Sunflour Vegan Bakery - The Independent Tees Collective

9 Jan 2021

Source: Sunflour Vegan Bakery

One thing that I'm trying to get better at is eating more plant-based meals and more vegan food in general - mainly because I care about the long term effects it'll have on my body, but also because I care about the environment. Thankfully, here in Teesside, we've got a thriving vegan scene that seems to be growing every day, and one vegan indie that's going from strength to strength is Sunflour Vegan Bakery.

From celebration cakes to brownies, and from plant-based sausage rolls to the classic Christmas mince pie, this little bakery makes it all! And not only is the food fantastic, the lady behind it all is pretty darn amazing too, so make sure you have a read of this post and familiarise yourself with this biz.

Hello! Let's start with a bit of an introduction. Who are you and what is your business all about?

Hi! I'm Sarah and my business is all about vegan baking. I currently sell privately through my Facebook and Instagram pages, and also supply cakes to four local businesses - Cafe Etch in Boro, Cravers in Boro, Vizza Guys in Gateshead and The Little Acorn Tearoom in Northallerton.

Where did the inspiration for Sunflour Vegan Bakery come from? What made you start up the business?

I turned vegan during a bad spell with anorexia. When I went into recovery and 'allowed' myself to eat certain foods again, I found that the vegan version either didn't exist, or were really hard to come by and expensive. So I decided I would try to make my own, starting with cheese pasties and donuts, and they were a hit with all my family!

The bakery idea really just happened because I needed a focus. I used to walk up to 12 miles a day, so having to quit my exercise addiction left me with a lot of time on my hands. I'd been in a pretty bad way with my illness and didn't have the confidence to go out and get a job, but the idea of working for myself really appealed to me.

With the support and encouragement of my husband, I started with a market stall and trading in a lovely little pop up shop in Yarm. I then started to supply cakes to a new independent cafe in Middlesbrough, and the business has just grown from there.

What is your favourite sweet bake and favourite savoury bake, and why?

My favourite savoury is my so-sage roll. I pent a long time tweaking this recipe until I got it exactly how I wanted it and I love the smell of them baking in the oven! My favourite sweet is my pumpkin spice latte cake. I'm so proud of it! It's extremely popular in the cafes and tearooms, so I enjoy making it because I know people enjoy it!

Source: Sunflour Vegan Bakery

What do you enjoy most about running Sunflour Vegan Bakery?

The freedom to work from home so I don't miss out on any time with my family. My daughter is currently studying for her GCSEs, so spends her time at the dining room table, which means I'm never lonely (although I think she gets a bit annoyed at me singing to her all the time).

I also love that all my customers are so lovely and friendly. There's no better validation than a repeat customer, so I'm always honoured to be asked to do cakes for their celebrations.

What has been Sunflour Vegan Bakery's biggest achievement so far?

Honestly, the best thing ever was when my dad said that my mam would've been so proud of me when I sent him photos of a cake I'd made. My mam passed away from cancer 5 years ago. She was an amazing baker and cook, and made all of our birthday cakes growing up, and even made my wedding cake with me.

What do you love about the Teesside independent scene?

I love that the people of Teesside are such good supporters of independent businesses. I just hope that the current pandemic doesn't leave too much of a mark on people's livelihoods. I never understood how much you put your whole heart into your business before I started mine and the effect of the lockdowns has been devastating to a lot of people.

Also the other business owners I've met whilst doing pop up shops and markets are always so friendly and supportive. They're always happy to offer advice and help, whether it's watching my stall while I nip to the loo or trade secrets of where to buy the best cake boxes! I think if I hadn't met so many wonderful people at the start, I wouldn't be doing this now.

Source: Sunflour Vegan Bakery

What's next for Sunflour Vegan Bakery?

I just hope that the world gets back to normality soon, and the businesses I supply to continue to go from strength to strength.

And finally, recommend one other Teesside independent to us!

I recommend FrankieLou's hair salon in Stockton, owned by Emma who works with her best friend, Claire. They're lovely girls who are so friendly and talented!

If you've ever been one of those people that thinks vegan food isn't as good as the non-vegan versions, I absolutely need you to try Sunflour Vegan Bakery. She kindly gifted me a box of donuts in the past and I swear, you wouldn't know the difference! They were absolutely sensational and full of flavour. And if you need convincing anymore, make sure you take a look at her Facebook or Instagram!

Make sure you check back next week for another incredible Tees independent!

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