When the pandemic started in 2020, Meg Smith (pictured above, right) was completing her Accounting and Finance degree at the University of Bath’s School of Management.
A year later she was at the Bath Life Awards with girlfriend and co-founder of The Happy Donut Bakery, Nat Morris – the proud winners of the best new business category.
Their entrepreneurial journey began when Nat challenged herself to bake vegan donuts while on furlough. Word got out on Instagram, and before long she was baking to order and delivering the sweet treats around the city. After graduating, Meg took the plunge to co-run The Happy Donut Bakery full-time.
At the Bath Life Awards on 21 September 2021, they were declared winners of the new business category. The judges said: “Incredible bravery by two 23-year-old entrepreneurs to set up a bakery during the pandemic. Clever thinking, from its clear values to social media use to its delivery services."
We caught up with Meg after the awards to find out what's next...
How did it feel to be a finalist at the Bath Life Awards, and then hearing The Happy Donut Bakery called the winner?
Meg: It was all a bit crazy. We were on deliveries when we found out that, from 42 entrants, we'd been shortlisted. We didn't want to get our hopes up but, of course, deep down we wanted to win!
On the night of the awards, we were super nervous. Then our name was called, and we were both even more nervous to have to go up and make a speech!
Now that it's sunk in, we're so so happy and are beyond proud of ourselves. We genuinely work so hard and push ourselves to the absolute limit.
The Happy Donut is our life now – we’re not just the bakers, we're the cleaners, the admin assistant, the delivery drivers, the marketers and everything else that comes with building a business. This award has given us the boost we needed and reassurance that we are doing well.
How did your friends, family and followers react?
Everyone has been so supportive. We've been blown away by the love that Happy Donut has received. Across social media, we've had so many messages from our customers giving congratulations. It's been amazing.
What’s next for you and the business?
We'll be releasing two Halloween boxes soon, hosting three pop-up events, and collaborating with Lush (which is insane) for our donut flavour of the month.
Long term, we need a shop with a commercial kitchen to grow. The difficult thing is funding that. Our problem is that we're working at capacity but cannot hire without the additional kitchen space. Due to the hours we work, it's difficult to find the time to research funding options and we don't have the experience to know what would be realistic or not.
We're working on it, though, and have been lucky enough to receive grants from Santander Entrepreneurship Fund at the University of Bath, which is great. Now, it's a case of financing the remainder of the cost, finding a property, and getting our doors open.