From the Ground Bakery was created in 2019 by Shannon Jinks, a vegan chef from Birmingham, UK. Creating out-of-the-ordinary, gourmet vegan treats is what From the Ground Bakery is best known for. Taste is never compromised, and in fact, most customers never know they are entirely vegan unless they are told.
Gigantic cookie sandwiches, stacked cookie dough brownies, and cake-in-a-tub. These are just some of the products which are enjoyed by many people around the UK. Also, not to forget celebration cakes and catering cake tables.
Their biggest inspiration comes from NYC-style bakeries, where calories are never counted and the cookies are stacked high! From the Ground Bakery feel it’s important to treat yourself from time to time, even if it is with a super-indulgent treat!
The Honest Food Talks team was dazzled by the beauty of her Instagram the first time we saw it. We knew we had to learn more about From the Ground Bakery. After interviewing her, we are inspired by Shannon’s passion and wanted to share with you readers of her story.
Where did the idea for From The Ground Bakery come from?
From the Ground Bakery started as a very casual project making celebration cakes for family and friends. I catered a wedding for a friend who was on a tight budget. But, I didn’t expect it to go as well as it did.
So, one day, I decided to post the pictures from the wedding to a local vegan page. Then, I unexpectedly received a bunch of orders from people I’d never met. This experience was very new to me at the time. It didn’t occur to me that people would want to buy cakes from a random person on Facebook!
So shortly after, I decided to take the plunge and do all the things I needed to do to make it a business. I created social media pages where I could take orders. Then, for the next year or so, as I was working as a head chef (which required a lot of my attention) I was taking very sporadic cake orders.
Some time passed, and whilst I enjoyed making cakes here and there, I wasn’t making enough money to warrant leaving my job. However, that, in turn, meant I didn’t have the time to invest what was needed to push the business.
COVID-era Founded Bakery
Fast forward to one of the many furloughed days I had in 2020, I decided to create a website. I made it with the intention of selling postal cakes to be sent around the UK.
For the past 6 months, I’ve been reaching so many new people around the UK. I’ve started selling at markets and I’ve recently quit my job to go fully self-employed. And I can honestly say it was the best decision I’ve ever made!
I now spend my days doing exactly what I was wishing I was doing all those times when I was working for somebody else. I only wished that I had done it sooner!
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive, keep yourself busy?
A typical day consists of baking, literally non-stop baking! I don’t really have a social life these days. But I’ve gotten so used to it now that I’ve grown fond of always having some sort of baked good to worry about!
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive?
Prepping. Prep everything, always! It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed, especially when it’s a one-man operation.
But having worked in kitchens for the past 8 years has given me the ability to streamline tasks. Prepping definitely has a huge role to play in how well a kitchen runs.
What advice would you give your younger self?
‘Take it one step at a time.’
As a young adult, I put off the idea of starting my own business. This is mostly because I didn’t have a clear enough vision of the road I wanted to go down. (At the time, I had just finished studying fashion and wanted to incorporate the two but just didn’t know how.)
By taking small steps I've been able to plan better, improve my skills, test things out and gain a clearer vision of where I want my business to be in the future.
I've recently designed a t-shirt for From the Ground Bakery. In addition, I have a few more ideas up my sleeve on how to achieve the original goal of incorporating fashion design into From the Ground Bakery.
What is the one thing you do over and over again and recommend everyone else do?
Learn, research, try new things. Not only in my personal life but professionally also. It’s great to practice and perfect your skills. But I think it’s so important to learn new skills so you’re able to push boundaries and see what you’re capable of.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Feeling inspired is definitely a mindset I always try to be in. I feel I work at my best when I'm feeling inspired in what I do.
Similar to the answer above, I do this by trying always trying to learn something new. By looking at new trends within the baking industry, and also by seeing how I can reach the next step with my business.
What's one trend in the F&B industry that excites you?
If there’s one thing I love more than desserts, it’s definitely having a platter of them!
I’m currently working on some sweet platters. They will include such things are mini cookie sandwiches, bite-sized brownies, mini cookie truffles and so much more! Desserts are always a crowd-pleaser and are fantastic for all kinds of gatherings.
What is the best £20 you recently spent?
I’ve just bought a mini-fryer which was on offer so I can test out some vegan doughnut recipes. I’m talking filled, stacked, proper naughty donuts.
The idea is to have a weekly ‘donut day’ in the near future!
What is your favourite quote?
“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
This was a quote my partner’s mother used to say to him, and now it’s something he reminds me of. I have a bad habit of comparing myself to others. That can often knock my confidence, but whenever I am reminded of this quote, it brings me back to reality!
What are some of your favourite places to eat at?
I have a few local favourites, but I mostly love street food. I love the hustle and bustle of food events.
Watching the chefs prepare the food and the idea of eating a big juicy vegan burger on a summer evening with a beer is my idea of food heaven!
What's the best thing to order from From The Ground Bakery?
I’m just about to launch a new product called the PB&J cookie sandwich.
It’s quite literally a PB&J sandwich but in cookie form: it consists of two peanut butter cookies, with a layer of peanut butter buttercream, and homemade berry jam, and it’s so delicious! (Even if I do say so myself!)
Are there any exciting plans coming from From The Ground Bakery soon?
There is talk of getting a pitch in a local market in a really cool space which is super exciting!
Currently, I’m getting back into markets and selling products through my website which I love doing. The idea is to get as many people trying our treats as possible - I'm so proud of them.
It’s just amazing to hear all the fantastic feedback, it really makes all the hard work worth it! In the future, the dream is to open our own little vegan bakery. But for now, we’re taking it one step at a time!
Be sure to check out Shannon’s inspiring bakery via her social media and website below!
Next, read about Christine Wan's story of starting The Little Fuji Bakery, an Asian-Western fusion bakery in the UK.