Lottie’s Bakehouse - gluten-free treats made in Cheshire
- Credit: Archant
Meet the Knutsford mum whose daughter inspired her gluten-free bakery business
When Marianne Evans’ daughter Lottie couldn’t enjoy the treats many other almost two-year-olds did, she dug out her apron. The then strategic project manager at AstraZeneca hadn’t really baked before. But when Lottie was diagnosed coeliac, Marianne was determined to do something about it.
‘It was a bit rubbish, especially for an almost two-year-old,’ said Marianne, who lives in Knutsford with husband, Jonathan and daughters Maisie, 11, and Lottie, now nine. ‘We soon got our heads around it because my mum is coeliac but it was awful having to deny her treats that her friends enjoyed.
‘When she was diagnosed in 2000 gluten-free products weren’t around that much. But making the change, changed everything. Lottie went from being a tiny dot who was failing to thrive to growing 20 centimetres in 12 months.’
Marianne spent many days perfecting her recipes and as more people tasted her tray bakes, biscuits and cinnamon rolls, the more her confidence grew. When AstraZeneca relocated from Alderley Park, it gave her the impetus to launch the business. It started as Mummy Bakes and then rebranded to Lottie’s Bakehouse.
‘The redundancy was the thing I needed to make the leap,’ said Marianne, who bakes at the aptly named Cape of Good Hope Laboratories in Plumley. ‘I started off doing birthday cakes but I wasn’t that into sugarcraft.
‘But then I started making other gluten-free treats and people loved them. I did gluten-free party rings recently that people loved. As time went on I thought it could be a great business and decided to go for retail.’
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It didn’t take long for success to come along. Her products were shortlisted in the Free From Awards which put her on the radar of luxury food retailer Fortnum & Mason - they ended up being her first customer.
‘They came to me, I really thought it was a prank,’ recalled Marianne. ‘I’d sent samples but I didn’t think anything would come of it. But they took us on. Within and hour and a half of finding out I cracked open a bottle of champagne with my other half.
‘I soon realised I needed to move out of baking at home and get premises.’
Today, Marianne bakes a whole host of delicious treats from cinnamon rolls and millionaire’s shortbread to fiery ginger biscuits and salted caramel brownie tray bakes, one of her bestsellers. She supplies several Cheshire retailers including The Lambing Shed in Knutsford and Cheerbrook Farm Shop in Willaston as well as online orders. She is also in talks with a top Manchester hotel. The 43-year-old now has big expansion plans and wants to start supplying across the UK and further afield.‘I want to look at employing other people and launching different products and really push. I would love Lottie’s Bakehouse to be available across the UK and elsewhere. Lottie thinks having the business named after her is funny. She tells everyone it is her business. And that’s great. I love what I’m doing and just want to concentrate on making it grow.’