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Paul Carr-Griffin

Paul Carr-Griffin

Mr Cupcakes Amazing Cakes

Enrolling on the Outset programme gave me a real epiphany; I felt like the luckiest man alive to have been in the right place at the right time to find and start the course.

Paul’s story

Mental health issues often leave sufferers feeling isolated and excluded from society, presenting real barriers to them gaining employment and moving on with their lives. The Outset service supports these individuals by empowering them to become their own boss and helping them find the confidence to overcome those barriers.

After experiencing a breakdown triggered by major financial losses and relationship difficulties, Paul Carr-Griffin became severely depressed and contemplated suicide, abandoning his home and career in London as a service butler and travelling to Cornwall with the intention of seeing it through.

With treatment and support from the Longreach Centre in Newquay, Paul slowly began to recover, undertaking voluntary work and utilising the patisserie skills he learned at college to bake cakes for the Centre as part of his healing process.

Keen to start working again and to get his life back on track, Paul saw an opportunity to turn his love of baking into a career and, after consulting staff at Longreach, approached Outset Cornwall for help becoming self-employed.

“I’ve always been hard-working, proud and determined so found it extremely difficult being unemployed and living on benefits after the lifestyle I’d enjoyed before my breakdown,” says Paul.

“Enrolling on the Outset programme gave me a real epiphany; I felt like the luckiest man alive to have been in the right place at the right time to find and start the course.”

Learning the basics of market research through the Introduction to Enterprise sessions helped Paul identify a gap in the market for gluten, wheat, dairy and egg free cakes. Combined with specific Business Start Up sessions on marketing, sales and finance, Paul developed a strong business plan and launched Mr Cupcake’s Amazing Cakes in April 2014.

Paul says: “I’m a celiac myself so I know what a challenge finding ‘safe’ food can be. I wanted to make cakes that anyone can eat and through my research, I discovered a real need for it in the market.”

In his first three months of trading Paul has put his Outset training to good use, gaining supply contracts with over 15 local businesses and regularly baking cakes for holiday let guests and individual customers’ special occasions.

With additional support Paul plans to grow the business to a level where he can rent premises, purchase a vehicle and employ staff to assist with day-to-day operations.

“Since I started the business, I’ve had some great feedback, which has really given me a boost, “ says Paul. “For the first time in over two years, I’m actually looking forward to life. None of it would have happened without the amazingly supportive team at Outset Cornwall to whom I’ll always be grateful.”