Rebecca Hilton is putting her love of baking – and the traditional tea sets she acquired from her parents and grandparents – to good use in a new business venture.

The Afternoon Tea Party Company is the fledgling and rare enterprise Rebecca set up just a few months ago.

Rebecca’s aim is to provide a traditional service for those wanting to entertain guests with afternoon tea.

She can cater for funerals, weddings and christenings, or set up her beautiful crockery and home-made tartlets, sandwiches and confectionery in the homes of those who simply want to treat their friends to a slice of tradition.

Starting a business in the current recession is bound to be testing, but there is plenty of talk about people returning to the ‘make do and mend era’. Rebecca’s pastimes – she loves knitting, sewing and embroidery – and now her profession fit perfectly with that ethos.

She believes people are likely to turn to comforting and traditional things during these testing times.

“I think that, in the recession, some people want something comforting and traditional,” she says.

Rebecca’s interest in baking began at a young age. She inherited her flair for producing wonderful culinary creations from her grandma and mother, and has enjoyed passing on those skills to her daughters.

The enjoyment baking brought her inspired the idea to set up her business.

“I have the traditional tea cups and saucers. I got some from my parents and grandparents, and some three-tiered cake stands and linen tablecloths, so clients don’t have the hassle of presenting it or sorting it out. And I clear it all away,” she adds.

Rebecca prepares her culinary creations, from scrumptious salmon tartlets to freshly-baked scones, at her Birstall home. Some of her unusual creations include a choux mountain wedding cake and christening buns with babies’ faces on them – thoughtful touches to enhance the celebrations.

“It’s providing something beautiful for somebody, and when it is all set up the people who are there don’t have to worry about it.”

Rebecca’s business is in stark contrast to her previous careers. Her ambition was to become a writer but she did a business studies degree instead. She worked for the airline industry, managed a sales office of a Bradford bathroom company and was working in construction before deciding to set up her own business.

“I thought ‘if I am not going to do it now, I’m never going to do it’,” she says.

Rebecca’s advice to anyone wanting to set up on their own is to “have confidence, a bit of resilience, some get-up-and-go and you need to be industrious”.

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