It's always great to be able to showcase local businesses and I am really delighted to introduce Cornish Pod to you. In just a few short years, Louise and her team have created an amazing local food business.
I'm proud to screen print their Cornish Pod T-shirts and I love hearing about how their business is growing, so without further ado - over to Louise!
Hi, I’m Louise and I’m the founder and owner of CornishPod, based in Millbrook, Cornwall. Before I start typing away I’d just like to say a quick thank you to Helen for featuring me in on her blog and newsletter. What a wonderfully talented woman who does so much for our local community.
So, here’s how we started… Approximately 6 years ago I went to Wales with my daughter, Gabriella, to pick up a ‘CaterPod’ after much deliberation with the whole family. A CaterPod is essentially a fancy burger van, but we always had a plan to be a bit different with it. The trip up and back itself was a disaster as the SatNav took us on a lengthy diversion. Whoops. Anyway, we finally got there and the next day we headed home following The Pod on the back of a truck.
Thankfully we made it back in one piece and a team meeting was called immediately around the table to discuss this huge box that we now had parked outside the house. I look at my kids and go “Sh*t, what have we done?”. No turning back now. Within a few hours the name was set. We changed Cater to Cornish and boom, CornishPod was born.
Chris, my son, was working as a Marketing Manager for two businesses at the time so took control in that department. Logo designed, website launched and over 500 likes on Facebook during the first day that we published our first post.
Finally, some conviction in what we set out to do.
Our first outing was at the top of the incredibly scenic Tregantle Beach. We learnt a lot that day - you do NOT need 30 lettuces and it’s probably best not to leave the microwave on the side when you pull off. What a waste of £200 that was! Overall though it was a great day, we made good food and did it right.
Friends and family came out to show support and since then we’ve catered for hundreds of weddings, private events and festivals.
At this point we were all working full time at our day jobs. I had just finished my degree in Hospitality, Tourism & Events whilst teaching at Marine Academy Plymouth. Chris was working for a branding company, organising running events and Gabriella worked for the NHS. All three of us have previous experience working with food.
I clearly didn’t have enough going on at this point so in 2016 I decided to enter the World Pasty Championship at the Eden Project!
My mum, Rosemary, is pretty handy at making pasties and used to bake and sell them at my dad's butcher shop on Torpoint high street back in the day. You know how it goes, her mum taught her, my mum taught me and so on. It’s Cornish tradition after all. That year, I won the open savoury category with a Pulled Pork, Sweet Potato, BBQ Sauce & Cheddar Cheese pasty! Crazy! I couldn’t believe it. Read the full story here.
Obviously, living in a small town the news gets around pretty quick. Especially with Facebook. One thing led to another and I start making several batches for my friends and family. During this time I was looking for a base to help prep and store food for our outside catering business as that was getting to a nice level.
Fast forward again and I’ve quit my job as a teacher and now have a kitchen based in one of the units at Gallows Park, just outside of Millbrook. Teresa, who is my best friend came to help me out one day and we made the first batch of pasties for people to come and buy. People knew what I was up to at this point as we like to use Facebook to be transparent with our customers.
Next thing you know, Merryn Voyzey, the local pasty connoisseur is at our door in a flash. He eats the pasty, takes a video that goes viral and to be honest, the rest is history. Huge shoutout to my little helpers; Kezzy, Aisling and my other best friend Victoria who got me through the first 2 months of rocking my new role as a full-time baker.
After 2 months, my son finally gave in to me pestering him about working full-time too. We were already a family business at this point but now we really were. Chris stepped into the unit, learns the process immediately and steps up to crimp his first pasty. Perfection. Kezzy says “It’s in the blood” and we all have a giggle!
We smash out our first summer as a duo but we could both feel that we’re building something special. Don’t get me wrong, the stresses of running a business as a family is extremely draining but I am extremely proud of where we’ve come as a team. Chris and I felt like we were working non-stop. For the first two years we practically did 6/7 days a week every week as well as taking the trailer out for events. Thankfully Gabriella still helped with the weddings and events during this period and eventually we had grown our pasty shop to a level where we could take her on last year in January. Pretty much the same story… walks in, learns the process and confirms that it truly is in the blood! She has grown into the pastry queen!
CornishPod has had a lot of ups and downs during our time in business. We owe a lot of thanks to our amazing customers who come back time and time again.
Many friends have been made and we love seeing our Pod Stickers stuck to the back of everyone's car as we drive around the village in our delivery van.
A lot of people ask us: How do we stay motivated? How do we keep evolving? What are you doing to keep up with trends?
When you’re running a family business it becomes your livelihood. This is our purpose and if we do a bad job we will be out of work and trust me, I don’t want to go back to teaching kids!! It’s important to keep introducing new services and offer fun ideas for your customers.
We’ve introduced PodParcels which allows us to send pasties all over the UK and created a PodPicnic for people to enjoy locally in the sunshine.
A lot of people are stuck in their ways and don’t sway from having a Traditional Cornish pasty because they’re old school, however, we love to make up new flavours which you can see on our website and Instagram page.
As a family we are always conscious of the environment and avoid plastic wherever possible. All of our veg comes from Hay Farm (about 2 miles away) and we buy our meat from Brays Butchers in Tideford just down the road. They also sell our pasties!
I realise that I have been rambling a bit so I’m going to wrap it up here. If anyone has any further questions, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d be happy to help!
Thanks Louise! What a wonderful story of how Cornish Pod grew from a kitchen table business, to the success it is today. Believe me if you are in the area, the pasties are worth travelling for and now you can order a Pod Parcel too!
As always, let us know your pasty stories through our social media channels; share on Facebook or Instagram.
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