A Conversation With Luisa Pringle – Founder of Artisan bakery Abeille

0

Once a haven for the clandestine adulterer now a liberal hub of unadulterated creativity, Brighton is very much home to creative fashionistas… from old aged hippies to new age hipsters and anything in between. By Jaqueline Rattray

Reflecting on the enterprising nature of the town and the experiences of small business owners, this is a series of articles looking at Brighton life through the eyes of people who were either born in Brighton, or chose this inimitable seaside town as both their home and place of business.

Luisa Pringle has made Brighton her home for the last 13 years now. Founder of Brighton’s artisan bakery,  Abeille (pronunciation: a.be.i.) Bakery where she creates and styles eye-catchingly beautiful, botanically inspired cakes, she describes the development of her home run business over the years. I catch up with her on one of her rare days off and while she is on a visit to London. 

Brighton is a generously rich mix of sunshine hues, with lashings of individuality, artistry and fluidity. Add to this, a spoonful of the dynamics of city life minus the constraints of the 9 to 5 – and you get an understanding of why, once they arrive, many find it so hard to move away. And whether you’re born and bred or not, there is an allure for many to set up shop here.

How difficult was it to get it off the ground?

Sometimes I feel like I am still getting it off the ground. Anyone who has lived this probably feels like that but you have to reflect back in time to see how far you have come because when you are just going through the motions it is easy to feel like things are not moving along. You can feel like sometimes things aren’t moving quick enough.  

A decision which in these times has no doubt bore fruit…

“But I also like the ordering system because of the lack of waste.”Waste is built into Abeille’s business model and also sits easily with the ethos of the company. All the business’ practices support the local community. 

“We source ingredients as ethically as possible, working with local businesses and community projects in Sussex by purchasing predominantly from small -batch suppliers such as, grass-fed Knob-Butter and the wholesomely produced organic, free range eggs from The Mac’s Farm.”

What Luisa does produce is a kaleidoscope of culinary colour. So exquisite are her bespoke creations, her main clientele are couples, looking for that special, celebratory cake to mark their wedding day.  

“I love our colourful little city. I take my inspiration from the colour palate I see around and there is plenty to draw from with the sea, city and Downs. I often use dehydrated fruit petals to add colour and texture and also flavour rather than sugar. It’s important that I only use natural ingredients sourced from local suppliers and also specialises in vegan cakes.  I also use fresh flowers. It’s about reflecting my environment and its movement.  Food can sometimes look a bit stagnant.” 

And Covid-19, how has the last eight months affected business?

“Covid-19 has been a tricky period involving a lot of reflection for us all. The pandemic has highlighted issues which were already of central importance to me in the running of Abeille.Luisa had to cancel bookings and postpone many of them to 2021. In place , she developed her range of aptly named, Quarantine Cakes – mini cakes, that people can order from anywhere in the country and send to people who were missing out on their weddings etc. Lusia would make the deliveries in person in Brighton. “It kept me sane too  as I would get to see people, so I got that human contact and as most the deliveries were surprises, it would be great to be able to put a smile on people’s faces.”

“You have a real sense of freedom here, so for example, you can get up and put on what you want in Brighton, get on the train to London and when you get off, you realise you’re not quite fitting in. You can’t shock people very much. There’s always someone doing something more crazy than what you’re doing”.

Like many Brigtonians, Luisa moved to the city initially  to study. “After graduating I spent a year in Brazil and when I returned, I felt inspired to make bread so I went to a few local bakeries and for free labour, offered to bake bread.”

Luisa’s enterprising efforts  paid off as one of the bakeries she went to, The Flour Pot, needed someone to make more confectionery. 

Luisa explains, “From when I was really young I would be making three-tier cakes, absolutely covered in chocolate for special family occasions, I enjoyed the creating process and also the pleasure that came with it.”

Following an apprenticeship in Food Production, which involved long night shifts and low pay, Luisa began teaching herself. She became a pastry chef in a cafe and  from there felt inspired to set up her own business. “I wanted more autonomy over my own creative style and also my time.”  And so four years ago Abeille Bakery was born…“I founded Abeille Bakery in 2016 to create delicious wedding and celebration cakes.” 

How difficult was it to get it off the ground?

Sometimes I feel like I am still getting it off the ground. Anyone who has lived this probably feels like that but you have to reflect back in time to see how far you have come because when you are just going through the motions it is easy to feel like things are not moving along. You can feel like sometimes things aren’t moving quick enough.  

I comment on the number of new businesses that fold within the first three years.

“Yes it’s something I keep an eye on.. you do see how quickly places open and close. The business rates in Brighton are so high. I rent a  kitchen and I make the cakes online to order. Before Covid, I felt  it would be a dream to have my own bricks and mortar space to operate from however the expense is largely why I stayed online.” 

A decision which in these times has no doubt bore fruit…

“But I also like the ordering system because of the lack of waste.”Waste is built into Abeille’s business model and also sits easily with the ethos of the company. All the business’ practices support the local community. “We source ingredients as ethically as possible, working with local businesses and community projects in Sussex by purchasing predominantly from small -batch suppliers such as, grass-fed Knob-Butter and the wholesomely produced organic, free range eggs from The Mac’s Farm.”What Luisa does produce is a kaleidoscope of culinary colour. So exquisite are her bespoke creations, her main clientele are couples, looking for that special, celebratory cake to mark their wedding day.  “I love our colourful little city. I take my inspiration from the colour palate I see around and there is plenty to draw from with the sea, city and Downs. I often use dehydrated fruit petals to add colour and texture and also flavour rather than sugar. It’s important that I only use natural ingredients sourced from local suppliers and also specialises in vegan cakes.  I also use fresh flowers. It’s about reflecting my environment and its movement.  Food can sometimes look a bit stagnant.” 

Get in touch and find out more by contacting Luisa at hello@lovefromluisa.co.uk

 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here