The Vanilla Pod Bakery Case Study


Pia had won a business competition at University where she was studying Marketing Communications, and was dreaming of a future working for herself.

She suffered from a long-term health condition diagnosed ten years earlier, which would have made full-time employment very difficult – even now she is running a successful business, she is forced to take breaks at least once each day to sleep and recover her energy, before going back to work.

As she had loved baking since childhood, and thought she had spotted a gap in the market locally, everything seemed to be falling into place when she set up Vanilla Pod Bakery as a home business specialising in bespoke cupcakes.

However, a typical student with associated debt, Pia found it impossible to raise bank finance, and her fledgling business nearly fell at the first hurdle.

Not daunted, she was determined not to fail, so applied for, and was granted, the Cheltenham Pride loan of £3,500 – a joint initiative between Fredericks and her local Borough Council - to buy transport for the business.

Vanilla Pod has proved highly successful, and Pia has since taken on a warehouse and catering unit in town, with some grant assistance from the council. She has installed a kitchen, taken on staff and expanded. She now services a wide range of clients, both domestic and Corporate for birthdays, lunches, weddings and other catering requirements, and tirelessly pops up at every local farmer’s market and food show, as well as working to explore new products including larger bespoke cakes. Pia has even been invited to Buckingham Palace by Royal Appointment, and was able to present HRH The Duke of York with a box of Vanilla Pod Bakery signature bites size cupcakes!

In her own words,

“Thanks to the ongoing support and mentoring from Fredericks, Vanilla Pod continues to provide fantastically tasting cakes, impeccable service and aims to meet everyone’s cake related needs!”

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Pia - The Vanilla Pod Bakery

Pia - The Vanilla Pod Bakery