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Editorial blog

Become a Biscuiteer!

20 Nov 2018

Angela Sara West chats with Biscuiteers co-founder, Harriet Hastings, about the story behind the brand, and indulges in a few of the festive biscuit offerings that YULE absolutely love!

Princess Beatrice, Charlotte Olympia and David Beckham are fans, and high-end clients, from Harrods to Dior, can’t get enough of them…

Biscuiteers Baking Company creates witty and beautifully-decorated handmade biscuits using the very best natural ingredients and in the old-fashioned, non-industrialised way.

Biscuiteers is phenomenally successful and has won multiple awards, including CNN Traveller’s ‘London’s Best Quirky Cafe’, Sheerluxe’s ‘Online Shopping’ and Standard’s ‘London’s Best Biscuit Maker’. How did the company come about?

My husband, Stevie, and I came up with the idea for Biscuiteers on a weekend away in New York. We were sure that there were lots of people as passionate about biscuits as we are and that there was a real opportunity to set up a biscuits gift business online that was completely different from anything else in the market – biscuits that would look as beautiful as they tasted, biscuits that people would want to talk about. In 2007, we launched the business online and, in 2012, we opened our very first Biscuit Boutique & Icing Cafe in London’s Notting Hill, followed by our Northcote Road boutique in 2014.

You’ve baked and decorated bespoke designs for numerous luxury brands and many famous faces are Biscuiteers fans…

We’ve been lucky to have some lovely fans of our brand and enjoy creating bespoke designs for luxury brands and clients every day. Our corporate team does a wonderful job of working with the design team in the kitchen to create engaging designs for brands such as Cartier and Karl Lagerfeld. Strictly Come Dancing’s Claudia Winkleman is another big fan, and came along to our birthday party and biscuit exhibition at the Serpentine Pavilion last year to celebrate ten years of beautiful biscuits!

We have had some exciting commissions, including a collaboration with Anya Hindmarch to create a tin of her handbags and a circus tin exclusively for the Conran Shop. We designed a limited-edition tin to celebrate Selfridges’ 100th birthday and bespoke biscuits for the launch of Harvey Nichols’ 4th floor. We have also created bespoke designs for outstanding brands such as Mulberry, Boden, Swatch and Burberry, among many others.

Where do you find inspiration for your bespoke biscuits, chocolates and cakes?

Our team seeks inspiration everywhere and our new designs are a truly collaborative process with all of our team involved. We listen to Biscuiteers’ fans on what they think would make a good biscuit, as well as keeping an eye on what is currently on trend. The beauty of the business being a small one is that we’re able to respond to trends in a much more nimble way than bigger brands can.

Many of your icers are artists and do wonderful work copying logos and fashion designs…

Our biscuits are also used for press launches, client gifts, iced place names and biscuit card invitations, along with party bags. We do a lot of bespoke work for private parties, weddings, christenings, baby showers and birthday parties. There is nothing more rewarding than creating a tin for a friend’s birthday with all their special things!

We call our ranges ‘collections’ because we knew we wanted to launch them seasonally like fashion collections and to keep refreshing and developing the range. It was important that we found our own style - distinctive designs that would make our biscuits instantly recognisable. Our fashion collections remain among our bestselling lines.

Your team undertakes both small and impressive large-scale ‘biscuit architecture’ projects, such as huge biscuit castles. Which are the challenging large-scale creations that you are most proud of?

Recreating Waddesdon Manor in gingerbread and icing was one of our favourite and most exciting projects. It was over two metres in size and took our talented icers 500 hours and 30kg of butter and sugar, 240 eggs and 220kg of icing to make! It was a huge hit with both visitors to the manor and the press, appearing on BBC News and in the international press.

Our ‘biscuit architecture’ projects are always a Biscuiteers highlight. Those projects include large-scale biscuit structures for clients like Leeds Castle, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The Musical and designer Charlotte Olympia… We even created ten biscuit structures to mark our tenth birthday year, which were displayed at The Serpentine Gallery Pavilion. London’s first biscuit exhibition!

Your Christmas offerings are lip-smackingly delicious! Which are your favourite festive designs?

It’s so hard to pick a favourite for Christmas as there are designs for every family member. I love the intricacy of the advent tin which accompanies our cloth advent calendar, this year designed in partnership with Susie Watson Designs. Hand icing 24 individual biscuits to create the ultimate foodie advent calendar is no mean feat! Every Christmas, we send out thousands of our Jolly Gingers, each with their own personality. Santa is my favourite!

Do you incorporate trends in your tempting makes?

We keep a close eye on colour schemes and trends which we anticipate for the year to ensure that our biscuits fit perfectly into the festive home, whilst still making a statement. This year, I love our Christmas bauble collection which is brilliantly impactful and designed for a super-colourful Christmas tree.

Showcasing the much-loved Biscuiteers biscuit, chocolate and cake collections, the boutiques are also drop-in icing cafés where you host themed icing lessons, children’s icing parties and run the Biscuiteers School of Icing. What can wannabe Biscuiteers expect from your Christmas workshops?

They are designed to guide eager icers through the creation of some of their most iconic tins. This year, this includes our Nutcracker, Snowman and Winter Wonderland designs, as well as a construction class for our DIY Gingerbread house, all allowing you to take your masterpiece home afterwards. Our boutique teams adore running these classes and love seeing returning icers, as well as welcoming new icers who are keen to be Biscuiteers!

Your top tip for biscuit decorating?

Patience is key! You may not be someone who picks up an icing bag and turns a biscuit into a masterpiece on the first attempt, but with practice comes perfection. It’s all about developing your own style and taking the time to do this. The Biscuiteers Book of Iced Gifts provides easy step-by-step tuition to give you top icing skills. You can learn to ice some of our favourite Christmas biscuits, including edible baubles, hot chocolate toppers and our advent biscuits, too.

Finally, you have a winning mission statement - ‘Why send flowers when you can send Biscuiteers instead?’ - and, this year, you’re shipping over 100,000 biscuit gifts worldwide. What’s next for the Biscuiteers?

We’re always listening to customer feedback and requests to develop new designs. Exciting new launches include our Paddington collection. We look forward to meeting biscuit fans in store and at events such as the Spirit of Christmas Fair. Come and pick up some of our festive favourites!

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