Failed bake attempt leads to successful business idea for Surrey Alumni pair
As an entrepreneur, you’ll often be given the advice to start a business that you’re knowledgeable and passionate about. Ksenia Tkacheva and Tania Vynokurova, friends and Surrey Alumni, did just that when they identified a product by chance and a potential gap in the market.
The pair who met ten years ago while studying at Surrey Business School and the School of Hospitality and Tourism attempted to bake a healthy lemon tart recipe listed in a blog, it was when the bake ended in disaster that an idea for their business was born. Britain’s baking aisle has traditionally been dominated by artificial and preservative-laden products so Ksenia and Tania focussed their efforts on creating a healthier but still indulgent alternative.
In 2017, after experimenting in the comfort of their own kitchen, the Superfood Bakery brand was born, a British brand focused on ‘healthier indulgence’ with four unique baking mixes; all-natural, gluten and dairy-free. Following positive consumer feedback and interest from several retailers, the pair secured £250,000 from a group of Angel Investors to help grow their business, which up until then had been self-funded.
The brand has since achieved buy-in from retailers including Ocado, Asda, Whole Foods Market, Amazon, Selfridges Foodhall and independent stockists to name a few, and continues to grow from strength-to-strength.
We asked Ksenia and Tania to share some advice for future entrepreneurs:
1. Having a business idea is the easy part. Knowing how to execute it well is the main challenge.
2. Ask for advice but make your own judgement. Asking questions can save you a lot of time. People are happy to share their knowledge and expertise if you ask for it.
3. Having your own company it’s the best decision you’ll ever make. Just do it!
1. If you have an idea, don’t spend much time perfecting it. Launch the most basic version and test it with customers quickly;
2. Make sure you have a co-founder: you need someone to brainstorm with;
3. If it’s not going well - drop it and think of something else!