. We started designing and recipe testing in early 2007 and camped out in Stevie’s catering kitchens, but had to move pretty quickly as the orders came flooding in!
Who inspires you? I find inspiration in a wide range of places – contemporary design, exhibitions and books. I am a big reader of contemporary fiction and am also MD of the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. I particularly admire Rose Tremain, William Boyd and Chimananda Ngozi Adichie, among many others!
Your biggest business challenge? Scaling our production is a big focus for us as every single Biscuiteers biscuit is hand iced by one of our team of artists in London. At Christmas we dispatched over 1600 orders in a single day, that’s over 12,000 biscuits.
A pro tip for easy icing at home… Don’t start icing your biscuits until they are totally cool, otherwise the icing will slide off! Our book ‘The Biscuiteers book of iced biscuits’ or our blog are both great places to start when learning the basics.
Is work-life balance important to you? Absolutely, although I’m not sure I get it right! Essentially, I work whenever and wherever I can, and technology has made that alarmingly possible. It would be nice to be able to separate work and home life a bit more but I find the two become inextricably connected. It’s the only way to get it all done. It doesn’t help if you work with your husband! On the positive side, I wanted more flexibility about where and when I worked when I set up the business and I have achieved that.
Can't live without... My family. I have four children and they were a big part of the reason why I left my previous career and decided to start my own brand.
What’s your morning ritual for a productive day ahead? If I can I like to start the day with some exercise – I try to bike to work most days and twice a week I do a proper exercise session before I come to work. It definitely fires me up for the day ahead!
Most stylish city? London, definitely. I have lived here all my adult life and love the theatre, the exhibitions, the restaurants, and the parks - all of it really. It’s exciting, diverse and often unexpected.
Your perfect weekend includes… Going to our home in North Suffolk. It’s the perfect place for riding, walking, eating good food and spending time with family and friends. It’s also very quiet, which is a tonic after a hectic week at work.
Dream holiday destination? I am craving a trip to South America – it looks so exciting, colourful and inspiring – maybe next year.
A tip for aspiring entrepreneurs? Have a very clear idea of who might buy your products and why. I thought quite hard about how I wanted to communicate my business idea before I launched Biscuiteers. I think it also helps if you are clear about the scale of your ambition when you start – you can plan the journey better.
Visit Biscuiteers.com for details on adult icing classes and café locations