Sophie Elliot, a trader from Ely Farmers’ Market, has opened a new tearoom in Ely. Sophie’s Cakes and Afternoon Tea opened on Tuesday 20 September on Three Cups Walk, just off Forehill. It’s been a busy and successful first week for Sophie and her team, who offer a traditional selection of homemade cakes, scones, light lunches – plus a great selection of teas and coffee.
Before opening her new tea room, Sophie was a trader at Ely Farmers’ Market for 7 years. Sophie, now 30, was just 21 when she started her own cake making business with the help of the Prince’s Trust. She joined Ely Farmer’s Market in 2015, and has built up a loyal following over the years.
“The Market team were really supportive,’ says Sophie. “The Farmers’ Market is really nice place to be and you’re part of a friendly community of traders. We all get along so well! I built up a great customer base in Ely and when Covid happened I was kept busy with lots of deliveries.”
Market trading is a great way for new businesses to find their feet in retail. “The great thing about it is the flexibility” says Sophie. “With no big overheads to worry about, you can try new things all time and find what works for you. One of the positive things about Ely Markets is that they’ve got a really good social media presence which really helps people get to know you.”
Sophie has always dreamt of opening her own tearoom and took the plunge this September. Julia Davis, of Ely Market has followed Sophie’s journey from the beginning and is delighted. “Building her business up at Ely Market has allowed Sophie to gain experience and build up the confidence to open her own shop. It has a been a pleasure to watch her business go from strength to strength. We wish Sophie all the best in the next step of her journey!”
Although she has left the Farmers’ Market, Sophie is still very much part of the market community. One corner of the tearoom is given over to a dresser filled with goodies for sale from traders like Chilli Freaks, Dragonfly Soapery, Crafts by Kate and Art in the Burrow. “My friends from Ely Markets have been really supportive,” says Sophie. “I miss being right next door to them, but I’m only across the road!”
Does Sophie have any advice for people thinking about market trading? “Just go for it! No day is the same: there’ll be good ones and bad ones, and extraordinary ones like the time I got to meet HM the King when he visited the Farmers’ Market in 2018. Listen to your customers and never be afraid to try something new. And don’t forget to wrap up warm in winter!”
Sophie’s Cakes and Afternoon Tea is open every Monday-Saturday from 8.30am-5.30pm. If you’re interested in finding out about trading at Ely Market, head to elymarkets.co.uk to fill out an application form here.