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My journey from accountant to baking entrepreneur

Happy Donut Bakery co-founder Meg Smith (BSc Accounting and Finance 2020) on how her degree helped her to launch a bakery business in Bath.

Two people posing in pink sunglasses surrounded by balloons
Meg (right) and Nat set up The Happy Donut Bakery in 2020.

When the pandemic started in 2020, I was completing my final year of my Accounting and Finance degree. My girlfriend Nat was on furlough and wanted to learn something new to keep busy. Banana bread was having a moment on social media, but Nat decided to make vegan donuts instead. Before long we were baking and delivering donuts every day.

Word got out on Instagram and our donut orders grew and grew, so I decided to take the plunge and co-run The Happy Donut Bakery full-time. We ran a pop-up bake sale and made the local news when hundreds of people queued around the streets of Bath! Most customers were surprised the donuts were vegan: they couldn't tell the difference.

Networks, opportunities and support

My Accounting and Finance degree helped in ways I didn’t expect. When I realised I didn’t want to be an accountant, I was able to delve into other areas of business without changing my course.

I took classes in marketing, HR, business and innovation. In one project, we had to think of a new idea and work as a team to make a business plan. That’s exactly what I’ve done in real life.

There are lots of opportunities available to you as a student. I applied for the Santander Entrepreneurship Fund and was awarded £2,000 to help set up the business. With this support, we were able to buy essential equipment, and cover the fees for a market stall.

The School of Management also helped me make connections. The alumni network is very supportive and happy to share their experiences and advice. Now I’ve graduated, the School keeps in touch with alumni newsletters and invites me to loads of events.

Ambitious thinking

To me, ambition is having a goal in mind and not letting a lack of resources stop you. At 23 years old, we built our business from home, with very little funding. We even won the 2021 Bath Life Awards’ New Business category.

We both love the city and all its charm. It’s so different to where I come from, a small town in South Wales. I visited lots of universities at Open Days and really liked Bath’s campus and the course. Then I fell in love with Bath and didn’t want to leave.

Taking my skills in a new direction

We got in touch with Meg in March 2024 to find out how her career had progressed over the past few years. She told us:

The business was doing well but needed to be taken to the next step, for example, we needed to invest in getting a commercial property with a kitchen. But by that point, we'd both realised that maybe that wasn't what we wanted to do. Before we closed the business in October 2022, we got a pop-up shop in Bath city centre for four months so that our customers could come to us. It was super fun and lovely to end it on a high.

Now, I'm still working for myself. I've set up a social media marketing business, Mj Social. I help independent brands market themselves on social media (Instagram and TikTok) like I did with Happy Donut. Aside from this, I work with bigger brands to create customer-centric content for their social media advertisements and sell digital downloads to help aspiring social media managers get organised within their businesses. I've been running that for over a year now. It has much more sociable hours and better pay!

The alumni network is very supportive and happy to share their experiences
Meg Smith BSc Accounting and Finance (2020)

Study at Bath