Press article by Leila Lamnaouer from French Morning London released on January 10th 2019. Translation from French to English below.
At 25, Bao Quang decided not to change her own lifestyle, but everyone else’s. The young French woman launched her business, Honest Cake, 6 months ago to allow individuals who want to change their consumption pattern but who lack the time, to finally take the leap.
With a range of desserts and breakfasts-in-a-jar using as many organic ingredients as possible, she hopes that the growing environmental awareness will change into daily practical actions.
Parisian from Vietnamese parents, this is how Bao Quang defines herself. The young woman came to London a little over three years ago after graduating from a French business school. “I had to leave Paris and France” she confesses, “I was lucky enough to travel during my school years and do some volunteer work across the world. This urge to travel never left me since”. With her partner already in London, the choice of destination was also a lot simpler.
The Birth of a New Career Path
Specialising in retail, Bao Quang knew that she would find work quickly in the heart of England’s capital. She was quickly hired as a Brand Operations Coordinator at AllSaints, a fashion brand, however, after two and a half years of experience she realised that the role did not suit her after all. “What interested me in retail were consumption patterns. But I didn’t like the world of fast fashion, where customers bought and went through things so quickly”.
This was problematic to Bao who, since her arrival in London, embarked on the ‘Zero Waste’ path. “I completely rethought the way I consumed”, recounts Bao Quang. Say goodbye to packaging and plastics and hello to organic produces. Unfortunately, she found her new philosophy of life neither at work nor in any other company she applied to. Thus, this pushed her to find a new professional path… building her own company.
This is how Honest Cake was born. It took Bao Quang six months between early 2018 and Summer of the same year to build her project. “I took the leap, immersed myself in the London Zero Waste community, contacted influencers and shops to understand more about the customer profiles” explains the entrepreneur heading Honest Cake.
She analysed the situation and drew a simple conclusion: people are aware of the urgency of changing consumption patterns to be more respectful of the environment but the lack of time imposed by our very fast-paced society does not help to align words with actions. “If we endorse the Zero Waste philosophy, we know that some things will use up more of our time: go grocery shopping or cooking for instance and many things will be homemade. Honest Cake’s mission is to demonstrate ready-made food can be delicious with an eco-friendly twist”.
In Honest Cake’s debut range, she counted three desserts. The Honest Banana Pudding (her mom’s recipe), the Honest Chocolate Mousse and the Honest Tiramisu. She expanded the range with a fourth recipe: the Honest Apple Crumble. To round off her offer, Bao Quang launched her new range of breakfasts with the Honest Maple Syrup Oats and the Honest Chocolate Oats. The young entrepreneur paid attention to every detail: the reusable packaging with a deposit system, organic ingredients and allergen-free options, but also sourced as much locally and fairtrade as possible.
Already two stockists in London
Her ranges are now available in two London shops in Hackney: BulkMarketUK (6 Bohemia Place, E8 1DU) and Get Loose (Hackney City Farm, 1a Goldsmiths Row, E2 8QA). Bao is delighted to be stocked in both shops with such environmentally aware customers. “It is possible to order online on my website, I manage orders and deliveries”.
Once bought, the products can be enjoyed on the spot or taken away but customers are incentivised to bring the glass jars back. Not only can individuals enjoy Honest Cake desserts and breakfasts, but companies too. Many have already shown interest for her concept and have become clients.
After 6 months of trading, Honest Cake has ingrained itself slowly in the habits of customers. “I would like to convince people to adopt a Zero Waste lifestyle. What really encourages me is that all those that have tasted my recipes have been converted and two shops that are very well-known in the Zero Waste community have already trusted me. For me, it’s a huge win”. The Frenchwoman believes that things will move much faster in London than anywhere else. “Yes, change is slow but consumers are becoming truly aware of their role in impacting companies and imposing a new way to consume”.
Speaking of bosses, how does she see the future? “Like any other entrepreneur, I dream of growing and developing Honest Cake. But today, my goal is to show that doing differently can work. Offering organic products that are wholesome and fairtrade can make my company financially viable despite all the constraints. In a year, I’d like to see Honest Cake in six or seven shops in London and probably working on a funding round.”