Ok, so by team at the moment it is just me (Lauren) and my army of family, friends and supporters, but over the next few months the team will grow so if you’re interested (and aged 16-24) keep an eye on the website for when recruitment begins.
Baked began life in 2013 when, after finishing my doctoral research and returning to my hometown of Worthing, I was trying to work out what I wanted to be when I grew up. A pretty lucky and exciting, but often stressful, position to be in.
Toying with the ideas of post-doctoral research, teaching and civil service jobs, nothing really stood out for me. I wanted to do something a bit more hands-on, a bit more applied, and to work on something that I felt had a clear, even small, positive impact on people’s lives.
Through my research career I had gained a wealth of skills and experience totally suitable for a job outside academia (an option when you’re in academia doesn’t really feel like, nor is really promoted, as an option). I had done, and I hasten to add, had really enjoyed doing, some interesting research on the power that big business has to dominate decision-making (available here should you feel inclined). I had met and worked with some amazing people and I had been lucky enough to be involved in, and enjoyed, working and engaging with students.
I had baked as a hobby throughout my time in research but particularly in the latter part, when deadlines were looming and comforts in the form of spongy, sugary goodness were on an equal level of importance as caffeine (red wine was also high on the list but not so acceptable mid-morning in the office). Baking became a means of escapism, totally separate from the world of political theory, and I loved it. And I ended up doing it a lot of it.
Come 2013 and I knew there had to be a way to combine all these strands. Doing something I loved, working and mentoring young people, that took a hands-on approach, in a way that would make the world (just even a little bit) better.
Baked was born.
Having grown up in Worthing, the decision to set up Baked here and make a real difference to the community of my hometown was an easy one. A decision made even easier by my sister, Katharine’s, announcement in early 2013 that she was pregnant. Staying in academia would have likely left me taking short-term contracts and continually chasing the work all over the country. A soon-to-be Auntie, this just didn’t appeal to me (and to be frank, it wasn’t hugely appealing prior to Katharine’s announcement but appears par for the course as an early stage researcher). Much like wanting to do something in my working life hands-on, I wanted to be, and modestly like to say I am, a hands-on Auntie.
The seed had been sown. Feelers went out, I started talking to interested parties and feasibility studies began. Could this work? Would this work? What would it working look like? I had an idea and now I had to implement it. Family and friends became invaluable sources of support especially as the decision was made to do it and the magnitude of the task ahead became evident (as an entrepreneur the learning curve is steep!).
And here I am. Awaiting to sign a lease and looking at a Spring 2014 launch. I can’t say that I ever even considered that I would be doing this post-research when I shimmied off to Norwich back in 2007; however, I have been lucky enough for various paths to cross that have provided an exciting opportunity. An opportunity I have taken.
Now the website is live I will keep you regularly updated on progress, the good and the bad (which, let’s face it, there are occasions of). Please do get in touch if you have any words of wisdom as I continue on this journey, or even if you just want to say hi. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me @cakewithacause.