What does it take to grow to an award-winning bakery—all on your own? We sat down with English baker Liz Wilson of Ma Baker, who tells exactly what it took to make a killing selling bread on her online shop with ease. And yup, she does all this on her own, and she shares how you can do it too.
Read on to discover the beginnings of Liz’s transformation into professional baker and now bread baking teacher, all through her homegrown business Ma Baker.
Selling bread was only the beginning
Every business has a beginning, and Liz’s started in 2014. She shares, “Newly divorced, I took a bread class. It was my lifesaver. Bread just made me feel better. I took more classes; I volunteered in bakeries and baked and baked.”
Deciding to sell her break in her community didn’t happen overnight—not by a long shot. Liz tells us, “I didn’t sell my first loaf for two years, as I wanted to get the offering just right. It seems to have worked.”
And work it did, as Liz eventually grew a cult following in her local community for her delicious bread. She kept at her craft, perfected her recipes, and now, her bakery is a beloved pillar in the community.
Today, Ma Baker is an award-winning micro bakery and bread school that Liz recently relocated from London to the beautiful village of Overton on Dee in North Wales.
Since she started the business a few years ago, she tells us, “This business has been the biggest and most wonderful surprise of my life. It has grown through my absolute passion for real bread and the meditative slow process of making it. I love what I do and so it seems, do my customers.”
Rising beyond home baker
The growth of her business, together with how she’s been such a strong icon in her town, has allowed her to branch out from just baking—today, Ma Baker’s new space in Wales will give her not just a bigger space to keep baking bread from within her home, but also teach other aspiring micro-bakers to do the same.
She has some exciting plans after the move: she envisions that the space won’t just be hers, but for other entrepreneurs who also want to use the space to teach, run supper clubs, host community events and meet-ups, or for anything the local food scene may need it for.
While Liz started out like most small business owners, baking from her home and selling her goods, she’s made a name for being one of the most well-loved bakers in town.
Eventually, Ma Baker went on to win numerous awards, including gold at the World Bread Awards, the 2020 Bread Hero Award (as voted by her own customers!), and the coveted 3 stars at the Great Taste Awards. She has over 500 5-star reviews and consistently books her teaching and baking services out for months at a time.
Of course, this kind of local growth as a solo baker and business owner meant Liz had to get more organized and make it easier for her bakery to take orders from her community.
So she knew she had to take her business online.
The key elements to growth are the quality of the breads and the teaching I provide, along with superb customer service. People love the bread because it tastes fantastic, and they love the classes, because they are small, hands on, fun and all in a home kitchen.
“If the ordering was not easy, I would definitely lose customers”
As Liz saw the need to move her business online, one obvious need that arose was how to actually manage her orders. Prior to considering an online shop, Liz was taking online orders via email.
However, this was a very tedious process that involved long email threads as well as countless hours updating spreadsheets, compiling monthly invoices, and communicating with customers in between.
After trying to have a custom ecommerce website built by an agency using Shopify, Liz then found this too complicated as it required a lot of work and upkeep. Eventually, she signed up for Cococart—and immediately fell in love.
“I have so much more free time now because Cococart makes everything so easy,” Liz of Ma Baker shares. “I can pull up total orders and then input the data into my system for creating quantities of ingredients. I can easily access all my customers' details, and there is no manual invoicing. I’m a big fan!”
And it’s not just Liz herself who’s completely in love with Cococart.
“On the other hand, I have had a number of customers who have told me how easy it is to use Cococart,” she proudly tells us. “They like the simplicity of it and also like that they are 'remembered' when they come to make a repeat order. If the ordering was not easy, I would definitely lose customers.”
Had it not been for her switch, Liz might still find herself spending too much time sending manual invoices, communicating with customers about their order preferences, and managing and updating long spreadsheets.
But today, with all the time she’s saved, Liz of Ma Baker can devote her time to baking thousands of loaves of bread a year—her bakery is pretty popular for its Porridge Bread and Double Chocolate Babka!—as well as teaching dozens of aspiring bakers to do the same.
From selling bread online to paying it forward
With the success of the shop, Ma Baker has gone beyond simply online baker. It is now a full-fledged community around Liz’s area. She not only spends most of her time baking (and sells out for months at a time!), but she also takes the time to train others to set up their own micro bakeries around the country.
She’s already taught over 50 people who are now making and delivering their own bread to their communities.
If you’re inspired by how Ma Baker has grown from a one-woman team selling bread online to a teacher helping dozens others to do the same, then one of the biggest things you need for your business is to cut the manual order management that can suck precious hours from your week.
Ready to save 20+ hours on taking orders for your store? Sign up today with Cococart—it’ll take you only minutes to get started.
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