Business School baker's recipe for success

30 Jan 2013 14:55:28.357

Recession — what recession? Armed with the knowledge gained during his MBA at Nottingham University Business School, Julian Anthoney and has wife Jelena have set up their own artisan bakery business Le Pain à la Main. And with hard work and a watertight business plan, they are determined to make it work.

It might be considered a risk to start this new business at a time when other businesses are going bust, but Julian’s not afraid of taking risks — especially calculated ones. In fact, it was the recession’s impact on his recruitment business which freed up his time to enrol on the MBA programme.

Julian said: “I took a specialist strain which was entrepreneurship. That covers all of the usual MBA modules but in particular they look at creativity, innovation management and something called entrepreneurship in practice.”

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Formalise a business plan

“The main thing is that it helped me formalise a business plan for this new venture in a way that I may not have done before. That’s because people with an entrepreneurial spirit tend to forge forward with ideas without correctly going through the planning process and looking at things constructively and seeing where the weaknesses are.”

In terms of choosing what business to pursue, it was easy. Taught to bake by her grandmother in Bosnia, Jelena had been harbouring the ambition to turn pro for years. And that’s why, despite the 4am starts six days a week and juggling baking with looking after Lola, six, and two-year-old Luka, she’s enjoying every minute — even working so closely with her husband.

Jelena said: “We complement each other. He’s very good at the business side and he does all of the strategy and planning. And then I’m a fish in water in the kitchen and more hands on.”

Unique selling point

But what’s so special about what Le Pain à la Main is offering that it’s worth launching in a recession? Like those on offer in the Parisian boulangerie in which they met, the couple make a range of fresh breads every day, as well as tarte au citron, strawberry tartlets and chocolate ganache tart with caramelised pear.

Rather than opening on their own, the pair work from newly refurbished premises in Lenton’s Primary, an artist-led space that was formerly Douglas Primary School, and sell to restaurants and delis.

Julian said: “Of course the recession was a consideration and we looked into this long and hard. But we’ve found that, regardless of the recession, people look to invest in and buy quality. We’re producing the very best we can using ingredients from France, Belgium and the UK.”

The Anthoneys sell their cakes and breads at The Park’s farmers’ market on the last Sunday of each month and at the Totally Local Melton Road market in West Bridgford on the first Saturday of each month.

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Story credits

More information is available from Dr Sophia Taylor, Nottingham University Business School, on +44 (0)115 84 6974,

Fraser Wilson - Communications Officer

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 846 6691 Location: University Park

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