James Shepherd started his business, Aberffraw Biscuits, with the help of a £5,000 Start Up Loan.
James is a journalist by trade but was inspired to start his own biscuit business after watching ‘The Great British Bake Off’. The show ran a feature on the oldest biscuit in the UK, the Aberffraw biscuit, which is said to originate from 13th Century Anglesey. When James sought to locate the biscuit in his native, Wales, he was surprised to discover that only a few families still made the biscuit and that it was difficult to find a retailer that stocked it.
James and his wife, Natasha, set out to bring this piece of Welsh heritage back to the masses. The couple devised their own recipe for the age-old shortbread and their Aberffraw Biscuit business was born. Not only inspired by a story on GBBO, James and Natasha’s biscuits have been tried and tested by GBBO’s very own Paul Hollywood, on The One Show in 2013.
James and his wife now make their biscuits at their bakery in Conwy, North Wales and in 2015 Aberffraw Biscuits exploded onto the national scene. In February that year they secured a deal with M&S, following help from the marketing arm of the Welsh Assembly to put them in contact, and are now stocked by the retailer in over 200 stores nationwide as part of their ‘be our guest range.’
Alongside that James has six other distribution partners, one alone having a potential network of over 1,500 farm shops within the UK. James believes the unique selling point of the Aberffraw is the history behind the biscuits, and earnings have enabled investment in equipment and floor space which gives the company potential for a fourfold increase in biscuit production.
James has said he has received interest from Europe, America, the Middle East and Asia and is currently working with a client in the states to bring Aberffraw there. In the meantime, a real stamp of approval came in the form of a Great Taste Award within the Traditional Biscuit category, which is sure to catapult Aberffraw Biscuits to further success!