LOSING your job can be a blow to your confidence, not to mention your wallet – but for Ian Moore, it turned into an opportunity to become the owner of a sweet business of his own.
The 53-year-old dad joined PlumDuff bakery in 1989 as a junior chef, before taking over the reins in 2004. Today the firm has a turnover of £180,000 a year.
The chef, from Manchester, told The Sun: “I could already see the potential it had 15 years ago. I wanted to take that forward and make my own mark.”
“Owning my own business has opened so many opportunities for me.
“I personally deal with all our customers and get to meet lots of different people. It’s very rewarding.”
But the road to success was not a piece of cake for Ian.
He had been working as a junior pastry chef for four years with the world famous Chef Anton Mossiman at the Dorchester hotel in London when it closed for refurbishment and he was made redundant.
He told the Sun Online: “I had a great time there. It had its challenges but I learned something new each day.
“It was the best training a man could ask for. We had a redundancy package but of course it was a blow to all of us when it closed. I would have happily stayed there longer.”
Ian went off to work for a restaurant in posh department store Harrods – but he resigned after just six months in the job.
He said: “I didn’t have a great time there. Many of the older employees were hoping for a promotion and I was brought in instead. Obviously, I didn’t feel very welcome.”
Things worked out for the best when he joined the established but smaller PlumDuff Bakery in Chiswick.
He took over the company in 2004 with the help of a business loan from HSBC that he just finished off paying last May – and he has never looked back.
How to get a start-up business loan
IF you need financial support in setting up your business, you can get loans of up to £25,000 to help along the way.
- Virgin StartUP offers government-backed loans from £500 to £25,000 to help entrepreneurs launching or growing a business that’s under two-years-old in England or Scotland. It has a rate of 6 per cent interest.
- The Start-Up Loans Company, which lends government subsidised loans up to £25,000 at a rate of 6 per cent.
- The Princes Trust also offers loans, up to £5,000, at a rate of 6.2 per cent.
The bakers was already successful but the passionate chef says turnover has increased by 15 per cent to £180,000 since he took over.
Ian bought the property next door, so what used to be a simple shop and patisserie is now also a cafe with 38 seats that serves breakfast and hot lunches in winter time.
He prides himself on being one of the last local shops in west London to bake everything on-site.
Ian said: “My customers see me baking the bread and producing it during the day.
“I have kids standing in queues and they’ll gather around me and watch me preparing it.”
PlumDuff does sandwiches, croissant, danish pastries, hot pies and cakes.
A loaf of bread would cost you between £1.30 to £2.60, while a croissant would set you back 80p – so it’s fairly good value for a light lunch or breakfast.
Ian can also personally design your wedding cake for you by giving you a sketched drawing of the design – but bear in mind that prices start at £300 for a three tier.
PlumDuff had been a cash-only business since it opened its doors in 1989. But Ian took it to 21st century by embracing digital payments in January and it now represents a third of its takings.
He now uses the mobile-connected Square Reader to take credit and debit card payments.
The chef said: “I was skeptical but I took the plunge. People simply don’t carry more than £10 on them these days – so the impact on the business was huge”
“For example, we sold only three of our vintage hampers that cost £20 last Christmas, but when we repeated our offer for Mother’s Day we sold 18 thanks to digital payments .”
So is life as a business owner as sweet as it sounds?
Ian said: “Having your own business can be tough.
“You have constant worries about your staff, their welfare, meeting deadlines but it’s also really rewarding. At the end of the day I am a happy man.”
Last year we met Michelle Clarke who started her own cheese toastie shop after being made redundant twice – and now it makes £84,000 a year.
We also spoke to a father and daughter who turned their love of chocolate into a business – and now it makes £1million a year.
Most of us would love to eat chocolate everyday but imagine getting paid for it?
We met with Angela Castleton, from Middlesborough, who chomps on Cadbury’s chocolate for a living.