Founder of Miss Macaroon entrepreneur Rosie Ginday is crafting a revolutionary business that is putting Birmingham on the map for all the right reasons.
Rosie Ginday is slowly building an empire. In the space of six years, her macaroon business has seen her accelerate not only in the world of patisserie but in profit growth through her dedication and inspirational entrepreneur programmes.
Set up in early 2011 Miss Macaroon is not just a business, it’s a social enterprise that’s giving young people – including ex-offenders and care leavers – a chance to get their foot on the career ladder. It’s a risky business, but for Rosie it’s one that’s certainly paid off.
“We invest all our profits in providing training for jobs for unemployed young people,” Rosie says. “We work with people who have been unemployed for six months or more; some of them have come from the Criminal Justice System, some of them could have been homeless, others may be care leavers or have mental health problems.”
Miss Macaroon offers two courses to its students, a kitchen course that runs for four weeks and a retail course that runs for two. By working alongside Rosie’s team of eight across her kitchen based in Jewellery Quarter and shop housed in Great Western Arcade they’re provided with mentoring, helping them to build up their skills that will lead them to either employment with the company or one of Miss Macaroon’s partner businesses.
“Sometimes people don’t get the opportunities that they deserve and they just need a bit of hand holding and someone to believe in them,” Rosie says. “Quite often people are told that they’re terrible at school and that can have a really negative affect on someone, they might lose their confidence in trying to get a job.”
The entrepreneur mission course provides not only vital in-house training but teaches students the importance of a five-year plan, the foundation that helped Rosie evolve her business and open her first shop last year.
“I really wanted to open the shop five years ago but there’s so much investment that’s required, building a strong team and getting the product perfect takes such a long time. One of the things that we actually teach on the course is how important it is to have a five-year plan and how to break it down into manageable tasks.
“Things in a business change all the time, but as long as you have a plan you will always have something to work towards. The growth of the business is a great thing to show the trainees that things might not always go to plan but they will work out if you just keep working hard.”
It’s not just her entrepreneur programmes that make Rosie’s business unique, Miss Macaroon is the only macaroon company in the world that can Pantone-match the colours of the delicate French patisserie, which means her small team can create bespoke high-end products for customers including John Lewis, EE and Pandora.
“It’s great for customers who have a specific colour scheme for their event but mainly it’s for large corporate customers who have quite strict branding policies,” she tells me. “We match the macaroons to a couple of the companies bright colours and then logo-print the ribbons and provide them with bespoke gift tags and bags which are perfect for conferences or giveaways at exhibitions.”
Things in a business change all the time, but as long as you have a plan you will always have something to work towards.
Michelin trained under Birmingham chef Glynn Purnell at his restaurant Purnells, Rosie discovered her love for food whilst studying her degree in fine art at Leeds Metropolitan University. The inspiration to help young individuals came after she met a homeless man who had lost all of his possessions in a house fire, leading to the birth of Miss Macaroon.
“When I was in my first year I realised my passion was in food, it was where I wanted to make my career but my Dad gave me the advice of completing my degree because it would be a qualification that would open doors for me,” Rosie explains.
“Once I completed my degree I felt like I was a bit too young to set up my own business but a bit too old to go straight back into college and train properly. I ended up going to Taiwan to teach English and whilst I was there I opened a vegan and vegetarian restaurant with my friend and it really gave me the confidence to come back and do something similar.”
But what attracted Rosie to creating a business built around macaroons? It’s a difficult craft that takes a lot of time to perfect, a process that Rosie tells me she loves because “it’s quite scientific, mathematical and has elements of everything I love intertwined.”
For Rosie, the goal is to make macaroons mainstream, allowing people to understand that they are accessible to everyone, not just a luxury treat that they are often identified as. The Miss Macaroon team are continuously developing new ways to attract more customers.
“We have some amazing pastry chefs in the kitchen who love doing new product development, they can make around 7,000 macaroons per day. We also run Twitter polls as a way to test new flavours and select our promotional flavour of the week that’s sold in store for £1.”
Rosie opened her first retail space in the city last October; not just a space for the business to sell its product, the shop also offers seating for customers to enjoy their sweet treats washed down with a crisp glass of Prosecco.
“This shop is our test space,” Rosie continues. “The team are always coming up with new promotions and ways that we can get more customers. A lot of the feedback we get is about how friendly the staff are, how knowledgeable and passionate they are and that’s what it’s all about.
“People host events with us too, in the past we’ve had hen parties come in and it’s a great opportunity for customers to come in and create their own personal flavoured macaroon with different ganaches and toppings.”
“The goals are always going to constantly expand when you’re an entrepreneur, you’re aways going to be pushing to be bigger and better.”
The business may be in its early stages but everything seems to be going incredibly well for Miss Macaroon. “We supply all over the country as far as Inverness,” Rosie says.
“Last year for Boots we created 48 macaroon towers with the branding on to launch its new emporium service. We’ve been the preferred suppliers to Pandora since 2012 and we also supply to Michelin-starred restaurants.”
“A lot of our customers are based in London but this is our first retail space. We’re currently working on a second retail in Leeds and we’ve also started a relationship with Network Rail.”
So, what’s next for Miss Macaroon? “I have plans for this company to be much bigger, the shop is just a stepping stone. The goals are always going to constantly expand when you’re an entrepreneur, you’re aways going to be pushing to be bigger and better.
“The team are doing a fantastic job and the past six months have been insane – we’ve taken up our first retail space, we’re taking on our first bit of investment and we’ve almost doubled our headcount. We’re kind of competitive in the business,” Rosie adds. “We’re always pushing each other to achieve the best. Not only does it allow us to become better role models to the trainees but it’s a bit of fun for the team as well.”
Watch this space, Miss Macaroon is heading for world domination.