Project Warwickshire helps The Dough House to rise
"The Dough House is exactly the sort of creative, talent-driven small business that makes our towns and our county such a joy to visit. I am delighted that Project Warwickshire has been so effective in helping Fulden to advance with her growth plans."
A thriving Stratford business that literally started at a kitchen table is seeing sales rise after moving into a new venue in the town and widening its customer-base.
The Dough House was founded by Fulden Tur in her home four years ago after she gave up her corporate career to offer clients the chance to learn how to create their own traditional afternoon teas before getting to enjoy their creations.
It has now moved into a quaint venue in Ely Street in the town centre and, as well as attracting bookings from individuals and private groups, has become a hit with corporate clients too. Eighty per cent of its sales in May was from business customers, including a group from Aldi’s head office.
The Dough House has also expanded its experiences to include pasta making, flatbread and meze making, sourdough pizza making and a Shakespearean cooking experience.
The business survived the height of the pandemic by selling produce and emerged from it with plans for growth, including finding premises where it could bring together more people at one time. To support that growth, Fulden, who was trained by a range of organisations including Cordon Bleu in Paris, was introduced to the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce by a contact at Shakespeare’s England.
The business was eligible for support through Project Warwickshire – a free recovery and growth business support programme to help companies in the tourism, leisure and hospitality sectors in the county, in the wake of the of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Project Warwickshire is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Warwickshire County Council. The support is delivered by Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with Shakespeare’s England and Northern Warwickshire Tourism, on behalf of Warwickshire County Council.
Chamber business adviser Russell Grant worked with Fulden to create a business plan for growth and also supported an application for a capital grant towards the refurbishment of the property, which was formerly a hair salon. The grant, for almost £15,000, was awarded through Coventry City Council.
Fulden, who employs four people and is looking to add to the team in the next few months, said: “It is amazing to have our own space in the town centre and the response has been wonderful. As soon as I walked through the door, I knew I wanted to bring the business here and it’s helping to take us to a new level.
“I’d started to think about how I could grow at the end of last year and I put a post on social media. A contact at Shakespeare’s England got back to me and said I should speak to the Chamber. Russell was really helpful and talked through my ideas and helped me to create a business plan for growth. He also identified that there was an opportunity for grant funding and, with his help, the application was successful.
“Part of the plan was to really start to look at the corporate market and that is already proving to be huge for us. We had some major bookings in May with some very well-known companies bringing teams of people here to enjoy the experiences. That is an area of the business we feel we can continue to grow.
“I also work with other local companies which is good for the regional economy, including Katherine Attreed-Atkat Marketing, who has helped to support me on my marketing plan.”
Russell said: “It has been great to work with Fulden and to be able to support the business’ growth. It really highlights how well the eco-system of business support works in the region – from the initial introduction through to all of the help we were able to give. The fact that it has helped the business move into new premises and also grow and diversify its client-base is testament to that.”
Warwickshire County Council's Portfolio Holder for Economy & Place, Cllr Martin Watson, said: "The Dough House is exactly the sort of creative, talent-driven small business that makes our towns and our county such a joy to visit. I am delighted that Project Warwickshire, which Warwickshire County Council is proud to co-fund, has been so effective in helping Fulden to advance with her growth plans."