If you’re looking for big over the top chunky cookies and bakes, home baker Eve Smith of Fat Batch is the girl in the know.
When Eve Smith first started posting pictures on her foodie Instagram page she had no idea what was to come – within two months she was running a part-time baking business online!
A full-time assistant buyer for 8020 Procurements Services which is owned by oil and gas firm Peterson, Eve hadn’t anticipated what sharing pictures of her own bakes would result in, and now makes around 60 boxes of goodies a week for those living in Aberdeen to enjoy.
Starting her Instagram page Fat Batch in July last year while on furlough, the 24-year-old had no intentions of starting a hobby business, although now balances her baking orders of cookies, brookies (brownie and cookie) and millionaire shortbread around her full-time job.
She said: “I started my Instagram page in July last year and it was originally just a foodie page to start off. My boyfriend and I were both on furlough and we enjoyed cooking. I made a page and posted a few pictures of dishes we’d made or places we’d eaten.
“I’ve always liked baking and I baked a lot when I was younger. I think it is something I just really enjoy doing and when I was working full-time I didn’t have as much time to bake, so when I was on furlough I could spend my days baking. I really enjoyed it and was baking a few times a week. I posted pictures of my baking and then people started messaging asking if they could buy them.
“I made a few cakes for friends and family and they’d always tag my page on social media. Random people started messaging me more and more around September/October time to make them things. I was quite hesitant to begin with as it was never my original plan to sell anything. When people started posting more pictures of my stuff on social media, that really helped things kick-off.”
The power of Instagram
With nearly 4,000 followers on her page and an audience with a growing appetite for her products, Eve only takes orders via her Instagram page where she can keep on top of requests and orders.
“It is a free marketing tool really and without Instagram there wouldn’t be Fat Batch. Everyone is on social media and everyone is always looking for new pages to follow. I think it has really snowballed from people sharing their bakes I have made or just showcasing my page in general,” said Eve.
“I have got nearly 4,000 followers in the space of seven months which is mad.”
“People direct message me on Instagram for orders. That’s the way most people will order. I don’t have price lists or product lists on my page just yet, but I need to get round to doing that. I make what people want to be honest. They can direct message me what they would like and I can let them know my availability and take it from there.
“I’m nearly fully booked until the end of February for orders, although if I end up with spare bakes, which I usually do, I post them on my Instagram Stories and people can message to secure them. They tend to go quite quickly. I have toyed with the idea of stopping taking custom orders and just making batches and putting them on my Story. I know it would sell as the bakes all go so fast.
“I charge £2.50 for a brookie, £2 for a cookie, and for the likes of a Creme Egg cookie I’d charge £2.50 as it is a bit more expensive. As I’m only doing this on the side I think it is reasonable, and I wouldn’t charge what I wouldn’t want to pay.”
60 plus boxes a week
Working full-time, Eve outlines that while she is loving making treats for people to indulge in, her job in oil and gas takes priority and ensures she doesn’t take on too many orders that would impact her work or personal life.
“Since the beginning of this year I must be making around 10 boxes every day. I try to avoid working at the weekends but I struggle to say no, so I’d say I make around 60 boxes a week,” said Erin.
“Some people might order a few things, some will order 12 in a box, it really just depends. I make whatever quantities people want and if I make more, I can sell it to those who are waiting for me to post on Instagram Stories.
“I have been really careful to ensure my baking doesn’t encroach on my full-time job. The baking is just a side thing that has taken off. I keep them very separate. I work from home and finish around 5-5.30pm and as soon as I’ve finished I’ll start baking, or go to the shop, or chill for a bit and then start baking. Sometimes I’ll get up at 6am and bake in the morning instead and then start work after,
“I am quite organised in the sense of timings, but when it comes to getting shopping I’m maybe not as organised. I get people staring at me when I’m buying 20 bars of butter from the shops and I’ve got much better now I’m purchasing items in advance, rather than every day.”
Toppings are important
Specialising in cookies, brookies – half cookie and half brownie bakes – and millionaire shortbread, Eve uses popular sweets to decorate her over-the-top bakes, showing off her big chunky style delights in the best way.
She added: “When I first made then I saw similar products on other foodie Instagram pages and I found a cookie and brownie recipe I loved and put them together to make my brookies.
“Since then I have tweaked them to make them the best I can. They are very indulgent and I can decorate them to look really over the top. I knew that’s what people wanted, just something over the top and that will look cool in a picture. Everyone loves the pictures I post and I think it makes them want them more.
“With brookies you can put anything in the middle. I’ve got a bit more creative and I’m putting more things in them to make it look more chunky and fat.
“I have experimented with a cookie pot before but I want to perfect the recipe. If it is something I can properly develop them I will definitely consider doing them, but I’m focusing on my best sellers just now.
She added: “I started off using things like mini Jammie Dodgers and started to think ‘how can I make it look better?’. I got bigger biscuits and stuck them in instead and they just started looked really good. I just think the bigger the better and I’m using products like Milky Bar and Freddo’s which people love.”