As they say on The Greatest Showman – This is Me!!!! Some of you may already know me well but for those of you that don’t, here I am (warts and all!!!).
I am Debbie Gillespie, wife, mother to two humans (Sam and Cate) and a chicken called Cookie, and a wedding cake designer based in the beautiful West Yorkshire countryside just outside of Huddersfield.
My desire is to create beautiful wedding cake designs that are a little out of the ordinary and are completely personal to the couple. All my designs are bespoke and as I am surrounded by beautiful hills and trees, there is a strong emphasis on natural textures, bold florals and a warm and rustic woodland vibe. However, I am also partial to a little whimsy and am not afraid to go completely crazy. At the end of the day, my passion is to ensure that couples have the wedding of their dreams, their design should have no compromise and the only limitation is their imagination!
You could say I have been around a bit (in the nicest possible sense!!).
I started out my working career as a secretary, a job which started locally in Essex and then led me to a career in the Diplomatic Service. During this time, I spent 4 years in Westminster and then 2 years in Manila as PA to the Deputy British Ambassador to the Philippines (I did go to Ambassador’s parties and no they don’t serve Ferrero Rocher – you’d be surprised how many people have asked me that!).
During my time overseas, I decided that I wanted a career which was more fulfilling and ‘gave something back’. I did some extra study, got some work experience in the local hospital and applied to university. I subsequently moved back to the UK, attended the University of Bradford and obtained a BSc (Hons) in Physiotherapy. Whilst at university, I met my now husband and decided to stay in Yorkshire, setting up home in Huddersfield and spent the next 13 years in the NHS doing a job that I loved.
A business is born
In 2005 I got married and decided (stupidly!) that I would make my own wedding cake. Here started a love affair with baking (my colleagues were happy to quality control) and gave me the creative outlet for the love of art that had been suppressed during my working life. Two kids came along and I started to make things for them and then others as the word spread. In 2014, after struggling with the demands of a work-life balance, I left the NHS to devote more time to my cake business, a career that I could tailor to the needs of my family. And the rest as they say is history!!!
Over the last 3 years, the business has gone from strength to strength. I scaled back the birthday and celebration side in January 2016, deciding to specialise in weddings only which has seen an increase from an initial 5 weddings to over 30 a year. However, I do limit the amount of bookings I will take on as I want to maintain a personal service and to devote the time and care that each wedding commission deserves. In 2015, I was nominated in the Yorkshire Wedding Cakes category of the North of England Wedding Awards. On this occasion I was a finalist but scooped the title the following year. This award was especially important as it was voted for by my customers and recognises excellence in customer service, the very foundation that my business is built upon.
And Now …….
My plans for 2018 are to continue my wedding work and be recognised within the Yorkshire region as the go-to wedding cake designer for handpainted, rustic woodland and outdoor weddings and wedding cakes with a difference. I am also planning to set up beginners workshops for both adults and children, to be able to pass on my knowledge and hopefully my love for the art of baking and sugarcraft and well, to give just a little something back.
And not a lot of people know that!
Here’s just a few little things you won’t know about me!
- Whilst overseas, I met Prince Charles, the Duke of Gloucester and accidentally winked at Prince Andrew (he smiled back and I didn’t get told off!)
- I am an advanced scuba diver
- My favourite TV programme is The Big Bang Theory but my biggest guilty pleasure is Neighbours
- I once flew on the Queen’s flight from Barcelona. My mum asked me what it was like and all I could mention was that they served 6 different types of cake (you could say my future career was inevitable)
- My favourite cake is coffee and walnut although I am partial to a rich fruit cake with a slice of Wensleydale – well when in Yorkshire!!!!!
- My favourite place in the whole wide world is Whitby, where I plan to spend my retirement in a little cottage by the sea.