We are The Very Happy Belly Co! Welcome to our little corner of the internet. Our mission here is simple: to make baking accessible to everyone who has an interest. Baking is for everyone and anyone, and can be a powerful way to bring people together.
Where it all began
To know our story, you have to go way back to the beginning. My family are massive foodies and my step dad is a trained patissiere chef (the smiley chef below). Much of my childhood was centred around food and I got to understand the workings of the industry through their restaurant and catering business. I am a huge food - and bake - lover and I have my family to thank for sewing the seed.
The Start of The Very Happy Belly Co
TVHB Co. actually began as a hobby instagram account with a few followers and whole lot of time. In March 2020, when our first lockdown came in to force in the UK, I was coming to the end of my PGCE and was suddenly stuck at home with no real idea what to do and like many others, panic started to set in. So I turned to my hobbies to keep me busy and I began to bake - all the time. Over the next few months, I spent much of my time perfecting some of my favourite recipes and enduring quite a few failures too!
Fast forward six months, I'd quit my job as a nanny, I'd decided not to pursue teaching but instead launched a business with baking at it's heart. Now we've got our own Staffordshire based workshop, a close knit team and send our boxes to customers across the UK.
We love baking, don't get me wrong. But there's a bit more to our boxes...
At the beginning of lockdown in 2020, I was quite unwell - anxious beyond belief and I was barely getting up in the morning. Getting in the kitchen and focusing on the task at hand was the only way I could get my brain to slow down just a little bit, so while we know that baking is not going to change the world, if we can help a single person that's struggling to have an afternoon to slow down, then that's a win for us.
We believe that everyone should take some time to put themselves first and our boxes can give you an afternoon where you switch off and focus on the job at hand with as little stress as possible. We're serious about our commitment to promoting mental health awareness, self care and healthy wellbeing which is why we've also pledged to make a quarterly donation to a mental health charity voted for by our customers.
Sophie - Founder
I have a masters in history from the University of Edinburgh and a PGCE from Sheffield but still didn't know what I wanted to do when I graduated! So I took my inherited love of all things food, especially baking and ran with it - and luckily landed on a passion for business too (my mum would say I told you so).
This started as a hobby business, to keep me going during lockdown and give me a purpose but has fast turned in to an all consuming passion. I'm currently responsible for everything from test baking to recipe development to finances and strategy and everything is a learning process but I couldn't be happier that I've found something I love to do.
I currently live with my partner in Staffordshire, am always trying to convince him to get a cat and call it Colin and am a huge chocolate monster.
Abi - Business Development Assistant
Abi is our newest team member! A recent sociology graduate from Keele University, Abi has joined us to help us grow. You might notice the lovely graphics on our stories or the behind the scenes reels and step by step videos and we have Abi to thank for that! With a real talent for social media and content creation, we're so lucky to have such a creative team member on board.
Abi's current focus is on social media but she's also responsible for many of the blog pieces you'll find on our website and as we grow will be responsible for much of our marketing! Abi currently lives in Staffordshire, is passionate about mental health awareness and loves bubble tea and Korean BBQ.
Anne - Operations Assistant
Anne is actually my partner's aunt and has been around since the very beginning! From weighing out over the kitchen table, Anne is now the one who's responsible for coordinating and packing all your lovely orders, from start to finish.
Previously a deputy headteacher, we pulled Anne out of retirement to come and join us and she also doubles up as sounding board, taste tester and all round gem that we couldn't do without.
Anne lives in Staffordshire with her daughter Kye and dog Murphy, loves walking in the countryside and has a love of salted caramel brownies.
Behind the scenes
Behind the scenes there's a small army that keep us going and they all deserve a huge shout out.
- My boyfriend, Mike is always behind me, keeping me steady as well as being a keen financial eye.
- My Mum and Step Dad are my sound boards, business advisors and all round foodie inspo.
- Mike's Mum and Dad, Sharon and Dave have been instrumental in giving me the space to get this off the ground and I couldn't be more grateful.
- My Dad and his girlfriend are also always there to hear me rattle off ideas and are both wonderful grounding forces.
Also deserving of huge thanks - Sue & John for many a weighing afternoon at the kitchen table, my grandparents - my lovely grandad has built many a shelf and put up all the pictures in our workshop, Ray and Laura have been my biggest social media supporters and my friends, Jess, Lauren, Rachel and Fikile who have always made me feel like I can achieve anything.
The saying 'it takes a village' really rings true when it comes to The Very Happy Belly and our village is surely the best and biggest!