Today I would like you to meet Lucy’s Lil’s Parlour. Lucy is an amazing soul who has a fantastic bakery. But this bakery is not like the others: you pay what you can. Lil’s Parlour is a very inspiring business that’s actively helping its community one cake at a time.
I first found Lil’s Parlour online and read about Lucy’s story, and I was blown away. Her journey and her dedication to her community it’s admirable. If you ever go to Birmingham, please consider visiting this gem.
You studied Economic History, yet you have a wonderful bakery and are actively helping your local community. How did you decide to go into the bakery?
History had always been my obsession as a kid, my parents had taken me to a lot of historical houses and at 18 I didn’t really know what I wanted to do and thought that “academia” was what was expected of me. I enjoyed my degree but it became quickly apparent that academic life wasn’t for me, I trained to be a teacher and while I was teaching I was really unhappy, baking became a therapy for me and soon people were asking if they can buy what I created. Lil’s Parlour came into fruition really organically and I genuinely think I was steered here for one reason or another. It feels like I am finally where I was always meant to be – but I am still really passionate about history!
When did you come up with the idea of Lil’s Parlour?
When I was first approached to sell my baked goods to local coffee shops I needed a name! I lost my Dad in 2006 and I wanted him to be a part of my journey, Lil was my Dad’s Mother, my Nan and by introducing her name it meant they were a part of it. I have a van called Audrey too who was my Mothers Mom, family is really important to me and it was a way of people who had inspired and loved me to be a part of my life even after they had passed.
Who are your big inspirations/ influencers in life?
I am inspired by the world around me, when I was a kid I was always hyper fixated with “celebrity” chefs on the TV and used to inhale any kind of cooking programme I could watch. I was obsessed with a show called Two Fat Ladies, Delia Smith, Nigel Slater, Ainsley Harriot – the list goes on. I don’t get the time anymore to enjoy my cooking show binge watching but I still always try and catch up with The Hairy Bikers whenever I can.
The biggest influences in my life have always been the people directly around me though, friends, family, maybe even a person I speak to once in the street. I love hearing human stories, and I am genuinely interested in people’s lives. When I was teaching, I worked with young people with moderate learning disabilities and they inspired me daily, how with such adversity, they were the kindest, most inspirational people.
You’re a little business owner, yet you share much with the community. How did the idea of “pay as you can” come to you?
I think as a small business owner you are in a really great position because there are no rules. You are your business and you are in a position to carve out what you want to achieve from your enterprise. Pay as you can was an economic model I had always been interested in, I truly believe in a world where there should be more kindness, where sharing wealth is the key to a more fulfilling life for everyone. It goes those who can the chance to support us by paying the recommended price or even a little more, and those who can’t to have access to hand made artisan bakes too. We live in a world with too many boundaries and that just creates diversity and polarisation in communities. In my bakery it is for everyone. Every human can enjoy what we do with no judgement. Lil’s Parlour is a Community Interest Company and that means I made a legal pledge that our profits go to community causes. Offering pay as you can is our main one but I also do things like free community events for families and pay as you can birthday cakes because I believe everyone should be able to have a cake on their special day.
What would you say is the top challenge for warm-hearted souls like you in this economic environment?
Sadly it’s financial. Due to the cost of living crisis I am seeing more people access our services who are unable to pay the recommended price. It’s harder to make ends meet and I don’t take a salary for my work most months. Money doesn’t motivate me but we live in a world where to run any kind of enterprise you can’t do without it. I spend a lot of time worrying about “keeping going” but I try to tell myself worrying doesn’t solve anything. When you care so much it’s a challenge to stay motivated but I remind myself of my “why”.
What inspirational words would you say to someone who would like to follow in your steps.
Trust the process. Of course, do your research first. Pay as you can is HARD; it’s not for someone who wants to get rich quickly, or even make any money at all, but if you want to make a small difference in your local community and be part of a kindness movement, it’s a really fulfilling way to live your life. I have never been happier. Be brave – if you believe in something, do it.
Follow Lucy Scott’s Lil’s Parlour here:
Instagram : www.instagram.com/lilsparlour
Website: www.lilsparlour.co.uk (if anyone is inspired and wants to know more, I am very happy for them to reach out.)
To support Lil’s Parlour with our work and future-proofing you can make a donation here: www.lilsparlour.co.uk/donate
The bakery is open on Saturdays during the winter 11-3, and occasionally they post some of their baked goods out to any address in the UK.