Bay Burdett, 35, was born and raised in Cheltenham and studied Creative Advertising at University before embarking on a career in Sales & Marketing roles.
Bay was diagnosed with IBS in 2015, after years of suffering debilitating IBS symptoms and was advised to follow a Low FODMAP Diet. The low FODMAP Diet requires you to eliminate foods high in FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols – or to put it more simply short-chained carbohydrates and sugar alcohols), which can be naturally found in foods such as onion, garlic, lentils and wheat.
Bay soon realised there were few convenient, good tasting, Low FODMAP foods available in the UK and having found out that now that 20% of the world population are diagnosed with IBS, she knew she couldn’t be the only one looking for the foods which don’t contain hard-to-digest ingredients. And so, Bay’s Kitchen was born!
Bay has been running Bay’s Kitchen for over 5 years and is very excited for what the next chapter will bring.
Thank you for interviewing with us today, can you introduce yourself to us?
I’m Bay, Founder & CEO of Bay’s Kitchen. I’m 35, live in Cheltenham and have a gorgeous 18 month old daughter.
Can you take us through your journey to where you are now?
I always wanted to run my own business, but I just didn’t know what I wanted to do. In 2015 I was diagnosed with IBS, after years of suffering debilitating symptoms and was advised to follow a Low FODMAP Diet. (The low FODMAP Diet requires you to eliminate foods high in FODMAPs which can be naturally found in foods such as onion, garlic, lentils and wheat.)
After lots of research into the diet and condition I found there were few convenient, Low FODMAP foods available in the UK and found out that that 20% of the population are diagnosed with IBS, and so I knew there were millions more people looking for the foods which don’t contain hard-to-digest ingredients. And so, the idea for Bay’s Kitchen came to me!
Since then we have launched a food & symptom diary as well as 25 delicious foods which are all IBS friendly, gluten free and dairy free. We sell our products on our website, Amazon, Ocado and to independent retailers and are currently in talks with a major supermarket.
Since starting, have you made any changes to your business model?
Earlier this year we changed to focus on our own website channel and PR, to build the brand and awareness of our products. We wanted to pout the effort into the channel we can control rather than keep trying with retailers with a brand they have never heard of – it’s worked though as we are now in deep talks with a major supermarket for a listing in early 2024!
Have you ever had a mentor? If so how has this benefitted you either personally or professionally?
Yes, I found a mentor in the early stage of the business and he then came on board to be our Commercial Director. His experience was extremely valuable to the business in the early days, and helped provide me with guidance as I had entered an industry I knew nothing about!
What outlets do use for marketing?
We mainly do digital marketing, so through the likes of Google Ads, Meta Ads, TikTok ads and then organically through our social channels. We do also attend relevant shows when we can to meet our customers face-to-face.
What or Who has inspired you most recently?
I’m going to cheat a bit with this one, as my biggest inspiration wasn’t that recent! It was at the very beginning – I found out about the Founder of Ella’s Kitchen – Paul Lindley – he was a chartered accountant by trade, with no experience in the food industry, yet he had an idea round his kitchen table for tasty, healthy baby food in convenient packaging and he went on to build a phenomenal brand. If he could do it, why couldn’t I? So I contacted him and he very kindly sent me lots of links to video interviews he had done about starting and growing his business and the pitfalls to avoid etc and so I followed in his footsteps. He’s a huge inspiration to me and I contacted him in April on our 5 year anniversary of trading, and thanked him for his help and he responded and was so kind yet again.
What is the best piece of business advice you have received to date?
To celebrate the wins, no matter how small, so when the bad times happen they don’t seem as bad or as regular. It’s too easy to dwell on the bad times and not celebrate when things are going well.
How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?
This has become much easier since having my daughter. I have the usual mum/entrepreneur guilt where you don’t feel like you are doing either ‘job’ well, but I do try my hardest to carve out time, so when I am working that’s my sole focus and when I am being mum, my daughter is my focus and I don’t let work interfere. I love spending time with my daughter and don’t want to miss out on her growing up, so I have a much more balanced work and personal life than I used to, and it’s benefited me so much as I really have to focus and prioritise now when working to get everything done.
Name a seminal point in your career so far?
Gaining the listing with Ocado, just 3 months after launching our first products. Having a grocery buyer believe in my brand and products and want to stock them was just amazing, and gave me the confidence and reassurance I had created something good, that people wanted. If we hadn’t secured that listing so early on, I don’t know if I would have had the confidence and resilience to grow the brand to where I have.
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
Enjoying my job! Work-wise, nothing is more satisfying in my opinion, than enjoying the job you are doing everyday. I would hate to have a job that I didn’t look forward to, where Monday’s would be a dreaded day after a weekend. Enjoying my job and having a team who enjoy their jobs is incredibly satisfying.
Are there any leading entrepreneurs or SME leaders that you admire and if so, why?
Amy Moring – Co-Founder of Hunter & Gather. She started her food business at a similar time to me, and has achieved phenomenal growth and success. She is always happy to share her knowledge, tips and offer advice, she does loads of interviews, webinars, and has really built a name for herself.
Paul Lindley – Ella’s Kitchen – as mentioned above!
How do you define your own success?
By achieving my goals I set myself, no matter how small. When I started out I wanted to see my products on a supermarket shelf and the day that first happened was such a proud moment in my journey and I felt the success. Since then I have set many more goals, some I have achieved and some I am still working on, but as long as I am moving forwards I feel successful.
Finally, what can we expect from you next?
We are currently seeking a large amount of investment to supercharge our growth, and we are in talks with one of the UKs largest supermarkets for a listing – if and when both of these happen, it will be a huge moment for Bay’s Kitchen and really change the journey we are on for the better. Watch this space!