Mum of 2, from Whitehead, Catriona Briggs Evans started her business as the result of an emotional journey. This journey commenced after Catriona began to lose her voice. For eight years previously she was a 1-1 classroom assistant and loved it, and when she began to lose her voice, she went to speech therapy and the therapist recommended she massage her neck. And that is when Catriona found the first lump.
She told me, “After a lot of hospital appointments, biopsies and consequent operation I was diagnosed with cancer in 2013. My hobby was baking and I obsessed on that, probably as a focus other than cancer and when I was invited to my cousins wedding in Italy I decided I was going to make a cake for her reception when she got home. This is how the emotionally bespoke idea came about, I was determined to tailor the cake to my cousin, making it unique to her on a personal level. After making a shoe out of fondant gum paste for the cake topper (to match the shoes she had worn at the wedding) I began to wonder what else I could do because even though they tasted amazing I wasn’t happy with the look of the cakes and cupcakes. Truffles happened to be a part of a cake I was making and I started playing about with recipes. In the mean time I had also been diagnosed with depression and after a while I decided that since I wasn’t going to get back to work any time soon, why shouldn’t I give H’evans Truffles a go. It was a literal life saver.”
So I asked Catriona sort of products and services does the business provide?”
“I hand make chocolate truffles (available in vf) and truffle filled chocolates, fudge, tortes and cakes. I do a wide variet of flavours from salted caramel to red wine to raspberry with garden mint. One popular flavour is Stout and Orange. I provide emotionally bespoke wedding favours, tailored to each individual. I also run chocolate, baking and pastry workshops. There are also team bonding workshops, a creative team exercise which fosters collaboration between colleagues. As well as the unique bridal experience which includes an emotionally bespoke consultation and taster session along with a glass or two of prosecco and the bride designs and makes her favours. There are price bands to provide for all budgets.”
Like many other businesswomen, Catriona admits to being a “self sabotager, ” suffering from self doubt, low self-esteem, no business background so is embarking on a huge learning curve on all fronts. She feels the isolation of being self employed and working from home.
Despite this, her advice to others who are thinking of starting a business is, “Go for it! Why not? Do research first and get clued up on the business side of things….I wish I had! Get creative and believe in yourself. If you are working from home make sure you have down time scheduled in and a hobby or something.”
Catriona says she has a lot to be thankful for and a lot to be proud of. She looks back and says “I am so glad I took the initial leap into the unknown. My biggest success was beating Hotel Chocolat in blind taste tests. I take strength from know I have beaten cancer and depression by turning my hobby into a business. I love the fact that my boys are always telling me how proud they are of me!”