Our story starts in 2008. After learning to knit as a child, Kay picked up knitting needles again in her quest to create something cuddly for our daughter. She experimented with pattern after pattern, but then as her experience grew, she started to add her own little touches. The seeds of her very first design were planted.
As the years progressed, Kay continued to perfect her little bear until finally ‘Mrs Bakery Bear’ was born. She was soon followed by ‘Mr Bakery Bear’. Kay never considered writing up the pattern and actually releasing it for others. It was only when our daughter said she wished others could have their own bears to play with did we begin the task of writing up the patterns.
In 2014 Kay put the finishing touches to the ‘Mrs Bakery Bear’ pattern. But life was about to throw up a huge road block in the story of ‘The Bakery Bears’. After finding a growth in his neck, Dan had major surgery to remove it. While waiting for the operation to begin the thought of recording a one off show to celebrate the launch of Kay’s first pattern took hold.
Following Dan’s recovery, we recorded our ‘one off show’. We broadcast it on our YouTube channel, as Kay finally released the ‘Mrs Bakery Bear’ pattern to purchase. The response was unbelievable. As our ‘one off’ show’s viewing figures clicked into the thousands, we started to wonder if we should carry on with the show. Two weeks later, ‘The Bakery Bears’ show was born.
Over the next eight episodes of the show, we started to introduce segments which reflected our loves and interests. Initially we wanted to share our love of trips out to our favourite historical landmarks. We had taken our first tentative steps in more varied and complicated program making. Just before we filmed Episode 8, we received devastating news. Dan was diagnosed with testicular cancer which had spread to his lymph nodes.
Treatment began immediately, we filmed Episode 9 in the midst of Dan’s first round of chemotherapy. We realised whilst filming that episode we had made a mistake thinking we could carry on as normal. Dan was undergoing the strongest form of chemotherapy treatment, so we took the decision to stop the show until we knew how he was responding.
After three months of intense treatment, Dan’s course of chemotherapy came to an end. Whilst we waited for news from his oncologist, we broadcast Episode 10, introducing our first ever baking segment.
Dan’s period of recovery meant he couldn’t do very much, but sitting in front of a computer was not a problem. This was the moment he realised that he was fascinated by video editing and production. Hours of enforced downtime gave him the opportunity to immerse himself in something which has become his passion, how television programs are made.
By Episode 14 Dan had received the initial all clear. This was the moment we decided to start to try and take our production levels up a notch. Over the next 9 episodes we kept trying new techniques and approaches to what we did, discarding those that didn’t work and keeping those that we loved. But as we approached the first anniversary of ‘The Bakery Bears’ show, we took the decision that we had to stop production. Making the show had become a full time job, that was fine whilst Dan was ill but now we needed an income again.
So in Episode 24, we said goodbye. Or so we thought…..the response of our viewers was totally overwhelming. One viewer in particular mentioned many independent producers of video content were finding a way of earning a living from it. By utilising a service called ‘Patreon’, viewers of the show could sign up to be ‘Patrons’.
This was a life changing moment, one we look back on every day. Should we take the risk to start something only a few people at the time were doing? Initially we thought no, but as we thought more about it, we wondered was this the opportunity we had been dreaming of our whole lives?
We had become so disillusioned with the media we all consume. So much of what we watch is littered with adverts and worse still, product placement. When we watch a program, we don’t want to be disturbed with ad’s and most important of all we want to be able to trust what is being presented to us.
So in May 2015 we launched our Patreon page with one goal, to create a subscription based service, offering a range of video programming for our viewers with no ad’s and no product placement. Since that date we have never increased the subscription charges to our Patrons, but we have continued to grow our content and our offerings every week with our regular shows, and every year with the introduction of new benefits.
So what does the future hold? We will continue to create new shows and improve everything that we do. We are constantly reviewing our production techniques and trying to introduce new and innovative ways to make entertaining shows. As our subscribers grow, we want to start working with new presenters for all new shows. What you have seen so far is just the start, the tip of the iceberg. We would love to welcome you to in our quest for ‘a fresh approach to life’!
THE BAKERY BEAR FAMILY
Following a long career in the corporate sector, in 2005 Kay started her maternity leave. Over the course of the next three years, becoming a parent caused her to reconnect with the crafts she had learnt from her mum when she was growing up. On the recommendation of a friend, she started watching knitting shows on YouTube around 2010 and it was her idea that we even considered starting our own show.
Since 2014 Kay has become obsessed with writing knitting patterns. She is an internationally published knitwear designer and she is at her most happiest when casting on a new design after inspiration has taken her. When it comes to knitting, she is an absolute perfectionist and she is constantly striving to perfect every element of the techniques which she enjoys.
Technical Director/Head of Digital Content
Dan grew up surrounded by music, as a child he played trumpet and piano but only so his parents would allow him to take up the drums! Following his time at music college, he began a career in theatres, playing drums and percussion for musicals across the UK. Dan started knitting in 2012 to relieve anxiety after being involved in a road traffic accident.
In 2014 Dan was forced to leave his career in music education after being diagnosed with cancer. During his recovery, Dan discovered he adored all elements of film production and he continues to immerse himself in this area. Dan is at his happiest when planning an episode of ‘The Rise & Fall of the Monasteries’. He adores knitting, but he has a secret obsession to be the greatest drummer in the world….
Jenn hails from the Philadelphia region, where she is a graphic designer turned marketing operations expert who moonlights as a knitting, crocheting, and cross stitching hobbyist. She first entered the fiber world at age 11 thanks to her Oma, who much like Jenn, could never sit still and needed a way to get Jenn to stop talking – a nearly impossible feat! Enter a few brief tutorials and a couple old-fashioned aluminium needles and a new love was born.
Since then, she’s dabbled in all sorts of knitting-related areas, including launching an Etsy shop and YouTube channel, and editing your favourite digital magazine: Knitability. You will most likely catch her making socks at one of many local breweries, which almost always generates questions and creates new friends.