Kilkeel Mum Baked Brownies For Her Family… Then The Demand Grew From Friends And Neighbours.
Baking chocolate brownies for family and friends over lockdown has led one entrepreneurial woman to set up her own baking business right in the comfort of her own kitchen writes Laura Barr.
Ruth Haugh from Kilkeel began baking brownies during the first lockdown period at the end of March for her husband Ned and their two children Ezra (3) and Izzy (2) as a special weekly treat.
She said: “We are big chocolate lovers, so the brownies went down a treat with the kids and my husband, Ned.
“Friends and family tried the brownies and really enjoyed them and started to ask me to bake some for them.”
Ruth explained that she began baking from scratch after her daughter, Izzy was diagnosed with multiple food allergies a few years ago.
“I found it really hard to find her tasty food that she could eat and enjoy, so I started baking biscuits, pies and breads which were suitable for her dietary needs.”
So, delighted with the response from her family and friends as well as uncertainty with her full-time job, Ruth decided to take a leap of faith and the idea for her business, ‘Mourne Brownies’ was born in October.
“My workplace had announced that there would be a considerable number of redundancies in the near future, so I had to look at what options I had.
“I researched what was needed to start my own business and completed a number of food safety/hygiene and allergy courses.
“I ordered a range of different boxes and decided on the one that I liked best.”
Ruth explained that she wanted something different to what other local businesses were providing.
She got in touch with a Kilkeel-based design company who designed her a logo, and she was then able to order her labels to put onto her boxes.
Ruth bakes her brownies in her kitchen at home mainly on a Friday and Saturday.
However, she is happy to accommodate special occasions too.
“I use Cadbury’s chocolate in all of my brownies and all the ingredients are of the best quality.
“The ingredients are freshly bought in each week for my orders going out.
“Each week I make a different flavour of brownie along with my original triple chocolate brownie.”
Other past flavours have included Cadbury’s Carmel, Terry’s Chocolate Orange, Milkyway Explosion and Malteaser.
Ruth has attributed her successful new business venture to lockdown and being able to have the opportunity to be more creative.
“I think the increase in small businesses starting up over the past number of months is definitely linked to people being so uncertain with what the future holds.
“The increased time at home has given people more options to do things they love which has led to a lot of creativity.
“I have really noticed this locally in the Mourne area and we have seen so many amazing new start-ups because of this.”
Ruth provides a collection service from her home in Kilkeel and can deliver in the local Mourne area.
Her business is rapidly expanding, and very recently she has been taking orders from customers in Belfast, Newry, and Lisburn.
Ruth had to adapt her business to meet customer needs and can now deliver throughout the whole of Northern Ireland using Royal Mail.
“The boxes I use are extremely sturdy enabling the brownies to remain well protected. I am now able to offer next day delivery throughout NI for a cost of £4.70.”
Ruth is also providing 10 per cent off all Wedding bookings made before December 31 for Mourne Brownies as wedding favours, Brownie Stack Wedding Cake or for gifts for the Bridal Party.
“I am very thankful for all the orders which have been placed so far.
“Local people have been so supportive in placing orders, sharing Mourne Brownies social media content, and writing positive comments.
“It really doesn’t go unnoticed and I appreciate everyone’s kind words and sentiments.”
Ruth added: “I couldn’t have started Mourne Brownies without my husband, Ned who has been so supportive.
“He has helped with building the boxes and is the taster for all my new flavours and most importantly he’s not afraid to tell me the truth if he doesn’t think a new flavour is going to work.
“I never imagined my small business would be as successful as it has been, and I hope it continues and look forward to what 2021 brings.”
For more information or to place an order, check out Mourne Brownies Facebook page: