#BossBabe Charlotte Lavender Of Bitsy’s Emporium of Awesome

Warning! If you’re feeling a little peckish, then you’re going to be completely ravenous by the time you finish this post, particularly if you’re a lover of cake, like me. My latest #BossBabe is a complete genius when it comes to cakes. I had Charlotte aka Bitsy Von Muffling on my Instagram for a while, where she’d post some incredible cake constructions that made me both hungry and inspired! It wasn’t until a couple of weeks ago, however, that I visited Currant Affairs in Leicester after my decision to try and eliminate as much dairy as possible from my diet. That’s where I found vegan CAKE! And not just rubbish, horrible tasting vegan cake, I’m talking full on deliciousness. In the form of an Oreo loaf and a Biscoff loaf! That’s why I’ve chosen Charlotte as this posts #BossBabe!

Tell me a little bit about your background?…

I’m a Leicester girl. From just outside of the city. I went to school at Lutterworth Grammer School (I wasn’t in the catchment, but I was bussed out anyway) and followed up with some A Levels at Gateway College. I actually did a whole bunch of A-Levels. I was never really sure what I wanted to do so I had a go at a few… Theatre Studies. Geography. French. Environmental Science. Film Studies. Media Studies. Business Studies… Basically I have some knowledge on a lot of things… And I’m pretty content with that.

Looking back…At the time… My parents… Not so content!  But I’m nothing if I’m not free spirited.

Tell me a little bit about yourself and your talents?…

I run a little bakery from a commercial kitchen in the Cultural Quarter of Leicester City Centre. I make cakes for wholesale contracts across the city and also a whole bunch of bespoke orders for events & celebrations. It’s just me. What you see is what you get. A one woman army!

I run the baking side of things, the decorating, the supplies, the social media, emails, websites, marketing, accounts, cleaning, photography, deliveries… The lot. Hiya! (Oh! With the odd bit of help from my darling mum who sometimes helps with the washing up & deliveries! Hi Sue!) My favourite things, and, I would say, my speciality and/or super great talent thing is my freehand pipe work and I’ve been commissioned to bake for a variety of corporate events because of this. No edible printing up in hurrrr. Hell na! I also use this talent when I work with bands, artists, comedians etc. My big thing is band art on cake. Want your album or tour poster on a cake? I got you.

I’ve always been making cakes but it was mainly a side hustle alongside “proper jobs” that paid the bills. Then I got made redundant and something just clicked and I thought “What are you doing? Make something of yourself woman!” And that is what I went out and did.

My background is not foodie at all! Apart from, ya know, eating as a general hobby. When I was made redundant I was working as a sales coordinator for a poster company. You know those poster sales at university fresher weeks all across the country? Who organised ALL of those? Yeah, that was me.

What’s the best thing about your job, and why?

Two things!

  1. Being creative. A lot of the time I am given creative license to go nuts cake-wise and that is a lot of fun.
  2. Working for me. I call the shots. I make my hours. I can sleep if I need to. I can work for 24 hours straight if I need to. I can take a break. I can have fun with what I do. I am working for me and not for someone I know nothing about. I see everything I do and I can be proud of that and know that I did it and I made it a success.

What’s the most difficult part about your job, and why?

Again, two things!

  1. Working for me. There’s nothing to fall back on apart from sheer hard work and a bit of luck if times are hard. There’s no one to cover you if you don’t feel great. It is just me and I don’t know if people either a. don’t realise that or b. don’t understand just how many plates you are trying to spin all at once. Making time for me. Its very easy to be working 24/7 when you work for yourself. Even when you are sat at home watching telly at 11pm on a sunday after a hectic week its hard not to reply to those emails or its hard not to reply to all your social media bits and bobs.
  2. Working by yourself can be a lonely lonely place sometimes.

What do you think sets you aside from your competition?

My cakes look good AND taste good. Not saying other people’s don’t… But sometimes that happens and its always a great disappointment I think. My vegan range is so good you wouldnt know it was free from “the allergens”. I’m getting a bit of a name for myself with my “free from” cakes because it seems that good cake is few and far between in the vegan/gluten free world. Not only that but they look like regular cake. There’s loads of frosting and things like oreos and party rings. Because I spend time researching what can be used and what cant and whats vegan that perhaps you wouldnt even know was. I know a lot of people that have intolerances and they didnt want to feel left out. So my first thought was… “I MUST FIX THIS”

What are you most proud of about your job?

I’ve been able to work with some cracking people and cracking brands. Even some of my idols. I love Billy Bragg so much I could cry and I’ve not only made him cake on three different occasions but when I deliver he yells “YESSSSS ITS THE CAKE LADY” and he hugs me! WITH HIS ARMS. It’s a blessed life. Being able to bring cake joy to people that have brought me so much joy somehow feels like I can do my bit to repay them… If that makes sense?!

Who or what inspires you?

I have a friend that runs her own creative business and she inspires me every day. She is always full of creativity and ideas. She strives to be her best no matter what life throws at her. She is always full of positivity even if perhaps she isn’t feeling all that positive. She will dig into her positivity pouch and she will throw it at you. I don’t know why but everytime I see her I feel like she is the sun and she makes me grow like a little plant. It makes me strive to be even just a little bit of what she is in my own creative life, my personal life and hopefully in return to her.

What trends are you loving this season, and why?

Cake wise?…

Okay. I love sprinkles. Is that a trend? It should be. It’s my trend anyway. I would cover everything in sprinkles if I could.

Drip cakes were a huge trend this year. I liked to jazz that up by making rainbow drips. Because if it’s not rainbow this year is it even a thing?

Unicorns are huge too. But personally, their time is coming to a close I think. Come on people! Let’s have a re think! Bring back cute dogs and bunnies!!

Clothes/Hair/Make up wise?…

A what? A trend? Have you seen me? No? Probably for the best…

If you could impart some wisdom to your fifteen year old self, what would you say?

Please don’t worry that you aren’t sure what on earth you are doing in this life.

Please don’t worry what other people think.

Please don’t feel like you’re weird because you don’t wear foundation. (You gave it a good go once and you hated it. Also the fact that you have no idea how to blend will never leave you.)

Ask your grandparents more questions about interesting olden days stuff before it’s too late.

Moisturise.

Don’t binge eat like a monster.

Never stop dancing.

You are good enough. So finish it and don’t feel like you’ll be a waster if you fail. Failing isn’t a bad thing sometimes. Trying is the thing.

Don’t waste any time. It goes quicker than you think.

What’s the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you, and who gave it to you?

A friend of mine a million moons ago told me “You have to fake it until you make it” when I was going through a pretty rough patch. I try to apply that all the time to a whole host of things. From getting out of bed to having to confidence to hold a workshop and teach skills to pretending that my crappy iphone cake photography is any good. If you believe it other people will too!

If someone wanted to follow in your career path, what advice would you give to them?

Work hard. Go full Boyle. No half heartedness. Put the research in. Be mindful that things don’t happen overnight. And try not to feel disheartened by that fact.

Describe to me your perfect work day!

A swim. One big massive custom cake that I’ve been given total free reign on. Then maybe a nice drive to deliver it somewhere like London. So I can belt out some songs full pelt. Driving is my me time. I cant work and drive so its me, my cd player and the open road. Do some emails. Sketch up some ideas. Food. Oh food and coffee has to be interjected throughout this paragraph as and when. Look at some nice things on instagram. A nice sleep.

When you’re not busy working, how do you relax?

I love the sea. And rivers. Actually any body of water. Preferably moving but not essential. The sea is my happy place. The sound of the waves calms me.

Driving and singing.

Breakfast/lunch/dinner/coffee/snacks with any of my favourite people.

DOGS.

What’s your favourite drink/cocktail?

I love tequila. I’m a tequila lady. Not just tequila shots. No no. I am a proper tequila lady. My favourite drink is tequila, tonic & lime.

What music do you listen to when you really need to get stuff done!?

Taylor Swift. If I have all the washing up under the sun. Taylor is the only one that can get me giddy and pumped enough. I don’t know why. She is on my guilty pleasures shelf. Along with N- Dubz and McFly.

Apart from that I listen to all sorts of stuff. If you follow me on instagram keep your eye on my stories. They always have a soundtrack.

Who would you like to work with, if anyone, and why?

I have a list…

Lady Gaga.

Voodoo Doughnuts

Jane Asher

Paul Nicholls (just for his face really)

Ben Montero

The Fall of Troy

Sanrio

What’s coming up for you/your company?

I am introducing decorating workshops! Coming late summer!

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