From being made redundant at BHS to starting her own business

Emma Matthews on Sundon Park with her gold award from Cake International
Emma Matthews on Sundon Park with her gold award from Cake International

They say when one door closes, another opens – as Emma Matthews, 49, of Sundon Park is only too happy to testify.

The mother-of-two worked for BHS in George Street for 14 years and when she was made redundant in August, the crafty cook decided to turn her cake making and decorating hobby into a business – Happiness Factor Cakes.

She’s just won gold in the wedding category at the largest show of its kind in the world – Cake International at the NEC in Birmingham.

Her winning entry was a four-tier red and gold creation with a Chinese theme.

Emma said: “I was thrilled to be awarded gold, which meant my mark was over 90 percent.”
But even more was to follow: she discovered she’d been placed second in the category which came with a £50 prize, bottle of champagne and commemorative rosette.

“There were more than 220 entries, so I was really pleased,” she smiled.

She’s always been interested in baking and when a BHS colleague suggested they take a City & Guilds in Sugarcraft at night school, Emma jumped at the chance – gaining distinctions at all three levels.

She’s sad that BHS imploded so dramatically. “When you work with people every day for 14 years, they become like family,” she said. “We still keep in touch and we’ve organised a Christmas outing.

“As for Philip Green,” she snorts, “he could sort the whole pension situation out tomorrow if he wanted to.”

But on the plus side, it was just the incentive she needed to start her own company.