I’ve always felt that if we do not support small businesses and projects, then the big boys will always reign and push further the socio-economic imbalance in our world today. The local cornershop, your aunty’s wonderful bakery, your friends car rental and your neighbours nail parlour will need the same (if not more) support as your local chain of grocery stores that seem to punctuate every corner of our streets today to survive and grow.
Supporting female entrepreneurs in whatever capacity I can has been something I’ve integrated into my life for over a decade now. As consumers, it’s too easy to sheepishly spend our money where the rest do or where it’s most accessible. But if we can integrate these small businesses into our lifestyle and consumption habits, then not only are we trying out new and wonderful things often, we are also supporting our community and society as a whole by contributing towards a more balanced economy. I’ve always felt passionate about channelling all this more so towards my ‘ladies in business’. Women who have bagged the day job, gone solo, channelled their skills and taken the plunge to start their own brand.
I was recently informed about the opening of a new cafe. The founder, an incredibly talented woman who was both a friend and long term supporter of a charity I co-direct, had quietly been working behind the scenes to bring her love of baking and business into fruition before announcing her new venture.
A ‘cafe’ as I call it would be an understatement, a ‘dessert parlour for the sweet toothed’ as she aptly put it, was exactly what it was.
Armed with two hungry nieces, a 9 year old and a 17 year old, we decided to stop by and see what the fuss was about and also to show our support.
‘Sweet Boutique’ is located on Belgrave Road, a short walk from the Ilford Train Station. Nestled on a road of restaurants and local businesses, it certainly stood out with its fresh coloured exterior and inviting appearance.
Upon entering the cafe, we were hit with a wonderfully sweet aroma, a cross between sticky toffee pudding and freshly baked bread. Just what you need on a cold wet autumnal afternoon.
The interior was a reflection of the owner’s aesthetic leanings and what she described as a unashamedly feminine, fresh and friendly in comparison to a large number of male run, often furnished with rich dark colours and leathered dessert restaurants and cafes across the east end of London. From the glass details, to the charcoal wood and the fresh white walls and bleached wood, the cafe had a boutique feel and certainly lived up to its ‘dessert parlour’ title.
I decided to order the classic crepe dish with fresh strawberries whilst my nieces picked the richer milkshakes and layered desserts. All dishes were divine. Beautifully presented, with swift and pleasant service and every mouthful was a guilty pleasure. I will certainly be returning and bringing friends and family too.
I would really recommend this to anyone living close to or in Ilford, or passing through, or simply want to enjoy some of delicious cakes, sorbets, icecreams and drinks in an incredibly ‘pretty’ (and I use this word with all spirit) environment.
Check out their facebook page for regular updates > www.facebook.com/sweetboutiqueilford
Address > 117 Belgrave Road, Ilford, Redbridge, United Kingdom
Here at Sweet Boutique, we are proud of the service we offer. Our menu includes fresh pastries, freshly brewed coffee, fresh crepes and waffles made before your own eyes! We also offer an array of milkshakes, amazing ice cream counters and our signature cupcakes, cheesecakes and cakes! We can’t wait to welcome you and give you a truly sweet experience!