Mum who makes cakes for Fortnum & Mason started cooking after losing her council job
After she was laid off at the council, Nila Holden, right, started to make her living from baking
Nila Holden’s hand-made biscuits are so popular they have graced the tables of the Japanese royal family, the Houses of Parliament and are being scoffed by gourmets in France.
The 40-year-old cook from Luton has taken just two years to go from hopeful amateur to successful businesswoman selling her wares all over the world.
It was always a dream to be able to make a living making cookies but I didn’t think it would happen so quickly
Demand for her personalised cookies is running so high, she and her team of four part-time helpers will have to move out of her home into bigger premises to keep up with the orders.
Mrs Holden revealed she only started baking when she was arranging her wedding and failed to find items she liked.
She shared the surplus with colleagues at the local council where she worked as a fundraising manager and soon requests for her cookies started rolling in.
After she got laid off, she took to her kitchen full time and started posting pictures of her culinary output online.
Nila Holden has a blog dedicated to her latest, meticulously designed baked goods
The Birthday day cupcake box was created as an original alternative to a traditional cake
When a buyer for Fortnum & Mason spotted photographs of the edible decorations complete with names or messages, they fired off an email and six weeks later, the buttery treats were being bought up by customers in London’s top grocer.
She said: “It was always a dream to be able to make a living making cookies but I didn’t think it would happen so quickly.
“I was as shocked as anyone to get the email from Fortnum & Mason. I had no idea how to even approach a buyer. They found me through social media. It all happened really quickly. It has been a huge learning curve.”
A party organiser working for the Japanese royal family saw her wares on the specialist handmade goods website Etsy and ordered a huge batch of individually named cookies for guests.
“I didn’t know it was for the royal family until afterwards when the buyer told me. In a way I’m glad I didn’t know because I would have been a lot more nervous making them.”
Mrs Holden said she hoped her experience as a kitchen table start up company would encourage others to take the leap.
“It has been a challenge but this shows that you can turn a hobby into a business and you don’t need to make huge investments,” she said.