Bringing a sweet side to sugar-free cakes
Tell us about yourself and your startup
No Guilt Bakes was set up at the end of 2019 by myself and my cousin Taeya.
No Guilt Bakes is an online bakery that sells a variety of ‘no-added’ sugar sweet treats and savoury essentials that are perfect for people doing keto, diabetics, gluten intolerant and any one trying to get healthier without sacrificing flavour or taste
What led you to where you are today?
Taeya and I had always wanted to set up a business, but we didn't know what exactly we wanted to do. After losing over 6 stone between us by following a keto lifestyle but having to resort to making them ourselves it was clear that the low carb market was one that was neglected.
A year earlier both our fathers (who are brothers) were diagnosed with diabetes & pre-diabetes. Taeya’s father especially was reluctant to reduce his sweet treat intake.
So Taeya and I took to the kitchen and started baking alternatives. And they fit within our new lower sugar lifestyles and also served a large market of diabetics who have to monitor their sugar intake.
Taeya’s father now has a steady supply of cakes that he can enjoy without negatively impacting his blood sugars.
What has been the biggest highlight of your Founder's journey so far?
For me (Maya), the highlight of our journey was receiving an email from Planet Organic saying that they would like to list our products in their stores - after only trading for a few months. I cried when I saw the email.
It felt like a seal of approval.
What lessons have you learnt that you would like to pass on?
Don’t let cultural stereotypes hold you back. As the children of immigrants, our parents were surprised and confused by our decision to set up a cake business. They spent the first year trying to convince us that we should stick to the more traditional employment route. However, after seeing how much profit we generated, they are now asking for us to ‘employ’ them - in an advisorial/ cake-tasting role
If you could invite anyone to join the Black Valley community, who and why?
Jokae Ayoola, the founder/writer of How We Love Our Hair. In recent years there has been a movement towards representation and self love of black hair. The great thing about the How I Love My Hair books is that not only does it increase the representation of black hair in literature, but it also shows children how to look after their hair - something that a lot of older women and men are just now learning to do.
Levi Roots and The Black Farmer (Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones) would also both be amazing mentors for FMCG focused businesses
Taeya and I are overjoyed to have been accepted on the Black Valley programme. Our mentor Nithin Bopanna is passionate about us and what we are doing, and is striving to help us make No Guilt Bakes a success.
In the world of entrepreneurship, it is often so rare to see people that look like us making moves and striving to be a success, so we do find inspiration in learning about other entrepreneurs journeys.
Also happy that there are candid discussions around alternatives to the typical VC focused approach. We might even take advantage of the angel investing community for our own raise.