I have to admit that I considered writing this entire intro in donut emojis like that Ray Gun article written in Zapf dingbats. I also have a hole heap of puns I could use but I won't. You may send your thanks in the form of baked goods.
Anyway Vicky. Vicky is like a ray of sunshine and her donuts are as satisfying as they are 'grammable. Vicky is also a total boss lady having started her business less than a year ago and already taking over London - but I'll let her tell you more in the interview below. I spent a morning with her chatting and snapping while she baked some mini donuts.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
I’m Vicky, I’m 28 and I started Vicky’s Donuts back in February after making donuts a lot at home and then deciding to turn it into a business. I make donuts to order for things like parties, weddings (and just Tuesdays in some cases), and also have a market stall at Chatsworth Road Market in Clapton.
What's the thing about your work that gets you excited/out of bed in the morning?
Ah so many things! I have quite a few early mornings as it comes with the territory of having a bakery so it’s important to have things in mind that help me get out of bed! I’d have to say: the thought of testing a new flavour I’ve been dying to try for ages, making a special custom order and of course the smell of freshly fried dough - I don’t think I could ever get sick of that. And if I’m not in the kitchen, being at my market stall, chatting to people is my favourite. At the moment, I bake everything for the market myself so it can be quite lonely in the mornings - just me in the kitchen singing along with Taylor Swift as company, so as soon as I’m at the market, all I really want to do is talk to everyone!
Was there a moment when you knew you wanted to do this?
Yeah there was actually! I met Paz from Bad Brownie (who do THE best salted caramel brownies in London btw) and heard his story of how he and his partner set their business up. He told me he left his job in branding to start the business, baking out of a tiny kitchen in a one-bedroom flat and using his mum’s car to deliver them. Hearing all about it made me realise it was actually possible to turn an idea into life as long as you work hard and love what you do. That’s the first time I’ve realised that was the moment actually - thank you, Paz! I bet he doesn’t even remember me, ha! It was kind of a similar situation for me - I started making donuts in my tiny kitchen which I shared with two friends and delivered them to people nearby on my bike. Luckily, it worked and I now have a much bigger kitchen (and helmet-free hair, too - yay!).
What's been the biggest challenge you've faced so far?
The kind of business I had in mind before I set it up is not what it is today. You have to try a lot of things, realise that some of them don’t work and then go back to the drawing board. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve done that and have only been up and running for 8 months! I’d say the biggest challenge was deciding to stop selling donuts to cafes and shops until I have a bigger kitchen and more staff. It took over my life while I was doing it and I was getting 4 hours of sleep per night if I was lucky. Sometimes it’s important to say “ok, this doesn’t work right now, but maybe it will in the future”. And now I’m putting together plans for expansion so I can start doing that again, but hopefully with a side order of more sleep.
And what’s the most exciting thing/biggest achievement?
I won a BBC Good Food Bursary Award recently which I still can’t believe! I have a fear that some people might look at the donuts and think they look pretty but don’t taste of much. Having the editor of BBC Good Food taste-testing them and then giving them an award just felt amazing as it kind of secured the fact that they’re not just fancy things to look at! There’s been a lot of thought and hard-work that’s gone in to them too.
Where do you find inspiration?
By eating a laaaatttt of food! I like eating as much of my way around London as possible, taking in little nuggets of inspiration along the way. I also love reading recipe books. A night in with red wine, Bridesmaids on in the background and a stack of recipe books by my side is 100% my all time favourite thing to do (how cool am I?)! I’m currently half-way through a book on french patisserie which just blows my mind. The intricacy involved is just crazy - I’d like to think I could create a mille-feuille one day, but I think I’d lose my patience.
I’ve booked a trip to Copenhagen next week to try out their amazing bakery-scene so can’t wait to come back brimming with inspiration! I'm working with a super-secret pop-up which runs until the end of November and then after that I’m planning on doing a series of pop-up shops in London for Christmas (I cannot WAIT to bring out the Christmas donuts). I’m also in the middle of organising some workshops and events which I’m really excited about - details of which will be released very soon, so keep those eyes peeled!