Country Cottage Cupcakes

Country Cottage Cupcakes
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Early taste of success for cupcake start-up

“The Hub have been invaluable with all of the advice they’ve offered. They’ve made me think of things that I’d never considered before. They have been a continuous support.”

Lesley Balmer, Owner, Country Cottage Cupcakes


  • Received advice before setting up and ongoing support
  • Helped to make connections in the business community
  • Aiming to turn the business into a full-time occupation


Lesley Balmer loves baking cupcakes, but thought she could see a problem with the usual business model for selling them. She considered that very often the products were too expensive, and that many of the businesses making them didn’t seem to be sustainable. So she took a new approach.

Having refined her flavours and recipes to make her product something special, she created Country Cottage Cupcakes. Her business plan was to make her products cost-effective to produce without sacrificing quality – which has resulted in being able to retail cupcakes at often less than half the price of her competitors. She has capitalised on her effervescent character to make connections which open up new market places for her products, outside of the usual food fairs and events.

The business challenge

Lesley knew what she wanted to achieve and went to the Marches Growth Hub for start-up support. She followed advice not to start her business with debt and is working hard to establish her brand and reputation while still maintaining her day job.

She has equipped herself to produce her product in sufficient quantities and with all of the regulatory requirements around health and hygiene met or exceeded. Now she is working toward the goal of making Country Cottage Cupcakes her full-time business and growing it in a sustainable way, by creating a new corporate marketplace for her tasty creations.

How the Marches Growth Hub helped

Lesley was given a range of start-up support, from financial advice to business skills. She continues to avail herself of relevant courses, which she is kept informed of by the Marches Growth Hub team.

Lesley said: “I get emails from the Growth Hub team simply checking in now and then to see how I’m getting on. They seem to remember everything about me and my business and that makes you feel really special, like they’re only supporting you, rather than the probably hundreds of other businesses they are also helping!”

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