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Doughnuts and business: A Q & A with Geoff Whittall of Bombolini

Canberra start up business Bombolini is becoming the go-to place for doughnuts. Though only young, the business already has a huge following – so much so that they often sell out. Food lovers and supporters of start up businesses have allowed Bomoblini’s population to grow. Geoff Whittall, the brains behind the tasty concoctions, shared details on the flavours and advice on starting a business in Canberra.

Wakey wakey Canberra! We’ll see you at the @cbrfarmersmkts, Woden CIT from 8 O’Clock. This beautiful photo is courtesy of @jessicaperis_beautique – thanks for sharing! #regram ☀️???

A photo posted by Bombolini (@bombolini_doughnuts) on

Q. When did Bombolini’s begin?
I started registering the business in January, and trading under 2 months ago – not many people realise how young we are – I had been playing with the idea for over a year.

Q. What flavours of donuts do you stock?
A. So we do different flavours each week. Usually a chocolate and vanilla and a caramel-ly one, then we look for different flavour combos or an unusual flavour.

Q. Where does the inspiration for flavours come from?
A. Lots of different places, whether it’s a flavour I have been wanting to do or seen at markets. We made a great one, with a dark honey made locally by our friends at the market, and this week I will be using walnuts and bananas I got from the market. The flavour from the produce is insane!

Q. Have you ever taken a flavour too far and had it turn out horribly wrong?
A. I did an rhubarb custard, one where I cooked the rhubarb with ginger and star anise, and it tasted like sour medicine. I got the balance completely wrong! I think I will keep it simple from now on when it comes to rhubarb.

Q. Why do you think the business has been so successful thus far?
A.I think Canberra is a great city for getting behind start up businesses and has a great food scene. I think the product is very good first and foremost. I like to think there is a huge attention to detail in creating balance in flavour and not making them overly sweet and flavour driven first. And then a lot of effort goes into making them look enticing.

Q. What is it about Bombolini’s that has generated such a following?
A. Taste, appearance, and the fact they a baked fresh every day and sold fresh. No corners are cut, everything is made by us and I think people really respect that. Knowing the business now, you would have to be mad to start a business selling doughnuts and I think people really appreciate the hard work that goes into them.

Happy Friday! We’ll be announcing this weekend’s Bombolini flavours later today, so keep an eye out. Also, remember that we are not at the Capital Region Farmers Markets tomorrow! We’ll only be at the Southside Farmers Markets on Sunday. See you there! This photo is courtesy of @techosapien & @hercanberra ?✨

A photo posted by Bombolini (@bombolini_doughnuts) on

Whittall humbly adds that due to the age of the business he doesn’t  “quite feel [like] a legit entrepreneur quite yet,” though he did offer some tips for those looking to start a business.

Q. How does your business model and the use of social media enhance the business?
A. Social media has got my product out to a community of food lovers, which I guess are my target market, very quickly. It is interactive and also combines peoples love for food with love for art and photography as well and capturing moments in time. It is hard to imagine how I would have went without social media but I think I would not be selling out as quickly and would not have queues as long for my product. It is like word of mouth on steroids!

Q. What are your top 5 tips for running a business?
1. Get organized
2. Don’t exhaust yourself, use your energy to make things easier for yourself. It is hard work.
3. A business is a person or a group of people, treat everyone well and behave as you would expect to be treated.
4. When something is not working think about why it is not and find a solution
5. Listen to your customers.
But most importantly enjoy it!

Q. What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?
A. Do something you enjoy. Have a go and treat it as a learning curve. Stay strong and create your own path… You are in charge of yourself. Be honest and transparent.

Q. What’s been the most difficult part?
A. Getting a comfortable balance in life. I am still working on it and will be, I guess, for a long time. But I have had some hard times, even though things have appeared to be going well.

Q. If you could go back to when the business first began and tell yourself one thing what would it be? 
A. I probably would tell myself not to become too isolated and to get life balance. But I probably wouldn’t have listened. You make mistakes, things go wrong, it is only a problem if you do not adjust.

For more information on where you can grab some Bombolini doughnuts visit their Instagram and Facebook page.



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