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    How diversification led to a “Truly Scrumptious” business endeavour for Food alumna

    14 March 2023

    Food graduate Sophie Jones established Truly Scrumptious, a baking and catering business, from her home farm, Aberbran Fach in 2017 after graduating from Harper Adams University in 2016.

    Having explored her passion for baking at a young age, Sophie developed her catering skills in her final years at college and through her BSc (Hons) Food and Consumer Studies degree.

    With encouragement from her family, Sophie decided to set up Truly Scrumptious – whose full title is ‘Truly Scrumptious – Sophie Jones’ - as an additional source of income. Based along the A40 between Brecon and Llandeilo, she is making a strong contribution to the rural community and satisfying her sweet-toothed visitors.

    This was the topic of discussion at the recent YouTube webinar held by Farming Connect, Women as a Driving Force, where Sophie was one of three female panellists who spoke about the role women play in driving diversification forward in farming, and her experience first-hand with diversification on the family farm and through her business.

    Speaking at the webinar, Sophie said: “I think diversification is important with the family farm because the farm we run wouldn’t sustain the four of us - and it’s apparent already that diversification is in my family, so with mum being busy on the campsite and dad with his business, you’ve got that additional money coming in which is good.”

    “Also, if you’ve got skills - like I’ve been cooking since I was a child – I’ve grown these skills and I’m now going to use them in an activity which I enjoy, so I just think diversifying something you enjoy doing you won’t feel like you’re working.”

     
     
     
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    Sophie also spoke about topics from keeping the venture afloat during Covid to dealing with a scarcity of eggs in the current economic climate – but emphasised she has remained positive and adapted throughout.

    “I suppose Covid was a bit of an issue for me because there was no socialising going on, no buffets, parties, birthdays allowed to carry on, but I adapted to the challenge, and I ended up actually making a success out of covid.  I made afternoon tea boxes, so although people couldn’t meet face-to-face, they wanted me to deliver something to their houses for these people with a little message in the box. So I made it over that hurdle, but now I’m faced with a scarcity of eggs at the moment, so hopefully something will happen soon.”

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     Despite being busy working on her business venture, growing up on her family farm means farming has always been in her blood, so she still helps out when she has time.

    “Of course, in the business I’m in, there are longer and shorter days but when I’m quieter I always know I can pop to the farm to carry on my chores there and help where I can.”

    Speaking afterwards, Sophie said: “Having been a part of the event, it was great to hear the stories and opinions of the other guest speakers that evening. The accompanying guests, the chief shepherdess Zoe Colville and Angharad Williams were two inspiring ladies that both brought new ventures and business ideas to the audience.

    “It has to be said that all individuals have faced many challenges during their journeys. The event was a great success for Farming Connect, and for me as I have been able to learn and adapt new skills for my business.

    “From the event, it was shown that women in the agricultural industry are becoming more developed and successful diversification is being carried out by hard working, committed individuals giving their all into the journey.”

    With Sophie’s work now inspiring others, she has some advice of her own for those seeking to follow in her footsteps – in both academia and business. She added: “I enjoyed my time at Harper and my placement year at Ludlow Food Centre allowed me to gain the knowledge and practical skills that are inevitable in my business today. The course was a mix of practical and written elements which for me worked really well. My time at Harper was most enjoyable – I learnt new skills and met great friends.

    “Starting a business can be quite daunting. For anyone looking to establish their own business, you must know who your target audience are, what they are wanting, and then commit your time into developing the products and business. Working in the food industry requires long hours of work and weekend work, especially when providing buffets and cakes for parties and celebrations. It will take a lot of time, you will face challenges, but don't let any negatives put you down.”

    How diversification led to a “Truly Scrumptious” business endeavour for Food alumna

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