Let them eat cake! Woman battling crippling illness opens bakery business

Abbie Bush gave up her retail job due to suffering with ulcerative colitis.

Abbie Bush gave up her retail job due to suffering with ulcerative colitis. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

A former Card Factory worker who had to pack in her job because of crippling pain has found her calling having launched a sell-out bakery brand. 

Abbie Bush, who lives in Norwich, started baking during the first Covid lockdown as something to do after being put on furlough.

Abbie Bush started up Bakes By Abs six months ago and after huge success on Instagram her small busi

Abbie Bush started up Bakes By Abs six months ago and after huge success on Instagram her small business has gone from strength to strength, Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Abbie had previously struggled working full time having been diagnosed ulcerative colitis. 

She explained: "I completely started from scratch and had never baked before.

"I baked cupcakes and my partner and friends loved them. Then I started selling them and it just completely took off."

Abbie Bush started up Bakes By Abs six months ago and after huge success on Instagram.

Abbie Bush started up Bakes By Abs six months ago and after huge success on Instagram her small business has gone from strength to strength. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Miss Bush's new passion, which she named 'Bakes By Abs', was well-timed as her condition worsened after returning to work, which meant she was making up to 30 trips home daily.

She said: "I was in so much pain and it was so uncomfortable, I just couldn't do it anymore."

Cakes by Abbie

Cupcakes from Cakes by Abbie - Credit: Cakes by Abbie

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But thankfully Miss Bush was put on medication and with time her condition improved - allowing her to turn a hobby into a full-time career less than a matter of months after launching.

She said: "I officially launched the business six months ago. 

"But in recent weeks it's gotten even busier. I had a New Year's sale and it went crazy. I had 36 orders and they were all big cakes."

One of Abbie Bush's cakes.

One of Abbie Bush's cakes. - Credit: Abbie Bush

She said: "I had to put so much in to begin with but I've started to make a profit and make enough to live comfortably.

"I'm even fully booked for the whole of January."

Cakes by Abbie

Festive bakes from Cakes by Abbie - Credit: Cakes by Abbie

And Miss Bush has already amassed 22,000 followers on Instagram with a little help from a former school dinner lady.

She explained: "She told all her friends and they loved them.

"I get a lot of referrals and do a lot of giveaways that help me get customers."

Abbie Bush began the business in lockdown.

Abbie Bush began the business in lockdown. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

She added: "I'm much less stressed than I was before and my condition has calmed down a lot."

And although she doesn't have plans to open a shop yet, she and her partner have much bigger plans on the horizon.

"We're currently going through IVF so I want to put all my focus on that," she said.

Cakes by Abbie

Cakes by Abbie bakes - Credit: Cakes by Abbie

How social media helped build Abbie's brand

Abbie has launched a diverse range of treats, with two of her most popular being the Galaxy and Lindt tower cakes. 

After creating the cakes, Miss Bush posted a number of short videos on her Instagram page which received thousands of views and likes. 

Some of her creations on social media have received widespread praise from followers, with a short video of her spreading buttercream icing on her cupcakes gaining over 320,000 views. 

On Boxing Day, Miss Bush jumped into the festive spirit by posting a vanilla Christmas cake on which gained over 3,100 likes on Instagram. 

“The reels helped my social media following almost overnight – it went crazy,” she said. 

And thanks to her efforts Miss Bush now has more than 22,000 followers on Instagram.

You can check out more at @bakesbyabs_ on Instagram, Cakes by Abbie on Facebook.