The sweet smell of success beckons as a love of vintage sparks a new joint venture for two Cornwall Enterprising Women (CEW) members.
Maxine Nelson and Charlotte Lean discovered their shared passion for all things retro while attending an awards event that CEW supported.
Maxine is the owner of speciality cake company Tilly Mint Bakery and also runs catering firm Slice of Cornwall, while Charlotte owns three businesses specialising in travel, events, weddings, and period china hire.
After chatting about their own companies at the event the women decided there and then to combine Maxine’s cake and catering services with Charlotte’s specialism in organising and planning events, such as weddings, corporate days, and other special occasions.
Charlotte said: “I have often walked passed Maxine’s cake shop in Truro and thought her pretty confectionery designs would fit well with my vintage china hire, and now it will.”
Both women have individually been assisted by CEW. Charlotte gained useful business information at networking events, such as ‘Make social media work for you’, whereas Maxine has taken part in the eight-week growth programme designed to help 16 of the county’s most ambitious women take their businesses to the next level.
Maxine and Charlotte met when they were seated next to one another at an awards ceremony for Truro and Penwith College’s Empowering Smart Women project, funded by ESF Convergence. The project offered management and business enterprise courses, as well as CEW’s growth programme, and the awards were held to recognise the talents and successes of the 200 plus female participants.
The two hit it off so well that within a week of the meeting, the partnership was formed.
Maxine said: “I had been shortlisted as a finalist in CEW’s award category for Most Inspiring Company Vision, which was a fantastic honour as the growth programme made me feel as though a lightbulb had been switched on in business. Having made a life-changing decision to move from France only two years ago, I set up the business with money I scraped together from benefit I initially received. The advice, guidance and expertise I tapped into on the growth programme had a profound effect on my business plans and structure and I have made major changes, including relocating the company in Truro, and setting up the catering arm Slice of Cake. Now I have another avenue of revenue generation by working with Charlotte and we are both incredibly excited about the prospects.”
Ideas for their vintage-themed events will include tea parties using Charlotte’s collection of pretty vintage crockery and Maxine’s complementary menus. The two women are going to provide a ‘sweet bar’, which will bring Charlotte’s retro-style sweet jars together with Maxine’s ‘old school’ sweets as an alternative to wedding favours, as well as look into the introduction of an amusing photographic service for events.
Charlotte added: “By being members of CEW we have been able to receive some great PR advice for our new venture, which will really help us to spread the word and secure new business. “This has been a real bonus of being a member on top of all the other great networking events it holds.”
The women plan to work to their individual strengths, such as Charlotte’s front of house knowledge and Maxine’s cookery prowess, and both feel the partnership is a promising new string to their individual business bow.
“Our individual skills and talents lend themselves well to our aim to create an imaginative, bespoke and professional event and catering service,” said Maxine. ”We intend to inspire our clients through our adaptability and creativity, and with CEW behind us I know we will always have continued business support.”
Read more about Maxine here and find out about Charlotte here or if you are a Cornwall-based member and want to tell us your business story email Josie at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01872 613011.