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Young Entrepreneur from Neath Port Talbot Turns Hobby into Thriving Business

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A 20-year-old entrepreneur from Neath Port Talbot is tickling the tastebuds of locals with the launch of her own catering business, thanks to support from Big Ideas Wales.

Poppi Kingsepp, from the village of Jersey Marine, launched Beautiful Buffets at the end of last year from her family kitchen, a place where she’d often find solace during difficult times.

With a passion for baking passed down from her mother and grandmother, Poppi’s business offers a range of menus to cater for events of varying sizes. Beautiful Buffets has already proven popular with locals for its ethos of fresh homemade food, including Poppi’s hand-crafted canapes and desserts, and grazing platter centrepieces.

Before launching Beautiful Buffets, Poppi studied art and design at Neath Port Talbot college and now applies her artistic skills to decorating her renowned cakes and desserts. Then, at the age of 18, after her parents separated, Poppi took to the kitchen to cook heart-warming meals and sweet desserts in an effort to raise the spirits of her mother, Tammerson and brother Harri, 16, both of whom have their own small roles within the business today. Her grazing platters not only brought her family together but proved to be a form of therapy for Poppi who didn’t yet know she was building the bones of her business.

Lockdown proved to be the perfect opportunity for Poppi to plan and build the Beautiful Buffets business, with help from Big Ideas Wales. Big Ideas Wales is part of Business Wales and funded by Welsh Government to support entrepreneurship in Wales. The service is aimed at anyone between the age of 5 and 25 who wants to develop a business idea, including students and graduates, as part of its commitment to the Young Person’s Guarantee.

As part of plans to encourage more entrepreneurship in Wales, the Young Person’s Start Up Grant was announced on 21 June. This new grant will be delivered by Big Ideas Wales and will support 1,200 young people that are unemployed, left education or training in the early stage of business to become self-employed by accessing grants of up to £2,000.

Poppi said:

“I have always loved cooking, but today cooking means something completely new to me. My therapeutic hobby has not only allowed me to bond with my family during some challenging times, with my mother supporting with the delivering of Beautiful Buffets and my brother acting as a personal taste tester, but it has enabled me to become a successful businesswoman.”

The smorgasbord of options available on the Beautiful Buffets website allows customers to pick and choose event catering that fits within their budget, with prices ranging from £30 for a small crudités platter to £127 for a seafood platter.

Since gaining the support of Big Ideas Wales last year, Poppi has attended culinary and catering courses, completed the Level 2 Hygiene and Health Awareness and Allergy Awareness courses, and received valuable advice and resources that have supported her in launching her own business.

In speaking about the support Big Ideas Wales offered, Poppi said:

“Launching a business in the post-pandemic hospitality sector proved to be a challenge, especially for myself, someone who knew absolutely nothing about business. That’s why it’s so good to know that Big Ideas Wales was there to support me and my business during this time.

“Big Ideas Wales had so much valuable advice to offer me as a young entrepreneur and supplied me with the tools I needed to navigate this industry. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my business advisor, Amanda, that turned up to each and every one of our weekly progress meetings armed with useful advice, helpful resources and lots of assets to help grow my business.”

Big Ideas Wales also supported Poppi in her successful application for a Barriers to Business Grant of £2,000 which Poppi put towards more appliances for her business, including additional fridges and hot plates to help her branch out into hot food catering at larger events – all of which also contributed to Poppi receiving a 5-star food hygiene rating this month.

Big Ideas Wales business advisor, Amanda Bordessa said:

“It is such a pleasure to see Poppi’s catering business grow during such uncertain times. Poppi is testament to how hard work and dedication are the most important tools to building and launching a successful start-up business. Both she and her family should be very proud of the business, and I look forward to watching it grow.”

Alongside broadening her delicious offerings and catering to larger events, Poppi has ambitions to open her own small shop alongside her online business, where she can meet with customers and sit down to discuss bespoke menus for their events.

To view Poppi’s website, go to www.beautifulbuffets.org

Has this inspired you to kick start your business idea? Visit www.bigideas.wales to get started