Meet the makers: Bronwyn Wolfe

Why did Bron come to London from Australia? So she could go to Paris for the weekend! Bron tells us about her love of travel, Brixton – and selling cakes and biscuits on her Wolfe market stall.

1. Like many Australians, you like to travel. How did you end up in London?
I came over here in 1985 because I wanted to go to Paris for the weekend! In Australia you’re so isolated – it takes so long to get anywhere. So I loved the idea that I could live in London and be somewhere with different architecture and language in such a short hop. I bought a one-way ticket to London and stayed with a friend – we’d go to Paris, stay in a cheap hotel, and spend a shedload on earrings!

2. So would you rather live in France?
We used to have a house in south-west France, but we sold it a couple of months ago. And I haven’t been to Paris for years! But I love London. No matter what you’re interested in, you can find it here – you just need to look for it.

3. And have you always lived in this area around Brixton?
Yes – I find Brixton endlessly fascinating, endlessly changing and evolving. This Friday food market [on Station Road, where this interview took place] is just part of that. The shopping is amazing – like all those shops on Electric Avenue where you can buy 2kg bags of cinnamon!

4. So how do you find being a market trader?
I wasn’t sure about it at first, but I’m really enjoying it. Having a market stall seems to give you a licence to talk to anyone and everyone! It’s a really nice group of people here. But if you’d told me a year ago I’d be a stallholder at Brixton market I’d never have believed you!

5. Because your ambition is to open a café?
Yes – I gave up my job at a shipping company to do this. I really hated the job, and I thought the worst that could happen would be that the café would fail. I never thought it would never take off in the first place! I’ve had problems finding a site – most of the places never come onto the market, and those that do have a hefty premium. But I’m still looking!

6. Is that why you joined Makerhood instead?
I got the email about Makerhood and joined up, thinking it could be a small income, though I never thought I’d sell much directly, as it can be difficult to sell cakes online. But it was through Makerhood that I heard about this market and got this stall, and now I’m selling to a couple of café s, so hopefully it will build up. And Makerhood has been really good for meeting people and making good contacts. It’s nice to have a web of other local makers to interact with.

7. Apart from finding a suitable site, what’s the biggest challenge you face?
My biggest worry is making the right quantities of food to sell. Some of the stuff that’s left over goes to an old people’s home for their tea on Sundays, and my partner Giles takes some to work on Monday morning – he’s currently the most popular person in the office!

You can order Bron’s yummy savoury muffins, cakes and biscuits at http://brixton.makerhood.com/wolfe. She also has a stall at the weekly Friday food market and the monthly makers’ market (second Saturday of the month), both on Station Road, Brixton.

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New makers

We’re a bit behind on the blog due to holidays and the like, so a belated welcome to new makers who have set up stalls on Makerhood in the past couple of weeks.

Timothy Sutton Tim is a professional portrait painter who paints incredibly realistic portraits of both humans and dogs. He also organises the annual Urban Art Fair in Josephine Avenue, Brixton.
http://brixton.makerhood.com/timothy-sutton-portrait-painter

Rosie Makes Rosie Mo likes, well, making things. She takes photos of things that catch her eye, and her black and white prints are done by hand in a darkroom.
http://brixton.makerhood.com/rosie-makes

Rachel’s food Rachel Manley runs a popular food blog as well as a brunch and supper club. Check out her delicious macaroons!
http://brixton.makerhood.com/rachels-food

Gitas Portal For contemporary African-inspired ladies’ and children’s fashion, look no further. Fabulous ethnic prints and hand tie-dye and batik fabrics are turned into ready-to-wear and bespoke items, and proceeds are reinvested in the local economy.
http://brixton.makerhood.com/gitas-portal

Feast with Bron Bron is a professional cook and food lover who makes fresh biscuits and cakes, old-fashioned sweets and savoury muffins to order. Yum!
http://brixton.makerhood.com/feast-bron

Meet the makers: Carly Telford

Carly Telford is a self-taught cake maker whose repertoire has expanded from chocolate brownies to cup cakes and wedding cakes.

1. Why Pi Cakes?

I used to have a top with “Sweetie” written on it, so my friends nicknamed me “Pi” – without an “e” at the end, because two of them were American and said it with a southern drawl! Then when I was thinking about a name for my stall, Pi Cakes seemed appropriate because of the association of pies and cakes.

2. Have you always been fond of baking?

I only started around seven years ago. My mum didn’t cook much, so I had to teach myself. I spent a lot of time in America and I loved their chocolate brownies, but they didn’t taste the same over here – they were too dry. They should be crisp on top but moist and chewy in the middle. So I got a recipe off the internet and had a go at making them myself. The first batch was overcooked – but still tasted much better than anything I could buy commercially!

3. What made you decide to start selling your cakes to the public?

I started buying recipe books and experimenting with other recipes, like caramel shortbread, and all my friends and colleagues gave really constructive feedback. Then last year I made some brownies for my partner’s Christmas do and got several orders, including one from a café owner. This made me think that my cakes were good enough to sell.

4. How have you found dealing with the regulations for food makers?

I’ve done a lot of research. I’ve done the food hygiene certificates 1 and 2, and I’ve been inspected by Lambeth Council. It was a bit nerve-wracking – but a lot of it is common sense. I keep all my baking ingredients and utensils completely separate to ensure there is no cross-contamination.

5. How can Makerhood help you?

When I went to a Makerhood meeting and met Kristina and Karen I loved what they were trying to do. It really gave me the confidence to try selling my cakes online. I had thought about setting up my own website, but it was a very scary process. I already had some great photos of my cakes taken by Sami Dinelli, a colleague at work who is also a photographer. So I set up my stall immediately! I make everything fresh to order, so people can ask if they’d like a different colour or ingredients.

6. So what ambitions do you have for Pi Cakes in the future?

Ultimately I’d like to have my own tea or coffee shop, with all my cakes on display. I’m also expanding into wedding cakes – I’m making a two-tier cake and 80 cup cakes for a friend who’s getting married in October.

7. What’s your top tip for a bit of “hidden Brixton”?

My favourite place in Brixton is the Windmill pub on Blenheim Gardens, off Brixton Hill. It’s a fantastic music pub with great bands and dancing. It doesn’t look much from the outside, and the dog on the roof can be a bit offputting, but it’s a fantastic place.

You can get Carly’s amazing cakes here: http://brixton.makerhood.com/picakes