Blog post four of our sixteen part series on inspirational stories is written by Carla Taylor following her journey of how she became to own four food and beverage operations in Manchester.
Carla Taylor - Catering & hospitality business owner at MediaCityUK
After a successful career in media, Carla packed her bags and booked a one way ticket to New York in search of inspiration and something new. With a passion for great food, she got a job and trained as a chef, engraining herself in the city – she said yes to everything, landing her in all sorts of places. Within two weeks in the city, she had been on the floor of Wall Street watching trading, had met supermodels and even went to a party hosted by now president, Donald Trump.
Falling in love with NY’s service culture and hospitality, Carla wanted to bring that back to her home town, so she returned to the UK, started a family and whilst her newborn son was receiving hospital treatment, she decided to open Penelope’s – a NY inspired deli operation.
Initially selling ice cream from a cart in Spinningfields, she secured a pitch for her next venture in Salford by emailing the MD with the headline ‘from small acorns grow big trees’. Having no commercial knowledge at the offset, Carla successfully generated finance (securing a Princes Trust Award in 2014), gained support from locals and businesses, and in less than four years, she had developed and scaled her businesses, whilst in turn supporting the development of the area around her. Carla now has four full food and beverage operations within MediaCityUK, and has beaten national hospitality offerings to the venues she now operates from.
Social 7, her latest operation, is the largest conference and events space in the area – there, her team are quite used to looking after celebrities and all those connected to TV and film on a daily basis, along with executives from global companies like Vodafone and Barclays at the same time. Her venues can often be seen on screen themselves (featuring on The Voice – Kids, and Britain’s Got Talent), and the venue often hosts parties for shows like Say Yes to the Dress and Coronation Street. Penelope’s also lead the studio catering for Dock 10, which is home to BBC Philharmonic, and the filming of TV shows such as 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, The Voice, Watchdog and Dragon’s Den ...to name but a few!
Her advice would be to just do it, life’s too short to regret not staring something if you want it – starting something new is always scary, but there’s never a perfect time to do anything!
If you would like to find out more about Penelope's or Social 7 click below to visit either website: