Becky Sebright-King AKA Lady Bakewell-Park
Posted on September 07 2016
This week's Wednesday Woman is the awesome Becky Sebright-King, founder of Lady Bakewell-Park, home of the personalised marbled biscuit, the gluten free brownie bite and the finest Bakewell petits fours. A self-taught baker, read how she turned her dream into a reality:
Bardega: Can you tell us a bit about your background, what were you like growing up, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Becky Sebright-King: Growing up, I was somewhat unassuming and a bit of mummy - and daddy's girl! The youngest of four, with the eldest being twenty years my senior, I took the life thing in my stride.
My parents have always ran a business; first nursing homes, and then health clubs, so time with them was precious whenever we got it, including elusive family holidays abroad which I cherish greatly, mostly for the excuse to order unlimited room service with my sister and watch Full House!
When I was younger, I always thought I’d go into a super serious profession; lawyer or something similar. Turns out I wasn't as smart as I hoped, or at least, I didn't have the acumen / discipline to take on years of studying. I did English Literature at University, more to read the books and have time to go to the pub guilt free. I loved it but quite how it led me to baking is a whole other story...!
Bardega: You worked in a design agency before starting Lady Bakewell-Park, what led you to leave your job and follow your passion and how did you make it a reality?
Sebright-King: It wasn't a decision so much as a forced life choice; I was made redundant in 2012, a few months before I was due to get hitched. It was then that my now husband declared that this must surely be the time for me to follow those baking dreams.
We got married, we had an epic honeymoon, and I returned to London to start working in the kitchen. It was after a few months after the huge pay cut kicked in, and the much longer / earlier working hours, that we realised we wouldn't be able to sustain the London life we had got accustomed to so we put a FOR SALE sign on our flat, it got snapped up within days, and before we knew it, we were heading back to the Suffolk / Essex border, and Lady B was to become a living, breathing, entity all of her own! I took the plunge and pummeled my savings into setting up, working from home to save costs wherever I could, and operating solely online to reduce other overheads.
Bardega: Starting a business is tough, What have been the biggest obstacles you have faced and how did you overcome them?
Sebrigh-King: The biggest obstacles has to be the working alone thing for me; it's really hard to make decisions, often really important ones, and have it rest solely on your shoulders. My husband always talks things out with me, as do friends and my entrepreneurial parents, but at the end of the day, its all on me. Not to mention the days which are hard, or long, or just relentless, and the monotony of being alone in the kitchen can really get to me.
Above all else though, confidence is really hard to muster when you get stuck in your own head space; it's without doubt been the hardest thing for me overcome, and I reckon I am still trying to, nearly three years on.
I praise the social media - notably the Instagram community - for being a support network I didn't know I needed until I allowed myself to get really ingratiated. On becoming a mother, I saw a whole new window into how Instagram was another way to reach out to people. LBP became more real than ever after my little girl was here, because my business became part of my identity that I wanted to cling on to, not to mention that desire to work harder for my family.
I strive to make LBP a business that is inclusive; it's an insight into my life as well as what I do for a living, and I use social media to reach out to other like-minded hard working mamas that get where I'm coming for. That support is priceless, and all from strangers. So the kindness of strangers is really rather wonderful.
Bardega: What advice would you give other women who are thinking of starting their own business?
Sebright-King: Be sure you are passionate about what you do; there are no half measures. You will have to live and breath your business alongside other factors that make your life tick, i.e. family, husband, friends. So many times, my husband has been forgotten about, friends too, because I'm prioritising Mini B, and then work, before even factoring those other important things into my everyday.
If you don't absolutely love - adore - what you do, there really is little point. You'll need to work tirelessly, and relentlessly, in the pursuit of what you want to achieve.
It's taken me nearly three years to get to a stage where I can start paying myself a regular salary; you need to be sure this is what you want to do and that you have the commitment to see it through. Most small businesses last shy of a year because there's no hiding form it; this is really damn hard. So many people think it's the ultimate way of working; from home, on your own time schedule, but actually, it's ten times harder. You can never leave it at the door; you're always working even during bath time / the supermarket shop / when you're at the cinema.
In short, you have to want it, and you have to believe in it. Both of those things are hard, really hard, but the pay off when you reach your first goal, and then the next, is so unbelievably worth it. It's a satisfaction like no other. Be sure that those around you have got your back, and you're on your way.
Bardega: What / Who inspires you and why?
Sebright-King: My parents. They showed me how to make the dream of running your own business and having a family, a reality. It wasn't easy, it wasn't always nice, but they proved to me it can be done.
At no point since starting LBP have they forced their opinions, thoughts, or work ethic onto me. They've let me make the decisions, let me make the mistakes, and been there when I've needed a shoulder.
They push me without pushing which is quite the skill. Much like my daughter does; for her face, her laugh, her hugs, makes me want to work harder and prove to her that we may not always be able to have it all, and yes, we may have to make sacrifices along the way, but having a family and being a working mum that has her own business, is almost very nearly possible. I'm nearly there, right?
Bardega: Finally what advice would you give a younger?
Sebright-King: Roald Dahl says it best; "We are the dreamers of dreams." If you want it; if you have a tiny shred of belief, you really can make it happen.