How I started my Sweet Bouquet Side Hustle

In This 5 Minute Read, I’ll Talk About My Decision To Do This Side Hustle And Some Of The Legal Loopholes And Compliance Issues I Faced.

30th January 2023 – Leanne Nuttall

Bloomin’ Sweet Delights ‘officially’ started in February 2016 after 3 previous failed self-employed ventures and a loss of A LOT of money; one was Jeunesse Global trying to sell skincare & wellness products, the next was a franchise of Cheeki Monkeys for baby & children’s market events, the third being area content person for a website which is now known as Families Online. I particularly enjoyed the last one as it involved writing articles, I love words and relaying information. But none of these were generating any viable income.

Choosing Sweet Bouquet Boxes & a Side Hustle Name

My good friend and neighbour who could see I was struggling to find my calling, suggested I try being creative and showed me a sweet bouquet she had bought for her partner. She simply said “I bet you could make these! I’ll help sell them with you!”. I was sceptical as I’d been labelled as the academic and practical sibling, with my elder brother being the creative and freelance one.

The side hustle idea first emerged in the January of 2016. I had been eager to get going and capture the Valentines market that year with our prototype bouquets – one full of Cadbury chocolate, the other with a mix of Nestle & Mars; in our haste we set up a Facebook page, PayPal account and threw Bloomin’ Sweet Delights out there. Even deciding to make our own handmade bows instead of buying ready made pull bows to add a unique selling point to the product.

The name Bloomin’ Sweet Delights came from this area being the overspill from London back in the 70s when Milton Keynes was being developed; and along with the new influx of residents came the London accents and common practice to drop ends of words whilst mixing in colourful terms!

First sweet bouquets made in January 2016. One is of Cadbury chocolate. The other is of Nestle and Mars chocolate. With the business name displayed across the picture

Food Business Legal Loopholes & Compliance to Consider

However progress was halted after receiving feedback from Trading Standards when I’d approached them with a few questions and subsequently paused the venture to cross a number ofts and dot some ‘i’s.

Prior to becoming a Mum at the start of 2014, I had come from an employed background of working in Information Management for a variety of Civil Service roles, some of which had been based within legal services departments so I knew if I was going to try one more self-employed venture, it had to be done legitimately.

Did you know that any food related businesses MUST be registered as a Food Business Establishment with the local council?

It’s also likely that you will have to complete a Food Safety & Hygiene course, as well as ensuring you comply with the Consumer Contracts Regulations if you are selling online and trading without face to face contact. It’s important for both you and your customers.

I had to be careful about my descriptions and wording when advertising as using the term ‘handmade’ could have implied I was making the chocolates and sweets myself when in fact I was using pre-sealed branded manufactured confectionery.

Here in Milton Keynes, the Trading Standards Team have a wealth of business advice on their website – which can be found by following this link:

Expect a face-to-face visit from Food Safety Teams or Environmental Health

I was exceptionally nervous when a food inspection was requested to visit my home where I was running things after 6 months of trading, I assumed I’d done something wrong! Instead it lead to receiving the top level of Food Hygiene Rating with the Food Standards Agency.

Two years later in July 2018 when Environmental Health requested to visit I welcomed them to learn more about what I may need to do to ensure I was doing things right. They are very knowledgeable and commended me on my record keeping and ingredients labelling as well as advising me on topics such as food safe packaging and Health & Safety record keeping.

Why shop with Bloomin’ Sweet Delights?

February 2023 sees me celebrating 7 years of trading thanks to determination, hard work (and some incredibly loyal repeating customers!). I pride myself on achieving what I have even if it comes with a lot of background administration to ensure I’m doing things legitimately. I aim to be the best in this area at making confectionery gifts whether its a bouquet, hamper, mug or other requested delight (my product range has certainly expanded since those early days)!
Just because I make them from my home with my kitchen worktop as my work area doesn’t mean I’m cutting corners or unprofessional. I do all aspects of the side hustle myself and it shows my young daughter that her mother can be present for her whilst she grows up, I can maintain our home as well as generate a small income which helps towards putting food on the table, clothes on our backs and keeping the wolves from our door. It is a self reliant lifestyle which is by no means easy, but one befitting a more suitable work life balance for our family and well-being.
It started with a simple suggestion and has ‘bloomed’ into a budding little business, more recently with the help of a small group of local women from Incubation Nation – but that can be talked about in another blog! Thank you so much for reading!
Comparison of the first Cadbury chocolate bouquet from January 2016 with a revamped on from March 2022

What Can I Do for You?

If you would like to see more of what I make, head over to the Bloomin’ Sweet Delight Instagram or Facebook profiles and be sure to follow & like for all the latest updates, offers and sweet delights! If you are local to the area and would like to know more about placing an order click the button below to access the How to order pages on the website…