We recently celebrated Cobbles & Clay’s 9th birthday and our founder Jill was reminiscing with some visitors about how it all began. They were so impressed with her inspirational story that they asked her to host a women’s business networking event at the café in September (more details coming soon) so we thought we’d share it with you on our blog……
Jill said: “After university, I went travelling and spent some time managing a wine bar in Guernsey. I loved it and it gave me a taste of what it would be like to run my own eatery. After years as a primary school teacher, then a homeopathist – and having four children in between – I decided that it was time to realise my dream. So, for my 50th birthday back in 2006, I bought a café on Haworth’s Main Street!
“It had previously been a ‘greasy spoon’ style place and I wanted to do something really different with it by making it into a pottery painting studio and cafe serving the kind of wholesome but tasty food I’d want to eat if I took my children there. At the time, nowhere in the village served anything like hummus so it was a big risk. But Haworth seemed ready for it.
“Renovating the building was also a big challenge in terms of planning regs and it was difficult to get permission to offer both pottery painting and an extensive menu of food but I had a vision for how I wanted it to look and it was very satisfying to see it all come together.
“My original business plan for the bank said I wanted to sell 10 bowls of my homemade lentil soup (which my kids couldn’t believe anyone would actually want to pay for after being brought up on it themselves!) and three pieces of pottery a week so I opened up on my own on my first Monday morning and made myself a nice cup of coffee with no idea what to expect. I thought I was living the dream! I was pleasantly surprised when lots of locals turned up and I had to call up the people I’d asked to a few shifts over the weekend and take them on full time.
“Seven years later in 2013, the kitchen in the original café had become too small to meet demand for our range of ‘no gunk, no junk’ food and drink for children and well behaved adults. Luckily, the opportunity arose to buy a much larger building further up Main Street which needed completely renovating. This gave me a completely blank canvas on which to fulfil Cobbles & Clay’s potential – and compete with the array of other high quality eateries that had sprung up in Haworth since we first opened. It was amazing (and very challenging) restoring the building but we unearthed some amazing original features including beautiful Yorkshire stone fireplaces and steps. The architect couldn’t believe I didn’t have a background in property or design when he heard my ideas. I’m proud to say it has turned out exactly as I’d imagined.”
If you haven’t visited our new place yet – or tried Jill’s infamous lentil soup – make sure you pay us a visit soon!