In February, Oundle’s Facebook community pages were introduced to The Delicious Factory, an online patisserie business run by Matthew and Lily Fullerton from their home in Lower Benefield, which has received huge success since its launch on Valentine’s Day this year.
They had often talked about doing cake stalls at local markets. “We were originally going to buy a horsebox and convert it into a mobile patisserie stop,” said Matthew. But when the pandemic restricted access to markets, they created a different business model, with online orders and delivery. They product tested, gathered photos, created a menu and launched their Facebook page in the middle of February.
Matthew said: “We got orders in the first three hours and about 6,000 views, and that was the start. It’s been hectic ever since.”
“The response has been amazing to be honest, we didn’t expect to have so much business so fast,” said Lily. “We found that social media is very powerful; as soon as we post something, people start ordering straightaway.”
They do free delivery in the local area. Most deliveries are within a five mile radius, but can range up to about ten miles.
Originally from Australia, Matthew has worked in hospitality and catering from all sides of the business. In the kitchen he prefers to do the breads and savouries. “Lily’s the supremo in the patisserie section; she does all the sweets and that’s hands down what the business is all about” said Matthew.
“I’ve never gone to baking school, but I used to cook a lot with my grandmother and that’s just how it started,” said Lily, who is from France, and has a background in events.
“I think everyone knows more or less how to bake in France; it’s just a way of life. I used to bake at home every Saturday or Sunday.”
The Fullertons started off baking professionally doing afternoon teas at the Cutty Sark in London. Matthew said: “We pitched to the booking’s coordinator, you got all these tour groups of people coming in, why don’t we serve them afternoon tea? So we started doing afternoon teas and they were a smash hit, weren’t they?”
He said to Lily, “It was all your macarons. We did some really great stuff, and it was very successful. It was a great crew there as well, probably one of my favourite places I ever worked.”
The Delicious Factory’s unique selling point is as an authentic French patisserie. Lily said: “In France, patisserie business is huge; you have patisseries and boulangeries everywhere and the French absolutely love their sweets. It’s very traditional; every Sunday they go to a patisserie and they buy cakes.”
Lily says that the best-selling item has been her lemon meringue tart, and has been surprised by how popular the clafoutis has been, a simple and traditional dish. “That’s something I quite enjoy doing because it’s very traditional from the southwest of France. It’s one of the recipes I used to do with my grandmother. It is the particular recipe that she used to do at home, so I grew up eating this clafoutis and just loving it.”
“Macarons are always a winner. Everyone raves about the macarons that we do,” said Matthew.
As for future plans, Matthew said: “We have all sorts of ideas for the future about how we are going to take it to the next step.” Their aspiration is to open a shop. “We want to get our house back, don’t we? It’s just turned into a patisserie kitchen, which is good, but it would be nice to have our house back,” said Matthew.
Lily added, “I think it’s still important to have a business working on social media.” Matthew agreed, “The online model has worked really well, and I think we’ll probably look at opening a shop but continue the delivery aspect of the business because it’s been very successful.”
Matthew said: “The response from the local community has been amazing, and we’ve had so much interest, so much positive feedback.”
To place orders, go to their Facebook page at The Delicious Factory.