Ding dong! We are delighted to announce that the award for Website of the Year 2017 goes to Biscuiteers.com, the luxury biscuit boutique.
‘Winning the Website of the Year Award is a real boost to the whole digital team at Biscuiteers,’ said Harriet. ‘It is wonderful getting the endorsement of others and so very encouraging. I think that one of the main things that’s great about The Good Web Guide Awards judging is the peer recognition from fellow entrepreneurs of our hard work.’
Why did the judges vote for Biscuiteers?
- ‘This website engages, enchants and delights at every level. A charming product, great layout and fabulous brand identity makes this a totally compelling online destination. Really inspiring.’ Fiona Humberstone, The Brand Stylist
- 'The site is full of character and personality, the products are presented beautifully and it does the functional things that users expect very well. The website really conveys their passion for great biscuits and offers a unique alternative to sending flowers.' Sam Crocker, Digital Director at the missiontm (headline sponsor)
- ‘Biscuiteers' site is a real joy to use. In fact, you can spend ages browsing the site, and considering they are simply cookies, I think this says a lot for how engaging they've made their content.’ Twins that Travel, Instagram sensation and travel bloggers
- ‘We love Biscuiteers - for sheer style and ease of navigation and biscuit élan.’ Annabel Rivkin and Emilie McMeekan, co-founders of The Midult, the innovative news outlet
When Harriet changed jobs in order to spend more time with her four children, she couldn’t’ have imagined that she would soon be running a biscuit empire. Here Harriet talks about her business journey, the trials and tribulations of producing 36,000 biscuits a week, how luck plays a part, going with your gut and design trends.
I came up with the idea when… It was ten years ago and I had just left a full time job as director of consumer brands at a PR agency and was keen to start my own business. I thought there was a great opportunity in food gifting – my husband runs a catering and events company (Lettice) so food was an obvious direction for us. We noticed some iced biscuits on a trip to New York and realised their potential as a new gifting idea. We started testing designs and recipes in early 2007 camping in Stevie’s catering kitchens while we were launching the business. We moved into our first bakery two months later.
The biggest challenge is… Biscuiteers is a manufacturing business, all our biscuits are hand-iced in our grand icing hall in Kennington, London. As the business has grown we have had to scale our manufacturing quickly – we are currently icing around 36,000 biscuits a week. We have had to develop our own processes and training and even manufacturing equipment and methods. It has been a huge learning curve but really rewarding as we scale an essentially artisanal business.
The average day is spent… Once my youngest daughter has left for school, I often cycle to work and am usually to be found in our HQ in Kennington, catching up with team members to discuss new product development, marketing or operational issues. As we have two icing cafes in Notting Hill and Northcote Rd, Battersea I make regular visits to meet the team, discuss marketing and check the displays. Our shops are very much designed to be brand experiences and a bit of ‘icing theatre’.
The team consists of... There are eighteen of us in the office but we also have a production team of around fifty that work in our two South London bakeries. We also have two wonderful teams in our icing cafés.
My favourite quote… I don’t have one as such but I relate to Frank Zappa’s line ‘So many books, so little time.’ Books have been a big part of my life and I am also Managing Director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction.
I am where I am today because of… a bit of luck and partly through a decision I made to leave to leave my full time job to spend more time with my four children. I like being master of my own destiny I think.
I am who I am because of.... my mother mainly, I think. She died when I was sixteen but she was a great working role model throughout my childhood and was Chairman of Michael Joseph Publishers when she died. She fitted a lot into her life and placed high expectations on herself.
The best advice I've been given… I have learnt to respect my instincts; there is so much data available to online businesses and an important role for analysis and testing but sometimes you just need to step back and go with your gut based on what you know about your customers.
In five years I’d like to be… having a little bit more time off and may be trying some more new things!
The thing no one ever tells you about running your own business online... You are open twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year. This is both great and demanding! Customers have very high expectations. They don’t have much tolerance for website glitches or delivery problems.
Our biggest mistake and what it taught us… Our earliest mistake was not testing our packaging properly and ending up with a lot of broken biscuits. It was a critical issue and we hadn’t worked it out before we launched.
What apps do you use... when I am on my bike I really like using Dark Sky - excellent for avoiding getting wet and spookily accurate! I also love Find My Friends and use it to keep an eye on my children. They think I am stalking them but really I am only taking a friendly interest! I find it very reassuring if they forget to phone.
The most rewarding experience we’ve had to date… The hardest and most rewarding was probably opening our first icing café in Notting Hill. High street retail is very different and it was really tough at first but it has now become a famous Notting Hill destination and attracts tourists from around the world. Our 10th birthday biscuit exhibition at the Serpentine Pavilion this summer came a close second.
The websites I most frequently use are... The Times, The Pool hits my inbox every morning and Amazon is my go-to for most things but I also love a browse on The Outnet and online auction sites. Design trends are very important to us when we are designing our biscuit collections.
The podcasts I like to listen to are... most recently the Hilary Mantel’s Reith lectures. Hugely varied depending on what is going on.
All I want for Christmas is… happy customers and ten days off with my family in Suffolk.
When I heard Biscuiteers had won Website of the Year 2017... I felt very proud of the whole team at Biscuiteers who do a really exceptional job and put an enormous amount of passion and hard work into everything they do.
8 November 2017