We sat down with Keelan, owner, founder and creator at bWOWnies, who have just taken residence in one of our commercial kitchens in the Cook House building (the home of The Restaurant).
A huge welcome to Keelan and bWOWnies, we managed to track him down (he’s a busy man) and ask a few questions about the bWOWnies brand, story and future plans.
Tell us the bWOWnies story, the history and how it all began…
I’ve always loved food. I grew up watching Jamie Oliver and loved the way he made baking cool. I would always try to put my own spin on different recipes, and that’s how I stumbled upon brownies.
I tinkered around with a brownie recipe for weeks, and finally, I came up with something that I was really proud of. I brought them to a family gathering, and everyone loved them. My friends and family started to request my brownies for birthdays instead of birthday cakes.
At the time, I was working at McDonald’s. I was saving up for university, but I was also starting to think about starting my own business. My Nan suggested that I start selling my brownies, and I thought it was a great idea.
I trademarked the name bWOWnies and set up an Instagram account. I took samples to my Sixth Form and offered free brownies for follows and shares. Within a few weeks, I had a lot of new followers and orders.
I was so excited! I quit my job at McDonald’s and started working on bWOWnies full-time. I was still in the middle of my degree, but I knew that this was what I wanted to do.
I worked hard and I was passionate about my business. I started to collaborate with other brands, and I even did a few April Fools stunts that went viral. I was starting to make a name for myself.
In July 2022, I graduated from university. I was so proud of myself! I had achieved my dream of starting my own business, and I was just getting started.
I moved back home to Sudbury and found a kitchen. I started to sell my brownies at local markets and cafes. I was also beginning to ship my brownies all over the world.
A few months later, I found a unit in the Suffolk Food Hall. I signed the lease and moved in. I was so excited to have my own space!
I’m so proud of what I’ve accomplished with bWOWnies. I’ve come a long way from the days when I was just a kid tinkering with a brownie recipe in my mum’s kitchen. I’m still young, but I have big dreams for my business. I want to become the best brownie brand in the world!
What’s the best thing about being based at Suffolk Food Hall?
One of the best things about being based here is the people. Moving from my home kitchen to a shared kitchen was lonely, but being at the food hall surrounded by amazing staff and fellow small business owners has made a huge difference. The view is also incredible and helps when things aren’t going well in my business. I often take walks there or go to the gym to relieve stress and burn off all the bWOWnies I eat. Having my own space is a dream come true, and I’ve been in it for over a month now. It’s uniquely designed and will look even better once we brand and sticker the windows. Get ready to be blown away!
What makes your brownies so good?
Well, firstly, they aren’t brownies…they’re bWOWnies. Typically brownies canbe underwhelming, dry, dull and boring and that is why I am on a mission to put the wow back into brownies. They are so fudgy and freaking delicious!
Where can people buy them right now?
Our website is www.bwownies.com if you head there you can buy a box of bWOWnies and they will be delivered straight to your house or anywhere in the UK if you are treating someone. We are currently working on getting them stocked in the Food Hall and the Café so hopefully it won’t be long until you can get some bWOWnies in there, how cool would that be?!
What plans do you have for the future?
GLOBAL DOMINATION. I want to take over the world one BWOWNIE at a time and disrupt this industry. I want to continue building the best brownie brand in the world and turn bWOWnies into a household name, just like Oreo, Mcvities, Grenade etc. One of my main goals is to get stocked in major retailors all over the UK, including all the biggest supermarkets! But I have to make sure I can walk before I start to run, so I have begun to search for local stockists such as farm shops, cafes, restaurants etc, so if you’re reading this and can help, please get in touch. I also have some really ambitious collaborations lined up with some huge brands which is great to see, for me I would love to see those bigger brands go back to how they started and give the next generation a chance and that is what I am fighting for and it seems to be going ok so far. I also have some big plans for some of our famous guerilla marketing stunts, which is what a lot of people know bWOWnies for, which are going to be amazing!
What’s your favourite flavour?
This is a really hard question. But I would have to go with the triple chocolate bWOWnies. These bWOWnies are the very brownie that started the whole venture. These were the very bWOWnies that I used to take into Sixth Form or would make for friends and family. They are infact the base to a lot of the other fun flavours that we make throughout the year, so without triple chocolate we wouldn’t have bWOWnies. They are so think, fudgy and packed full of white chocolate chunks – honestly words do not do them justice.
Something fun about you…
I love to push the boundaries and so far on this crazy journey we have managed to pull off a few exciting things on social media. One of which has been April Fools, so in 2022, we managed to trick the world into thinking we had partnered up with Mcdonalds to create a bWOWnie Mcflurry and it did really well on social media.
Time to try and top it this year, which was extremely tough. I had a few ideas which fell through but then ended up, again, tricking the world into thinking we had partnered with another big brand, this time, Lindt to create some Lindt bWOWnie chocolate truffles which were launching into supermarkets up and down the UK! Also we have just launched our Guiness bWOWnies which make for the perfect Father’s Day gift and to go alongside this we made a really cool graphic which I think sums up everything bWOWnies is about!
Thanks to Keelan for taking the time to talk to us, you’ll see his unit as you walk to the Restaurant, be sure to go follow him and bWOWnies on social media!