A message from Allie Thomas
We began baking on our kitchen table. Peter (my other half) and Goya (our Labrador-cross) soon grew to hate the smell of baking cheese, walls spattered with beetroot juice and flour dust tramped into the house!
A studio conversion was the answer! Peter converted a former brick-built garage into a little white box and after having it inspected and registered, we started baking for wholesale!
For the love of cheese, Ella (she’s my wonderful daughter in the cartoon) and I always wanted to provide something special and hand-made – just perfect for pairing with artisan cheeses, so we set about innovating crackers in every way we could.
Selling from baskets at Brecon Farmer’s Market we’d hit a winner. Graduating to trade fairs in London and attracting the best accounts and clients in the UK, other biscuit producers sat up to observe these quirky colourful savouries too, with all sorts of interesting developments!
We are sort of grown up now, I guess we are teenagers in the lifecycle of a family business and certainly micro in the scale of things. We create delicious bakery smells as a by-product from our industrial unit in beautiful Brecon, ploughing our own furrow and doing what’s right for our little Company.
Being myself, I mean really being myself with all of the arty idiosyncrasies, not suppressing the quirkiness and being accepted for who I am has been hard to achieve. For a while I thought owning a business was about being like other businesses, following a pattern of activities to be successful, but this is just not true. The more unique you are, the stronger your foundations and you have more to offer, difference in little things is essential for start ups.
Cradocs has found the best way to work for a company baking biscuits in a rural environment.
I’ve relaxed, I’m not always right, I don’t always have the best ideas, and it is a relief to trust the judgement of others with lived experience, to encourage and recognise difference, share our values, appreciate our collective, our drive and our tolerance. It makes us unique. And makes the bakery a good place to work too, bringing us customers we would never have thought would look at a cracker and think – I want to buy that and sell it to my customers, or I want to give that to my Dad for Fathers Day or Mum will chomp these with her favourite cheese on Sunday night!…… Cradocs is fun and also very scary!
We collaborate with some of the best cheese companies in the UK, we employ an all-female workforce: that’s just how it worked out! We encourage a Family First policy and we look out for each other. As a result, we have an amazing workforce family. Good health is a big thing here at the bakery although we do occasionally have a massive cheese and biscuit session!
The girls bring great ideas, respect others input and we work hard: we all want to grow and invest in new products, in our food safety and training and we intend to take it as far as we can!
With woman, wind and wave power, we’ve got energy covered! Cradocs banks ethically with the Co-operative Bank, and operates with SALSA accreditation. There’s a lot more to do. It’s a plan to reduce our packaging, look at our footprint and further reduce our waste. And of course introduce you to our new products, so, we’re always moving and looking forward. Thanks to our customers all over the UK – On-line, Wholesale, Retail and Hospitality.
2020 was the hardest year ever and we still have more to face. We wish you all good health and a big dose of True Grit to keep safe and keep you going. We will survive – we just need to keep our peckers up!
Huge Thanks to all who’ve helped us on our journey, you know who you are, we love you and love what you do!
Most of all, Cradoc’s baker-ladies and cracker-packers…..working right through the Pandemic and lockdowns, giving 100%. You are Gold!