A Lambeth resident is launching a local bike delivery bakery business next month after being made redundant twice in the past few years.
Emily Banham, 32, was working as a writer and editor at a major scientific publisher a few years ago when she was suddenly made redundant due to downsizing.
This gave her the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of opening a café.
She said: “When I was made redundant, I thought ‘okay this is kind of an opportunity, it’s a push to just go for it.’”
Ms Banham turned to freelance writing for employment, using her free time to learn everything she could about running a café.
She also took part in the Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme to learn about entrepreneurship and marketing, which helped her gain industry experience at Christopher’s Café in Herne Hill.
However she was once again made redundant, this time as a result of the pandemic.
This unforeseen challenge pushed Banham to start small, so she put her café dreams on hold and decided to use her cargo bike to deliver baked goods around Lambeth.
She started a GoFundMe page to fund her local bike delivery bakery business, which she has named The Cornucopia.
Currently, she is revamping her cargo bike while learning DIY skills from scratch with the help of her mother.
Ms Banham said that the support she received from friends and family, as well as her love of baking, motivated her to get through the many challenges she faced to start her business, from being made redundant to learning countless new skills on her own.
She cited her grandmother as having had a strong early influence on her love of baking.
“Probably like a lot of people, my grandma taught me a lot when I was younger.
“It was quite a treat to have a cake at [her] house and I learnt a lot from her.”
Ms Banham also said her mother and grandmother inspired the recipes she is using for The Cornucopia’s menu.
Speaking of her childhood, she said: “My mum used to make incredible birthday cakes.
It was always a special thing, marking occasions with cakes.”
She also enjoys reading Nigella Lawson’s recipe books, another source of inspiration for some of the recipes she used for The Cornucopia’s menu.
The menu features different flavours of dark chocolate fudge, hand decorated with swirls of gold, flapjacks made with a peanut butter base with orange and lemon zest, and what Ms Banham refers to as Cocoanoat Squares, a special recipe her grandmother learnt from a friend in South Africa.
Many menu items offer gluten-free or vegan options in order to cater to people with such dietary requirements.
The Cornucopia is also offering customers a complete vintage afternoon tea experience with savoury and sweet treats, as well as an option to rent out a full set of vintage crockery, from cups and saucers to cake stands.
However, Banham has not abandoned her dreams of opening her own café and hopes to one day see it through.
“My ultimate dream is to maybe have a lounge bar, with a full vintage setting.
“I’d love to host events like live music or literary events, like an author doing a talk.
“The ultimate vision beyond that would be that the café was big enough to have another larger room for bigger gigs, swing dancing, and themed events.”
Banham is a jazz musician and plays in a community jazz orchestra in her free time, and she hopes to one day combine her love of jazz, baking and all things vintage in her own café.
To support her enterprise and see her full menu, visit her GoFundMe page.
Featured Image Credit: Shweta Chavan