The Pick 'n' Mix Cheesecake Company - The Independent Tees Collective

6 Mar 2021

Source: Pick 'n' Mix Cheesecake Company

One thing we have an abundance of across Teesside is indie sweet treat businesses, which is absolutely ideal for me as someone with a raging sweet tooth. It's great that we're all just one message away from bagging some delicious goodies in the area! One of the spots I discovered towards the end of 2020 that has quickly become one of my top recommendations for cheesecake is the Pick 'n' Mix Cheesecake Company.

The owner of Pick 'n' Mix, Carole Ann, is one of the loveliest, most down to Earth people that you could possibly meet. She strikes me as one of those people who get on with absolutely everyone and love nothing more than seeing people happy. She also makes some incredible cheesecake creations, from individual slices to full on celebration spreads. If you need convincing anymore, take a read of this post to learn more!

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

Hi, I’m Carole-Ann the owner and creator of the Pick 'n' Mix Cheesecake Company. I'm also proud to be Teesside’s only cheesecake company that offers bespoke tiered and colour-themed cheesecakes with themed dessert tables to match, and Teesside’s only savoury cheesecakes. I offer celebration cheesecakes, adorned with handmade chocolate decorations fully personalised to your needs, offering a personal consultation to design the cheesecake of your dreams for weddings, celebratory events, corporate events, family gatherings birthdays and any other occasion. I’m so excited to have a wedding cheesecake and dessert table booked in this year!

As well as the celebration cheesecakes, I also offer the amazing cheesecakes in a jar in mouth-watering flavours - Bakewell tart, Rolo, Daim bar, and white chocolate and raspberry, to name just a few! My cheesecake slices make an appearance twice a month and are available every second Friday, flavours change regularly, but they range from these mouth-watering flavours - white chocolate and Biscoff to Raspberry Ruffles. I have also just introduced cheesecake hampers to my menu with the game changing cheesecakesickle hamper! It is all about creating a bit of magic in a cheesecake.

Source: Pick 'n' Mix Cheesecake Company

Where did the inspiration for Pick 'n' Mix Cheesecake Company come from? What made you want to kickstart it?

As a single mum of 3 boys for the last 10 years, I had to do something like many others during the pandemic. I had to think fast on how to support my family. I trained to be a chef when I left school at Kirby College in Middlesbrough, and worked as a chef for several years in the North East and London, then continued my career into pub management for several years. I left this industry in my late 30s, and retrained in education, where I stayed until 3 years ago until I became redundant.

I was due to start as cabin crew in 2019/20 and was extremely excited to do so, but as the pandemic took hold of the world, everything stopped. I went back to the beginning again with food because I’ve never lost the passion to cook and create, and I’ve always loved experimenting with different flavours, foods and trying new things. I don't actually have a sweet tooth, so making cheesecakes was something new to me. I started making cheesecakes for friends and family, and by June, after a lot of thought, I turned to Instagram to make a page and so my journey began.

Which cheesecake project has been your favourite to make so far and why?

This one is easy - it's got to be the cheeseboard cheesecake because I just love cheese and with its indulgent mixture of at least 8 different cheeses, fruits, nuts, pickles and homemade chutney. To me, it's heaven on a cake board. It just hits the spot every time and makes a fantastic centrepiece on the table. It is also one of the most popular cheesecakes I offer.

What do you enjoy most about running Pick 'n' Mix Cheesecake Company?

I love to see customer reactions when they pick their celebration cheesecakes up - it's almost like they can't believe it's a cheesecake. It's nice to have a chat with them when they come to collect their cakes, finding out what they’re up to. I’m sure I babble on for ages and they think I'm nuts!

Getting amazing feedback is just the best, and it gives me a lot a satisfaction knowing that I have done that - just I and no one else has made that customer happy. What more could I ask for? I never decorate any celebration cheesecake until the morning they go out, so there are a lot of early mornings, especially at busy times like Christmas. This is the great part about working for myself... I can do this and it's what will make my business succeed. I just love it. 

Source: Pick 'n' Mix Cheesecake Company

What has been Pick 'n' Mix Cheesecake Company's biggest achievement so far?

My first ever pop-up shop was a logistical achievement as everything was fresh and needed to be kept chilled. I don’t drive, so I had to rope my eldest son in to get me there, but when I looked at my stall, all set up by me, I was so chuffed with myself. I was also nervous as hell, because I had no idea what to expect. I was fortunate to have two other wonderful stall holders there who helped and guided me in the right direction. I am pleased to say, it was a big success and I only brought 12 minis home, but they were sold by the time I got back. Phew! I went on to do another pop-up later in the year, and once again, it was a big success and sell out. I loved meeting the other fantastic ladies who had stalls there too.

As The Pick 'n' Mix Cheesecake company has grown, so have my orders. Over Christmas and New Year, it was mad. My new flavours and inventions sold out in hours - in fact, I was fully booked for Christmas Eve in July, which I couldn’t believe because I’d only been gong a month!

What do you love about the Teesside independent scene?

I feel proud to be a part of the Teesside independent scene. We have so much talent in our area in this beautiful part of the UK. It's great to see other small business owners doing well and achieving their personal goals no matter how small.

What's next for Pick 'n' Mix Cheesecake Company? What do you hope for the future?

I'm constantly asked if I have a postal service! I'm hoping to launch a postal service for the cheesecake jars once I have worked out all the logistics. It's not as easy as you think to send cheesecake via post, as it must stay frozen. No one wants a sloppy cheesecake, so friends, expect to have a cheesecake jar delivered to you in certain parts of the UK!

I've been talking to small business for a while now on the possibility of cheesecake jars being stocked in local caf├ęs. Hopefully once all the restrictions have been lifted, there might be a cheesecake jar near you soon. I think the main thing for me is to stay true to myself and The Pick 'n' Mix Cheesecake company, and keep creating my amazing celebration cheesecakes for Teesside. I am a great believer of quality over quantity, and not try to do too much. You can't run before you can walk, as the saying goes.

Source: Pick 'n' Mix Cheesecake Company

And finally, recommend one other Teesside independent to us!

Oh, this one is easy. It's got to be Amy from Dreamz N Themez for bespoke sleepover teepees. She is such a lovely lady and has a wonderful business she runs from home, alongside a young family. I love to see her doing well and expanding her business. She is so passionate and professional about what she does, and always goes that extra mile to bring good customer service. I can’t wait to see what 2021 holds for Dreamz N Themez.

Gosh, looking at all of this cheesecake has made me so hungry! Even if you aren't a cheesecake fan, you've got to admit that all of Pick 'n' Mix Cheesecake Company's creations just look phenomenal. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram, so head over and get your orders in (and look out for her dancing videos on Insta - they'll make your day).

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

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