[quote style=”boxed”]The only one thing I would do differently would be not to “act up” in my late teens, to have completed my A-levels and gone to university. That said, I have a wonderful family and now have my own business doing something I love. Qualifications, at the end of the day, are just pieces of paper. (I might have made it here faster if I’d had them. Who knows?)[/quote]
Ruth Clemens is the baking blogger behind the The Pink Whisk, and is a self-confessed “Manic Mummy Baker Extraordinaire.” She came second in the very first series of BBC2’s The Great British Bake Off in 2010. Ruth now works with major UK brands on baking related projects, demonstrations, and recipe commissions for magazines, and is author of The Busy Girl’s Guide to Cake Decorating, published by David & Charles in April of 2012.
What are you working on right now?
I’m developing recipes for National Baking Week 2012 and working on recipes for the first of two books I’m writing this year.
Where did the idea for The Pink Whisk come from?
Having taken part in the first series of The Great British Bake Off, I found I really enjoyed developing my own recipes. Setting up The Pink Whisk, my baking blog, was to a way to carry on doing that until the business took off.
What does your typical day look like?
It involves the usual malarkey getting the children to school. Then I go home and turn the oven on! I usually try to get something in the oven, baking, and then I flit between the kitchen and the laptop doing administrative work. Some days, recipes work quickly, and on other days they don’t–so there’s no way of telling how things will go. Soon after it’s time to pick the kids from school, and work stops until later on when they’re all in bed and I then finish off anything from earlier and decide on a plan for the following day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I make sketch plans of recipes, but find the best way is to get in the kitchen and experiment. Usually things become clear when I have a spatula in hand!
What’s one trend that really excites you?
For me it’s the whole baking trend; it’s in a full throttle resurgence. I’ve always loved baking, but to have the nation loving it too is great!
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I think I’ve enjoyed all the jobs I’ve done, but a lot of them were in customer service in one form or another. I’ve learned that if you want things to go your way, you’re far better off being nice to the person you’re complaining to, as everyone hates a stroppy customer!
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
The only one thing I would do differently would be not to “act up” in my late teens, to have completed my A-levels and gone to university. That said, I have a wonderful family and now have my own business doing something I love. Qualifications, at the end of the day, are just pieces of paper. (I might have made it here faster if I’d had them. Who knows?)
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Believe in yourself! It’s something I am actually very bad at doing, but if you can achieve that, you can achieve anything.
What is one problem you encountered as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I struggle most with spending a lot of time on my own and the isolation I can feel as a result. I’ve always worked in the past being surrounded by people, so miss talking through ideas and situations with others. I try to make sure I get out once a day, even if it’s just for a quick trip to the shops to stock up on ingredients. If not that, a few quick chats via Twitter do the trick, along with a cup of tea and a biscuit!
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Don’t discount a business idea that’s based around a hobby. I’d never have thought I could change my baking hobby into a successful business, but I did. You can too, so go for it! It takes hard work and determination, and I still have yet to see the big bucks, but I love doing it and have had some fantastic opportunities.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
I went to Rwanda with Save the Children to support their No Child Born to Die campaign. The conditions I saw there were unbelievable. When I came back I was very angry with the world, and it has been difficult to deal with that. There is such inequality, pain and suffering in the world, including in the UK. There’s also a huge feeling of apathy for the charities trying to change things.
If I could change one thing it would be for more people to support charities, and I’m not talking monetary donations. I’m talking about simple things, such as signing petitions or raising awareness; these actions would actually work wonders.
Apathy isn’t something I can change, but I will continue to support worthwhile charities where and when I can.
Tell us a secret.
My lips are sealed. If I’m trusted with a secret it stays exactly that!
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
- Twitter for chatting and making friends and contacts
- WordPress for starting and managing my own blog
- Google for finding out everything and anything
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
- @dan_lepard for fabulous bread, baking, recipes and baking help
- @mashable for brilliant Internet news and tech tips
- @MartinSLewis on money-saving, offers, advice and chats
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I laugh a lot at the children (who doesn’t?), but the last time I laughed out loud was at my sister’s wedding. She had a photo booth, similar to a passport photo booth, where everyone crammed in to takes four pictures that were timed ten seconds apart. So we had ten seconds to change costumes (wigs, hats and funny specs). I laughed so much my ribs hurt for days afterwards!
Who is your hero?
My heroine of a long time is Jane Asher–an old-school “Queen of Cakes” (and I’d have loved to have her red hair too!).
What’s the key to successful baking?
The key is to measure ingredients exactly, follow the methods and set your oven temperature with an oven thermometer (it will give you reliable, repeatable results)!
What’s your favorite way to spend your spare time?
With family and friends, chatting and relaxing with a slice of cake or two!