Harriet Hastings is the founder of Biscuiteers, bakers of delightful hand-iced gift biscuits (and listed in our directory here).
Biscuiteers is the first business of its kind in the UK, baking exquisitely iced and delicious tasting biscuits, which are beautifully packaged in stylish gift tins.
Q. Tell us a bit about yourself and what inspired you to start the business…
A. I used to run the consumer division of a PR company and decided to move on after I had my fourth child. I was helping my husband with the marketing of his catering and events company and got very excited about the idea of launching a gift food company that could offer an original alternative to flowers and chocolates. Lots of people seem to love biscuits as much as we do and you can do so much with them!
Q. Where is your business located?
A. We’re based in London – it’s important to be located in a big city to ensure that we can recruit lots of icers. All of our biscuits are handmade and hand-iced by our talented staff, and we source all of our ingredients really carefully to make sure they’re top quality. Our London Biscuit Collection (below, right) was originally inspired by our location, but we’ve since branched out and we now have Paris and New York biscuit collections too.
Q. Do you use any specialist techniques or equipment to produce your goods?
A. Well, everything is handmade by us, but we do use industrial dough breaks and big drying ovens. The actual icing technique is quite low tech as our biscuits are very detailed, so they have to be iced with a very steady hand!
Q. What are the most popular products in your range?
A. Our most popular collections are our fashion collections, such as Shoes and Bags, and our Birthday and New Baby collections. We create and launch new designs seasonally to keep them fresh and exciting as we have a lot of regular customers. Our biscuits make a very unique gift, and people really appreciate the time and care that goes into making them. And once you’ve eaten the biscuits, you still have one of our beautiful tins to keep!
Q. What’s the best thing about what you do?
A. People send biscuits for all sorts of reasons, but they are always sent with lots of love. It feels like a very happy business to be in – making someone’s day with biscuits.
Q. Why do you choose to make your products in Britain?
A. Well, most of our market is in the UK so it makes sense to make them locally so they are as fresh as possible. We also work with a large community of arts graduates who have the creative skills that we are looking for.
Q. What’s been your proudest moment?
A. Every milestone is exciting but it was particularly great to see our tins piled up front of store and in the window of The Conran Shop at Christmas. We made them a special Conran Circus tin to tie in with their Christmas theming and they looked brilliant. Equally, we get some wonderful emails from our customers which is always really rewarding.
Q. Where do you sell your products?
A. We sell online at www.biscuiteers.com, but we are also stocked in Selfridges, Harrods, Fortnum & Mason, John Lewis, Liberty, Fenwick and Harvey Nichols.
Q. Which other British producers inspire you and why?
A. There are lots of other wonderfully inspiring UK businesses and the internet has played a huge role in enabling these businesses to thrive. I admire the success of Not On The High Street as a showcase for small businesses, and I also love Clippy bags, and traditional Cornishware by TG Green.
Q. Do you make an effort to buy British when food shopping?
A. Yes, this is really important to us. My husband runs a catering business called Lettice Party and is very committed to reducing food miles in the menus he offers. Equally we think it is very important to support local businesses in Suffolk where we have a holiday house. There is a thriving local food industry in our part of North Suffolk and the meat is especially good. We buy our bacon at Emmett’s in Peasenhall and our meat at Creasey’s. There’s also a great local food market under the Orwell bridge.
Q. Where is your favourite place to holiday in Britain?
A. I have to say Suffolk as we have holiday house there, which is where we spend all of our holiday time. You can’t really beat Warbleswick or Southwold for a British seaside holiday. The Anchor at Warbleswick or The Crown in Southwold are both great places to have lunch.
Q. And finally, what do you do to relax and unwind when you’re not busy working?
A. Sleep, spend time with my children and friends and hopefully play some tennis or go to the seaside as I love swimming in the sea.
Get all the info you need to connect – and shop – with them from our listing here