ONE fledgling business is hoping to be able to afford the rent in Oxford’s Covered Market by appealing for funding from people on the Internet.

Barefoot Kitchen, a one-woman bakery, is trying to get a unit in the market and its owner, Emily Jones – who is currently operating out of the shed at her Marston home – has set up an online CrowdFunder page to try to raise the money she needs.

Crowdfunding or crowd-sourcing is an emerging way for members of the public to back start-up businesses or projects by giving money in return for some sort of reward.

Mrs Jones said: “I’ve found this small rustic unit. It would suit my cakes and I would make it look quite country garden-like.

“We need £35,000. A total of £30,000 of that is to buy the lease, and the rest is to deck it out and tart it up.”

Barefoot Kitchen already has a stall at North Parade market every fortnight, and Mrs Jones’s brownies, which cost £2.50 each, are sent to shops and cafes across Oxford, including Turl Street Kitchen.

At CrowdFunder, people can give as much money as they like to the business, and receive certain rewards depending on how much they pay.

Currently the project has 14 backers who have given £2,300, with the largest donation being £500.

Mrs Jones, 37, criticised the rents in the Covered Market: “They are extortionate, and they do put off small businesses. There aren’t enough artisan businesses in there, which is what it’s supposed to be for.”

She said she turned to the public funding website because she would not have been eligible for a loan from the bank, adding: “I’m such a small business. I’d have to be trading for a certain amount of time.

“I’ve heard so much about crowdfunding it seemed like a really sensible way to get the people who will buy your products to put you there.”

Mrs Jones, who is mum of nine-year-old Arrabella, said: “I love baking so I just started baking from home, and made some brownies. I took them to the market at North Parade and they were a huge success.”


  • £10: Brownie and a coffee
  • £25: Box of six brownies and a t-shirt
  • £75: Box of brownies every month for three months and 
  • a t-shirt
  • £100: Box of brownies and a barista masterclass
  • £200: Box of brownies every month for six months and an apron or t-shirt
  • £500: Birthday cake or wedding cake
  • £1,000: An evening out and barista masterclass with Mrs Jones, a gift box of brownies, a hoodie and an apron
  • £5,000: A brownie named after you, a tray of brownies delivered every month for a year, a branded hoodie and apron and an evening with Mrs Jones
  • To donate, visit barefoot-kitchen

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