Loughborough Alumni


29 Nov 2018

Alumnae share catering insights for Small Business Saturday

This weekend, we are marking “Small Business Saturday”, a non-commercial campaign which aims to showcase the successes of small businesses. It also encourages consumers to shop local and support their community enterprises. 

Three alumnae, Estelle, Marta and Simone, have their own catering businesses. Here we find out more about their entrepreneurial projects.

Estelle Liu graduated in 2014 with a MA in Media and Cultural Analysis and has since established her own tea business, based in Nottingham. August Moon Tea aims to bridge the cultural gap between the East and the West through tea ceremonies.

Mindfulness and meditation are important aspects of Chinese culture. Through traditional ceremonies, Estelle serves tea which allows customers to de-stress and find inner peace.

Estelle found setting up her business in Nottingham a rewarding experience, albeit difficult at times. August Moon Tea has plans to develop in the corporate sphere, offering team building exercises and well-being programmes.

Estelle said: “Serving tea in a mindful way is enjoyable. It doesn’t feel like a job, but part of my life”.

Marta began her entrepreneurial journey in 2012 after graduating with a PhD in Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences. Having made the decision to pursue a baking career, she founded her business, Bom Bom Patisserie and operated out of her home kitchen. 

As the demand for her home baking grew, so did the need for a larger venue. Marta and her husband, Dan, searched for a suitable cafe space on the Holywell estate. Their aim was to create a friendly, welcoming environment which ties the University and local community together.

Six years on, Bom Bom Patisserie, has quickly become the go-to place for lunch in Loughborough.

Marta’s baking skills recently attracted national and global media attention. In April, she appeared on a television series called Que Seja Doce, which is recognised as the Brazilian version of the Great British Bake Off. Marta and her team impressed the judges, finishing second place.

Marta then went on to compete in the Great British Bake Off: The Professionals. This popular UK television series gathers elite patissiers, showing just how far Marta has progressed since she started her career in 2012.

“[Appearing on the television shows] taught me something about organising my team under pressure. I found that my experience from the cafe had equipped me to do this well!" 

Image credit: Adalberto de Melo Pygmeu

Recent graduate, Simone Knowles, completed her International Business studies in 2018 and shortly after, started up her own business. The Toast Club is a mobile food van serving toast and spreads at UK festivals. She came up with the idea at a festival when looking for an affordable, simple food option.

Business-minded Simone entered the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Competition; one of the many ways young graduates can access additional funding and support for their business.

The Toast Club is already reaping the rewards of Simone’s hard-work and dedication and will begin trading in summer 2019.

"I have always wanted to be my own boss. As a female I have had to work extra hard to prove my capabilities, but have always found that I work best when I am left to carry out a project solely on my own. I want to be able to make my own decisions, go on holiday when I want and be an independent, female entrepreneur!"

Our entrepreneurial alumni have established businesses in many different industries. If you would like to share your story, please get in touch.

+44(0)1509 228497

Hazlerigg Building
Loughborough University
LE11 3TU  UK