I love discovering food as an art form and you'll be hard pushed to find a better example of artistic flair than with the cakes from Abielle Bakery. I catch up with founder Luisa Silvia Pringle to find out more:
Please tell us about your business and what you offer?
After working in a bakery and as a pastry chef, I decided to concentrate on creating beautiful cakes that showcased my own signature style and also concentrated on delicious flavour combinations. My cakes are styled using dehydrated fruit petals that are lovingly hand painted in tones that are either seasonal or personal to my clients. I work with my clients to offer a whole range of dietary considerations and have come to specialise in vegan baking. Although not a strict vegan myself, I really enjoy eating plant based and I soon found that there was so much demand for vegan cakes that taste, and look, as good as their non vegan alternatives. My vegan Swiss meringue “buttercream” is a labour of love but totally worth it for the taste alone!
How long have you been based in Brighton?
I came to Brighton to study Anthropology and Spanish 13 years ago and have never left. I am a Yorkshire girl originally and always will be at heart but have happily made this quirky beautiful town my home and I couldn't live anywhere else!
What challenges has your business faced since we went into lockdown?
The first challenge I faced was reassuring all of the couples who already have wedding dates booked in with me that we would be happy to reschedule and that they wouldn't loose their deposit even if we had to cancel due to Covid-19. I myself have a wedding date booked for July so I can personally identify with those couples who are left in a very uncertain situation, or, who are faced with having to cancel completely or reschedule for another year. Luckily most of my clients are working with me to find another date so it looks like 2021 will be a very busy year for me.
As soon as lockdown started I stopped getting any day to day orders for birthday and celebration cakes as people weren't gathering for parties so quickly devised a new affordable product that feeds 1-2 or 3-4 people that I can deliver in central Brighton. I called them “Quarantine Cakes” inspired by a brilliant Instagram account “Butter&”, sent out a news letter and posted on various Facebook community groups including “Support Local” and “Vegan Brighton” and this has been really successful. I think people are still looking for ways to send love to those who are isolating separately and just because we are in lock down doesn't mean that we stop having birthdays, anniversaries and other life events that deserve to be marked!
The most important positive that I have seen from this pandemic and its wider reaching effects is the real sense of community spirit. You can feel the local community really rallying round and actively looking for ways to support local businesses.
Would you say that the Support Local Facebook group and Brighton Quarantine website have been a help to your business?
Definitely! Its a really important resource when people are actively looking for ways to support local businesses and keep them afloat during these uncertain times. I have shared it with other local businesses who are looking to stay open during this time and with all my customers and friends.
What advice would you give to anyone who is struggling right now?
Don't be afraid to offer something new. Try to be flexible and think what do people want and need RIGHT NOW maybe even try temporary products that work in this moment. This can be uncomfortable if you have a rigid idea of how you wanted your business to “look” before Covid-19 but surviving this time is more important than keeping a strict aesthetic or pricing structure that may have been possible before we entered lockdown. So basically be flexible and try something different if you can.
What happy song makes you dance in your kitchen?!
Anything by Prince! Especially Kiss.
Anything further you'd like to tell us?
You can order “Quarantine Cakes” that feed either 1-2 or 3-4 people from my website www.abeillebakery.com These mini cakes are styled with my signature fruit petals to look like a beautiful floral explosion and are sure to put a smile on anyone's face!
If you would like to feature in our Support Local blog, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org