Savannah Roqaa took up a hobby during the first lockdown – she launched an online bakery, selling brownies. Now she’s working all hours in order to meet the demand for her yummy bakes.
At 24, Savannah began baking in her Roundhay apartment’s small kitchen just to while away some time. Her online business now employs six full-time staff who work hard to fill customers’ orders, one of whom is Leeds and England footballer Kalvin Philips.
Savannah, who has previously worked as a makup artist, then as a nanny, thought baking would be both creative and educational for the children in her care. It was also an education for her, as she hadn’t baked before. She delivered the resulting bakes to the doorsteps of friends just to lift their spirits in our strangely changed world.
Inevitably, there was lots of social media sharing, followed by messages she received asking her to supply her brownies to complete strangers. It just wasn’t feasible to continue to produce her good from her kitchen, which didn’t accommodate 30 – 40 boxes of brownies a day, but friends with commercial kitchens allowed Savannah to use their premises.
The business now has 25,000 followers and mails out more than 500 boxes each week. It has found a home in commercial premises of its own, employing friends from the hospitality industry who unfortunately lost their jobs when the COVID restrictions set in.
Savannah was keen to mention older sister Tia, who also has an online business, Rocca Box:
“I watched my older sister set up her own online business and admired her dedication and drive; it was this drive and passion that inspired me to set up my own business. What started as something to make my friends happy in lockdown has now turned into a full-time business. My positive mindset and ambition have helped me through these difficult times, and I’m super grateful for the success I have achieved to date.”
So what next? Savannah doesn’t intend to open shop premises because she realises staying online is cost effective, but she does have the ambition to expand her market base, perhaps even beyond the UK.
She is thrilled with the success of The Savvy Baker’s first pop-up store, which was on Street Lane and sold 1,000 brownies in just 90 minutes. (Over 11 brownies a minute is not bad going!)
“I couldn’t believe my eyes! I could see people queuing right down the street and in less than 2 hours we had sold out!”
Try some yourself – and keep an eye out for more The Savvy Baker pop-ups here.
Photographs provided by Pink Gorilla.