If you have children who love to bake but also like to keep a clean kitchen, businesswoman Kari Turnbull has the secret – cakes-in-a-bottle.
An enthusiastic baker, Kari Turnbull, of Burntisland, has loved getting in the kitchen ever since she was a little girl.
With her mother, Heather Milligan, being a home economics teacher, she was always making something and has fond memories of baking with her mum and nana.
A mother of two, Kari spends a lot of her time baking with her children too – four-year-old daughter, Annabelle, and six-year-old son, Cameron.
However Kari, who likes to keep her kitchen clean was finding for her time spent in the kitchen, she was also spending a lot of time cleaning up. That’s when she had the idea of her business Ceic Bottled.
Ceic is Gaelic for cake and the concept involves bottles being filled with a range of dry ingredients which can be turned into delicious bakes, all by pouring them in, adding a few other ingredients, like butter and eggs, and mixing them together.
Easy for the whole family
Originally designed for families to bake with one another easily, especially those with younger children, Ceic Bottled has proven popular with a range of customers.
She added: “My mum is a home economics teacher and I’ve always been much more into baking than cooking – which works well as my husband is an avid cook.
“I love baking more now that I’ve got two young children who are six and four. I’ve been baking with them and they love getting their hands dirty and getting involved.
“I’m a tidy baker and I like a clean kitchen, so mixing children and flour is not a good combination. I would measure things out before and then they would put it all together. That is what made me think of gathering all of the ingredients together.
“It all started just before Christmas 2020 and I decided to make some for presents. It was one of the mums who said I should do it as a business as it was such a good idea. I just ran with it. I did all of my food hygiene training and certificates in January.”
Keep it simple
With eight different bottles featuring different recipes available to try out, Kari says simplicity is key when it comes to baking with little ones or for those with less experience.
She added: “They are all very simple recipes, too, and I didn’t want recipes which you needed a food processor or anything like that. I wanted it to be easy for both children and for people who maybe don’t bake much. My instructions are quite detailed.
“Since I have launched, it has been a real mix of customers. But a lot of people are sending them as a nice gift. I think the real crux of it was in the second lockdown when the kids weren’t at school – a lot of people said I was mad as they had no idea where I found the time.
“It was so lovely doing something for myself and because my kids are still quite young, I feel like my main focus has been solely them, and actually, starting up the business and doing it just for me has been really thrilling.
“A lot of the orders I received initially was people sending gifts because they couldn’t see one another. It was really lovely to think what I was producing was making someone’s friend smile.
“It is still early days and I have now launched a new product which is a smaller version. The big bottles are great but make larger quantities. The cookies and things last for around a week once they have been made, but scones are best enjoyed fresh out of the oven. I’ve purchased smaller jars for the scones so that nothing goes to waste.”
Working four days a week in a somewhat different environment, Kari has enjoyed using the skillset from her day job in her own business.
“My day job is marketing in a law firm four days a week and the packaging has been the most exciting part for me as I love getting involved in all of that,” said Kari.
“I’ve made it bright and colourful. Then it was focusing on the website and social media, and because of my day job, I really enjoyed it and already knew a lot about it.
Sourcing some of her packaging locally and focusing on sustainability, Kari’s business is “as eco-friendly as can be”.
She continued: “I don’t think you can’t not go down the route of being eco-friendly these days. It was very important to me and the glass bottles themselves, I wanted to have an incentive so that people would reuse them in the house, or, if local customers bring their bottles back they get 10% off their next purchase as I can reuse them. It is glass so can be easily recycled, but I like the idea of recusing it and repurposing it.
“The labels themselves aren’t recyclable sadly, but they peel off really easily and I have customers who have used them for flowers and my niece is making oat milk in them.
“There’s twine, which decomposes, with a pom-pom on it and I source it from a company called Nutscene in Forfar. There’s no plastic involved in sending them out.”
Sourcing most of her products from a local refillery store, the avid baker has also had to take allergies and dietary requirements when starting her business and has recognised her offering may be more seasonal than she had initially envisioned.
“I get the ingredients from a local refillery shop called Grain & Sustain. The products are of a really good quality but some items are a little bit more expensive than supermarkets. However, it was so important for me to support local and this is a great way for me to do that while being more sustainable.
“I use the refillery shop in my personal life and because I am local, she gives me a discount. It is very therapeutic going along and filling everything up.
“Allergies and things people can and can’t eat has been something I’ve had to be very careful about. There was a big demand for a vegan one so I have added vegan brownies to the range and I offer the brownies to be gluten-free, too.
“I’ve noticed my business is very seasonal. Around Easter I had a specialised cookie mix recipe that has Mini Eggs in it and I must have sold around 80 of those in three or four weeks.
“Once I sold out of those a lot of the other mixes sold out as well. Since Easter, it has slowed down and I’ve had a few a week. There is obviously events where this sort of thing suits like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Christmas etc.”
Stocked in a few local shops, customers can purchase directly from the website and may also see Kari and Ceic Bottled popping up at local farmers’ markets in the not too distant future.
“My intention had been to just sell direct from the website, but I have been approached to sell my products at the Post & Pantry in Aberdour, and Saline Shaw Farm Shop which is in Saline, will stock them, too. I am keen to keep my stockists local as I work four days a week and want to keep things as local as I can.
“I’d also like to be doing farmers’ markets in the near future to get my products in front of more customers, too.
“Another thing I’m looking to take part in is Fiver Fest. I know lots of other smaller towns take part. Local businesses provide products that are for sale at £5 and the whole concept is that if you spend £5 in the local community, you’d be supporting local businesses massively. That runs from June 12 to June 26 and I’m planning on doing some of the smaller mixes for that. ”