Natalie Allen

When did you realise you definitely wanted to open Sweet Things, what was the lightbulb moment?

I was a Project Manager in the City, with a great passion for food that needed to be unleashed! As we all spend so many hours per day working, I thought it best to thoroughly enjoy work, as opposed to purely working to earn a living.

So after getting married 11 years ago, I decided with the support of my husband to go and live the dream. And the rest is history.

You were on Masterchef a while ago – did you learn anything from the experience?

It was an incredible experience. It definitely encouraged me to leave my City job and pursue my dream.

Why did you decide now was the time to expand, and why Notting Hill?

10 years in business and two children later, the timing was perfect. It was good to expand slowly, I regularly see too many business growing quickly and hence failing.

Notting Hill has many similarities to Primrose Hill: lots of character, many young families living locally and close to a toy shop like Primrose Hill, so the area attracts families.

How do the two branches differ from each other?

Primrose Hill is more aimed at children, seen in our signature sprinkle tables and cake sprinkle jars in the window. Notting Hill is more of a grown-up coffee shop and more.

Why have you decided to go cashless in the Notting Hill branch?

Many reasons—less attractive to potential thieves, quicker queue management, no issue with fraudulent notes, very modern, easier for staff, more hygienic, banking, and so on.

What is the company philosophy?

Cakes, cupcakes and gelato made with love using all-natural ingredients sourced locally where possible.

Where are your favourite places in west London—other than your own shops!—to eat and be entertained?

Granger & Co on Westbourne Grove for brunch, the Italian Mediterraneo for lunch and E&O for dinner, perhaps not all in the same day!

What was the last book you read?

A cook book—Sirocco by Sabrina Ghayour.

What would your perfect day out in London involve?

Amazing food, family and friends.

What’s next? What are your goals for Sweet Things and beyond?

Perhaps a third shop in a year or so. Never say never…

Natalie Allen is founder and director of Sweet Things bakery and shop, which has two branches in Notting Hill and Primrose Hill and also caters events

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