A FARMER’S Daughter from Meath brings people together from all over the world as they learn to cook online with her.
Self-taught Catriona Callaghan pivoted her cake decorating business ‘The Bunnery’ when pandemic struck and says Local Enterprise Office (LEO) support in Meath means her fully online cooking school has a bright future after Covid.
She said: “Before the pandemic, I was a home cake decorator. I made wedding cakes and birthday cakes but when Covid hit nobody wanted any more cakes because there were no more occasions. “
Catriona, who is based in Kells, responded by “pivoting” her business. “I started doing tutorials on social media and that led to more and more requests from people who wanted full cooking classes.”
She quickly discovered that her social media presence was growing rapidly and, “my social media followers went from around 900 to around 60,000 to 70,000 in a matter of weeks.”
The pandemic also introduced him to Zoom. “As a result of the Zoom family quiz, I found ‘Zoom’ and started giving children Zoom live cooking lessons.
“What’s unique about Bunnery is that our classes are all interactive. These are live lessons but I allow everyone to ask questions.
Being online allows her to connect and cook with family and friends living in different countries. She has a family group with members in Australia, London, Belgium and Cork.
Catriona says that without the LEO in Meath, The Bunnery wouldn’t be here.
“Very quickly I realized that I needed a website because The Bunnery Online had become a viable business.”
“I needed help and didn’t know who to talk to so I called LEO and they gave me advice right away. I applied for the voucher online and without it I wouldn’t have my website because I didn’t have the funds to do it on my own.
“I have also received free business and marketing mentorship and have taken a range of different courses which have been great for me. “
Grainne McKeown is responsible for food development for the Boyne Valley region and works under the Boyne Valley Flavors brand; Catriona is a member of Boyne Valley Flavors.
Grainne said, “The goal of Discover Boyne Valley Flavors is to promote and support local food and beverage producers and food businesses who, like the Bunnery, champion and emphasize the importance of local produce. Catriona does it so well in her online cooking classes where she has used local produce all the time.
Lorna Cooney, Senior Business Development Manager, LEO Meath said during the lockdown, “We have been inundated with requests for online trading voucher and business mentorship.
“Catriona took advantage of both and we were delighted to support her. Catriona was at an early stage in her business development but needed to develop an online presence to reduce the administrative burden for herself as she was just one person at this point.
“LEO offers a range of business supports, no matter what stage you are in.
“He provides business and advice whether you are at an early stage or at a more advanced stage.
“We provide management development training as well as mentoring and financial support for eligible businesses. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need our help, ”Lorna added.