Express & Star

Successful Newport baker shares her passion as she lives out her dream

As part of our Love Your High Street series, Matthew Panter spoke to a baker living her dream after opening a new shop...

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Imogen says opening her own shop has been a dream come true

You have to love a high street success story don't you?

Independents have, after all, had so much to contend with including Brexit challenges, rising energy bills, a cost-of-living crisis and a global pandemic.

Trying times, indeed, but on occasions we've also heard how challenges, such as Covid, have inspired people and changed the course of a person's life.

Imogen Kelly, 24, is a case in point. It was during the first lockdown of 2020 that her talent for baking fully came to the fore, and, she says: 'my cake journey began'.

Imogen with a show-stopping cake at her Newport store

It ultimately persuaded her to change her career path from teaching.

Teaching's loss has been the sweet-toothed, cake-loving community's gain. Her first shop – Immi's Cakes and Bakes, in her home town of Newport – is thriving, gaining a wide reputation for delicious treats and selling out most weekends.

Imogen Kelly created cookies for the Polar Express

Imogen says baking has always been a passion but she started to take things seriously during the pandemic, while studying at The University of Warwick.

“It’s all happened very quickly,” she said. “I set it up during lockdown, literally from my mum (Hazel) and dad’s (Tim) home in 2020.

“I was at university doing Education Studies to become a primary school teacher and was writing my dissertation in my third year.

“But I have always baked with family and friends and I just needed a distraction during that time. I baked my mum a birthday cake and posted a picture on Facebook.

“I started to get messages from people asking if I could make them a cake. That’s how it started. I set up Immi’s Cakes and Bakes on Instagram and now I have my own shop.

“If it wasn’t for lockdown, I would have gone into my teaching. I did graduate and have my degree to fall back on but I finished university and went into this full-time.”

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