Local Wedding Suppliers Part 2: Compton & Kennedy’s Emporium
Last month (before the lockdown) I met with the lovely Gwen (Compton) and Lindsey (Kennedy) of their eponymous Emporium to talk about cake, weddings, photography, and … more cake! We met in Gwen’s lovely home kitchen-diner-come-workspace on the fringe of Market Harborough.
Lindsey was busy making an icing-horse, whilst Gwen completed the finishing touches and – quite literally – put the icing on the cake.
What do you like to be called – bakers? Wedding cake designers?
We are both of those things! Our recipes have been tried, tested and perfected over the years and we apply skill and creativity into creating a design to producing the finished product.
What was the trigger that made you realise you could turn your hobby into a business?
We have always baked for family and friends and when we were teaching, we used to take our cakes into the staff room where they were always greeted with great enthusiasm! Then people started asking could we make a birthday cake for them and it kind of grew from there really. We started 6 years ago on a part time basis making our cakes and entered a couple of competitions where we won awards and this gave us the confidence to give up teaching and commit full time to our cakes. That was three years ago and we haven’t looked back since!
How much of your business would you say is local trade, and how important is the local market to you?
The majority of our trade is local to Northamptonshire and Leicestershire however as we have become more well know on the wedding cake circuit, we have delivered our wedding cakes much further including Oxford, the Cotswolds and Glasgow! The local market is very important to us and we try to use local suppliers as much as possible. For example, our eggs come from a local farm.
If someone says “I don’t know what I want for my wedding cake!” what would you suggest to begin with?
We like to get to know our couples and when we hold a cake design consultation with them, we find out firstly what style of wedding they are having, the colour schemes or theme etc. We then come up with a basic design to which we collaborate with them to make their cake unique and personal to them. You’d be surprised at some of the things we’ve added to cakes to make them more meaningful to our couples! Ducks, basketballs, ski lifts and Edinburgh castle – anything goes!
When should I book you for my wedding?
We find couples fall into 2 categories – the first is super organised and have booked their cake 2 years in advance and the second is the last minute kind and they ask for a cake three months before the event! The summer months are always popular and book up fast and well in advance so we would suggest you talk to us sooner rather than later!
Where is your favourite wedding venue?
There are so many and every wedding is different whether you’re holding the wedding in a marquee, in a barn, hotel or stately home. We can’t possible choose!
What’s the strangest request you’ve ever had, or the biggest/most extravagant cake you’ve had commissioned?
The strangest request must be the time we were asked to make a model of a mobility scooter with the mother-in-law driving it to go on a wedding cake! The most extravagant cake was our suitcases and world globe cake. We love to make the more unusual cakes! In fact, we have one coming up in April which will be modelled on Rockingham Castle with a Steam Punk twist. Watch this space!
What’s your personal favourite type of cake, both to eat and as a wedding cake?
Believe it or not neither of us eats cake! I think when you work with it day in day out it doesn’t feel like a treat anymore. Having said that we love experimenting with flavours and pushing the boundaries of flavour combinations such as Strawberry with fresh basil or incorporating a tipple or two such as our spiced gin and ginger!
What are the current trends?
Hexagonal shapes and marbling however the naked style cake still remains a firm favourite.
How does photography play a role with wedding cakes for you?
It’s very important that we have a photo of our cake. We spend hours creating each one and it gets eaten in minutes so it’s great to look back at our accomplishments. We love receiving photos from our couples cutting their cakes. It makes us feel so proud and privileged that we were able to contribute to their special day.
It was with that closing statement about how each supplier feels not just proud, but also privileged to have been chosen by the couple to be a jigsaw-piece in the final tapestry of the wedding day that resonated with me. Many people can bake, and likewise anyone can take a picture. However taking the time to get to know your wedding couple, and combining that with a professional standard of skill and passion is what makes both of our businesses alike stand out. I sincerely hope to bump into a C&K creation at a wedding on day, and hopefully – just hopefully – there will be some cake going spare.