Who doesn’t love a good pie? Business owner Clare built on what was a fun hobby of baking and experimenting into her own business venture brandishing the best quality pies with her independent business Hello Good Pie, and has gone from strength to strength since beginning in 2019.
She crafts award winning pies and is a delight to attendees at regular sporting and musical events, all the while exploring ways to innovate the pie game. We asked her to pour the gravy on her journey in business so far:
What Inspired you to start my own business?
I had always dreamed of starting my own business since my early 20’s – my father was a business owner and I admired him as I grew up. As soon as I was old enough, I would often get involved in helping out with the business and respected him for being his own boss. As happens in life you sometimes take different paths and I eventually became a qualified social worker.
As you can imagine, the job brought a huge amount of stress and I turned to cooking which provided a lot of mindfulness: I would cook everything from curries to cakes and it wasn’t long before pies became my speciality. I would test out different flavours in my pies and realised almost ‘anything’ would work.
It was from this creating and experimenting that Hello Good Pie was founded and I finally took the plunge and decided to go for it in 2019.
We love the name of the business – where did the idea come from?
Initially I was going to call the business Pie or No Pie (I think that was the Brexit Influence), but I was listening to the radio one day (while baking) and The Beatles song ‘Hello, Goodbye’ came on – I thought that’s it. ‘I say Hello you say Good Pie!’
What is the most important lesson that you’ve learned whilst running your own business?
I look back at when I first started my business now and recognise how unprepared I was. I had no commercial catering experience, I hadn’t even used a Bain Marie, so talk about taking the ‘plunge’! You could imagine this feeling of being overwhelmed when my purpose built catering trailer arrived on my drive. I hadn’t even towed before!
What I did have though was the grit and determination to make Hello Good Pie work. I knew I had a great product (tried and tested on friends family and associates), and this gave me the boost I needed to take things one step at a time.
If you could go back now and give one piece of advice to yourself when starting up, what would it be?
Starting small in my local town, doing deliveries and Farmers Markets, before taking the leap to events was great as it allowed Hello Good Pie to develop a good customer base and fine tune my processes to increase my productivity and procedures in the kitchen. I think this, and having the backing of the NCASS team behind me to provide advice, as well as having the necessary systems to document everything you need to be compliant helped me move Hello Good Pie forward. The reassurance this gave me was next to nothing. So my advice would be to ‘use your NCASS account manager and Safety Management System’ – it is the best piece of advice I had when I first started. It will help especially if you were as ‘fresh as I was.’
This backing and support gave me the confidence to move into event catering. I can recall asking myself things like ‘how many pies should I make?’ Worrying what if it’s too much, too little etc. I soon realised that these worries are the same as everyone else has, and you quickly learn from other caterers that you meet at events, and also what it is that makes a great event.
What’s the one item every customer must try from your menu?
Since starting the business Hello Good Pie has moved from strength to strength. I realised that sports and music events are a winner for pies and food on the go and I’m now a regular trader at Glamorgan cricket ground. My Glamorgan Pie (Minced organic lamb & shallot in a red wine) was a Bronze award winner at the Melton Mowbray Pie Awards 2022, and it is a firm favourite at all my events. But for me it has to be the Breakfast Pie that’s a favourite: You have heard of a breakfast bap, so I thought why not a Breakfast Pie? Pork sausage, smoked bacon, fried potatoes, baked beans topped with scrambled egg, is one to hit the spot for any hungry customer!
In your opinion, what makes a good pie?
Don’t forget a pie is only a pie if it has a ‘base, a filling and is encased in a pastry top.’ (Melton Mowbray entry rules) That’s why Hello Good Pie always prides itself on having the right balance of pastry, flavour and filling in order to make that perfect pie and to make sure you have no disappointed customers. It’s the customers who inspire me with the drive to make great pies and they are my favourite part of my job.
I hadn’t realised before Hello Good Pie that pies are not just food, but that they bring about so many nostalgic memories for people and it’s always a nice moment to hear about these memories from my customers. I love that.