Baby it may be cold outside but inside Babycakes, East Sheen’s latest coffee bar, there’s a warm welcome all year round!
Mums, babies, and buggies, are top of the wanted list at this stylish new attraction.
“I realised there wasn’t a coffee shop locally which was specifically child-friendly,” explains owner Lucy Da Silva. As a mum herself with a two-year-old son Tristan, she figured she knew what was required and set about creating it. “We don’t mind how many buggies are brought in – there’s plenty of room – and if there’s a crying baby no one turns a hair,” she said.
The result is a testament to South African-born Lucy’s good taste and interior designer skills: a cheerful inviting place with bright-coloured walls and furniture which just tempts you to call in and enjoy a cappuccino or a skinny latte. Gourmet sandwiches, cakes, soups, and healthy stuff, complete the menu. Typical of the sandwiches is chargrilled aubergines, peppers, and mozzarella with pesto, priced at £4.50.
There’s also a gift section aimed at mums, crowded with coloured cushions, blankets, candles, baby shoes, stuffed toys, and many other items.
Lucy, 30, who lives in Sheen, has a great eye for detail. Witness the coloured granules of sugar sprinkled in the sugar pots on the tables which almost match the décor. And the milk jugs shaped like cows which come with the cups of coffee – fascinating for kids. Such care deserves to succeed and Babycakes has started to build up a regular customer base since opening its doors just before Christmas.
The coffee bar is her first commercial venture and Lucy is full of plans for the future.
“I’ve had so many requests that I’m planning to start holding small birthday tea parties with face-painting,” she added. “Also, we are thinking of offering a breakfast menu and opening earlier at weekends.”
There is a yard at the back of the premises which she is hoping to develop where toddlers can play and let off steam when the weather permits while their mums relax nearby with a cup of coffee. It’s clear that Babycakes is a well-thought out concept.
Lucy, who has a lot of experience in the hospitality business, did her own market research, stopping and quizzing young mums along the South Circular in East Sheen, before taking the plunge.
I was made redundant from my last job a week before starting maternity leave,” she explained. “So I decided I wanted to be my own boss in future.”
She has received great backing and support from husband Shane, general manager of a Covent Garden restaurant, whose experience was invaluable in the start-up, she says. She also has sisters who live locally who all help out, particularly with childcare.
Babycakes is a clever new brand in the very competitive market of coffee bars. In taking on the giant chains like Costa Coffee and Starbucks in her own small way, Lucy has given herself a huge challenge but it’s one she deserves to succeed in.
Visit Babycakes at : 364 Upper Richmond Road West, East Sheen, SW14 7JU
Telephone: 020 8487 9575