How Bloom Bakers in Leeds is looking to create opportunities for working mothers

An online bakery business is hoping to change the way people think about employing mothers by creating opportunities for them and engaging with those women on what suits them the best.

Saskia Roskam with Lisa Shepherd, the duo set up Bloom Bakers in 2016.
Saskia Roskam with Lisa Shepherd, the duo set up Bloom Bakers in 2016.

Leeds-based Bloom Bakers was founded by Lisa Shepherd and Saskia Roskam in early 2016. The duo met while at a digital marketing agency and quickly discovered that they both shared a love for baking.

Bloom Bakers recently moved into a commercial kitchen premises and has just hired its first three employees.

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Ms Roskam told The Yorkshire Post: “We really want to change the way people think about employing women and specifically mothers because one of the things that we always found difficult when we were employed was that your children take precedence all the time.”

Saskia Roskam with Bloom's signature jammy biscuits.

The business says it will look to allow staff members to work around their personal lives.

“We want to listen to women,” Ms Roskam said. “What is it that you need? How do you need to care for your child?”

Ms Shepherd is originally from Germany while Ms Roskam is from the Netherlands. The duo set up Bloom after struggling to find baked goods that were similar to those they had tasted over in mainland Europe.

Ms Roskam said: “I missed apple pie from home. I love apple pie and I went to cafes when I first moved here to Leeds and every time I had an apple pie I just thought they were nice but they’re not the ones I’m used to from back home.”

The business has recently hired three staff members and moved into a commerical kitchen.

Bloom’s signature jammy biscuits are a take on German Christmas biscuits with the duo using red currant jam.

The business used to make cakes and apple pies, which it would sell at local markets in Leeds prior to the covid-19 outbreak. However, it is now just focusing on biscuits as it suited their lifestyles better

“There are things that we’d like to bring back but for now we’re focusing on biscuits,” Ms Roskan says.

Around 60 per cent of Bloom’s business is from corporate orders with the Leeds-based bakery offering personalised biscuits for events, mailers and staff.

At the start of the first lockdown, the duo thought they would have to “close up shop” as corporate orders dried up.

“But what substituted this was that so many people went online and because they couldn’t see their friends and families, they wanted to send them things via the post,” Ms Roskam said. “In those months, when the corporate orders went away, all of a sudden the personal orders really spiked.”

Going online set the business up

Saskia Roskam and Lisa Shepherd leveraged their digital marketing know-how to set up Bloom Bakers as an online bakery.

Ms Roskam said: “I would say that is what really made the business - people found us online.”

Publishing giant Penguin even came calling with an order.

“The online aspect of our business has always been huge,” says Ms Roskam. “It’s just that in the last 12-14 months, it has skyrocketed.”

The duo want to establish Bloom as the go-to business for branded and personalised biscuits.

“We’ve set for ourselves a vision of being the first port of call for branded biscuits in the UK,” Ms Roskam said.

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