Monthly Maidstone Spotlight – Cheran’s Bakery
For our next spotlight interview, we sat down with Cheran Friedman, founder of Cheran’s Bakery following their new store opening in Royal Star Arcade in Maidstone. The opening was part-funded by the KMBF Loan Scheme which has re-launched this November
When did you open your first shop and what inspired you to start your own business?
I’ve always enjoyed baking and creating sweet treats, my uncle suggested that I should “do something” with my baking and design skills so offered to put £50,000 into starting an online bakery hoping it would succeed. It took £150,000 and 3 months later but I then finally opened my first bakery in Sittingbourne.
In a very competitive market, what makes your cakes so special? Do you have a best seller that stands out?
I’ve always been a perfectionist and strive to achieve this with our bakes. A fine eye for detail and quality is across everything we do. Including how our shops are designed, our packaging, but most importantly using the best quality local ingredients, really sets us apart from the rest.
You have a number of outlets in different towns already, what made you choose the Maidstone?
We know Maidstone has a large population and the town centre gets very busy with tourists, visitors and people working in the town. A central location was an obvious next stop after our success in Sittingbourne. The more bakeries we have, gives us more opportunity to expand the businesses across the county.
What has been the biggest challenge so far in your business?
Like many start-ups its all about raising finance. It can be really tricky to find funding that is needed to start and grow a business these days and high street banks are not always the best option to lend.
What one piece of advice would you give to an entrepreneur looking to start up?
Always plan for the worst and hope for the best. I found that; everything will cost more than you anticipate, will take longer than you like, and be more stressful than you had planned! Try and concentrate on what you can control, if the business or idea is good enough, you will get there
Acknowledging the help that the Kent & Medway Business Fund – Innovation Loan was able to give you – how did you hear about the scheme?
I was struggling to find funding options that worked for me and I happened to search on Google and it cropped up, we were lucky to find the scheme.
How has this funding helped your business grow?
The funding has been crucial in securing the growth plans we wanted for the business, we simply wouldn’t have the stores if it wasn’t for the KMBF. When conventional funding is so few and far between, it was a fantastic help for us. The support provided by the KMBF team and locally from Maidstone Borough Council’s business support service, since we have arrived has been great. I always know that I have a business advisor at the end of the phone if I need support locally or someone to speak to about accessing finance opportunities.
What one tip could you give for any potential applicants looking at the scheme right now?
Make sure you have read the application criteria and guidance, provide as much information as possible to avoid any delays in the process. Especially if you are ready for the funding now. Other than that just go for it, we’re lucky to have access to these schemes in Kent!
Cheran’s Bakery received financial support from The Kent and Medway Business Fund. This funding provided 0% loans of up to £600,000 for SMEs across Kent. If you’d like to find out more, please visit https://www.kmbf.co.uk/