Valentine’s Day marks a special celebration for business partners Chieko Clark and Carolyn Nicholas.
For one year ago today was the day the Haywards Heath mums tempted the buyer for Waitrose with their healthy ‘fruit and veg’ cupcakes.
Now, Carolyn and Chieko are celebrating their cakes on the shelves of 26 Waitrose branches with Waitrose in Burgess Hill becoming the first in Southern England.
Chieko said: “Yes, we do have to pinch ourselves that this is actually happening! It’s hard work but we believe in our product so much.”
The women’s Cuckoo Cupcakes by House of Cuckoo made with pureed fruit and vegetables now sell in Waitrose stores in Oxford Street, Bluewater, Canary Wharf, Edinburgh and Guernsey as well as Burgess Hill.
The mums, who have four children under six between them, started making their cakes in April 2011 using a 90-year-old Trenton New Jersey recipe handed down from Carolyn’s great-grandmother.
As their popularity grew they decided to branch out from birthday parties, christenings and fetes and drove themselves to Waitrose head office in Bracknell where they waited for the buyer responsible for cakes to appear from her office.
Chieko said: “It was Valentine’s Day so we had the cakes in a special Valentine’s Day box. She said ‘Oh, hello’ and we gave them to her and within a few days she had come back to us and said she really needed to speak to us.”
Their first cakes appeared in Waitrose stores last November and were launched in Waitrose in Burgess Hill last week where Carolyn and Chieko sold 78 of their four-cake boxes.
“It was really lovely just to be able to talk to people,” Chieko said. “They were amazingly supportive and so happy that their Waitrose had supported a local supplier.”
See more on Carolyn and Chieko’s amazing success story in next week’s Mid Sussex Times.