My Early Hour: Rebecca Honeywell, Honeywell Bakes

Rebecca Honeywell-Ward

“My ideal weekend? A lazy morning followed by coffee and croissants. I’d then go for a ride, play with the kids in the garden and visit friends in the evening. Either that, or I’d be away somewhere exciting. I always have wanderlust,” says Rebecca, the founder of Honeywell Bakes…

Rebecca Honeywell-Ward, 35, lives in Northamptonshire with her husband Colin and their three children Isabella, six, Jessica, three, and Edward, eight months. “At the moment we’re also living with my parents, which is a great help with childcare!”

What’s your home like?
It’s in the country, surrounded by fields. We’re lucky to have a wonderful view and we have quite a few animals including dogs (one called Biscuit), donkeys, a shetland pony, chickens, ducks, sheep and goats.

What time are you up in the morning?
I drag myself out of bed as late as possible on weekdays so that’s 7.30am. I get my daughters up at 8am and we have 40 mins to get ready and off to school/pre-school. They are not natural morning people either.

What wakes you up?
My alarm on loud, Edward wanting a feed, or the noisy sheep outside telling us all it’s feeding time.

Rebecca Honeywell-Ward

How do you feel?
Usually groggy and in need of coffee.

What do you do first thing?
To wake up I have a bad habit of checking social media on my phone.

In three words, describe mornings in your home?
Weekday mornings are hectic, short and busy. At weekends it’s slow, lazy and unhurried.

Tea or coffee?
Mine’s a latte!

How might the rest of your day pan out?
I get to the bakery for 9.30am, and spend the morning answering emails and doing admin as well as creative direction. In the afternoon I often don chefs whites and get stuck in with icing, or carry on with creating social media content, organising bespoke orders, or dealing with things that have cropped up. I pick Isabella up at 3.15pm, and usually carry on with work at home on my laptop for a couple of hours. I try to get some fresh air at some point, usually a horse ride or walk. The girls are in bed at 8pm but Edward still is up a lot of the evening.

What’s your workspace like?
It’s a converted grain pit on a nearby farm with lovely high ceilings and beams. It’s very light and a lovely place to work. We have the oven and baking area at one end, an area for icing, a packing area and the office on a mezzanine floor.

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Where are the kids when you’re working?
Isabella is at school, and my husband or Mum look after Jessica (when she’s not at pre-school) and Edward. I’m out school hours.

Tell us about Honeywell Bakes: when did you launch, and how/why did it come about?
I started Honeywell Bakes with my sister about five years ago after the dessert table we designed for my daughter’s christening got a great reception. We fell into selling biscuits and about a year later, decided that would be our focus. Rosie left the business this year, and I’ve now taken on staff to help with all the making and baking.

What’s the greatest challenge when running your own business?
For me it’s focus and development. It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day, but to drive the business forward someone always needs to do some creative thinking and be on the ball with social media, marketing etc.

What makes it all worthwhile?
I love having a creative outlet and being my own boss.

Are there aspects of the production that you delegate to others?
I’ve made so many biscuits over the years that now I rarely bake and deal with day to day orders anymore. I really enjoy designing the new collections, working on social media, and doing the photography.

Are you a happy lone worker, or do you enjoy the buzz of a shared workspace?
I like a bit of a buzz. The bakery always has at least two other people there so I rarely work alone.

What’s the secret to career success?
I’d love to know! I think partly it’s persistence, it can take a while to build up a customer base (especially for a small business without a big marketing budget), and having a distinctive style. That combined with personal customer service has worked for us.

Is the juggle real for you… do you find it difficult balancing parenting/relationship/me-time/time for friends/career?
Yes, I work school hours but do feel like I’m juggling finding time to do everything I need for the business as well as having time for the family. At the moment my husband and I pass like ships in the night, we do need to find a bit of time to have date nights and a chance to chat without the kids needing something.

Describe an ideal weekend?
A lazy morning followed by coffee and croissants. I’d then go for a ride, play with the kids in the garden in the afternoon, and visit friends in the evening. Either that, or I’d be away somewhere exciting. I always have wanderlust.

If you could wake up anywhere tomorrow, where would it be?
Fiji. I’ve always wanted to go, and would love to wake up somewhere tropical. I’d dive straight into the sea and go snorkelling.