Our Marshmallow Home –by Oonagh Simms
Oonagh Simms is the owner of The Marshmallowist, the UK’s first gourmet marshmallow company. The Marshmallowist handcrafts soufflé marshmallows from fruits, organic herbs and boutique alcohol from their bespoke unit in Hill Top Mill. Combining classic confectionary with unexpected flavours and bold design they are now stocked by leading luxury retailers throughout the UK including Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols.
We never expected to find our dream working space so easily, and even when I first visited Gaunts Ltd site at Hill Top on a wet Thursday morning, I was unconvinced. “We can customise the space to exactly how you want it, give you the room you need, bespoke for your needs” Hmmm. I’ve heard this before, landlords promising the earth only to be left out of pocket, in a unsuitable space and scanning my lease for an exit strategy.
Well, never have I been so wrong. Lovely Property Manager John Giles, spec’d out my perfect kitchen, designed to achieve the most stringent of food safety certifications He advised on how to make my office area flow better and over cups of tea, has given us helpful nudges towards storing out overflowing packing area a little better.
And everything just fell into place. Since picking up the keys 8 months ago, our team of staff has doubled- because we now have a gorgeous working space with potted plants, neon signs and a break away area. We’ve befriended our fantastic neighbours who (to name just a few) have created us bespoke fire pits for our Toasting Marshmallows Experience in Kew Gardens, dropped us in fresh loaves of Sourdough (Ta very much Roops Bakery) and even fix our marshmallow van when it’s exhausted from all the deliveries. We’ve gone on to win contracts we had only dreamed of (Nationwide with John Lewis this spring ) and even started selling throughout Europe. All because we had found the space to grow.
I’m not sure I ever realised how intrinsic it was to a developing business that you had the right environment and physical capacity for growth. I, naively, assumed I could find a kitchen and just get on with it. But it takes so much more than that. I want to feel happy and safe going into work, know there is a friendly ‘that’s not a problem’ at the end of the line if I need something fixing. I want to have brilliant neighbours and landlords that want you to be happy. How many businesses can say that? We spend more time a week in this bakery than we do anywhere else. And what an absolute pleasure!