04/06/2009 - 00:00

Miss Maud delivers a little magic

04/06/2009 - 00:00

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Maud Edmiston doesn’t have to look far for a good coffee these days, but that wasn’t the case nearly 40 years ago. Adam Orlando reports.

Miss Maud delivers a little magic
SWEDISH SPECIALTY: Maud Edmiston has been delivering Swedish culinary delights to Perth customers for 38 years. Photos: Grant Currall

MAUD Edmiston arrived in Perth from her hometown of Stockholm, Sweden, in 1968.

Working in international travel at the time, organising conventions and events all over the world, the woman who would become known as Miss Maud immediately fell in love with Western Australia's lifestyle and weather.

"Then mother came to visit and we tried to go out for a cup of coffee," the sprightly entrepreneur told Gusto.

"Perth in those days had pubs, not the new type of pubs that are trendy and nice, they were the old ones that smelt of beer, and if you were a lady you were shown into a separate room.

"I missed the warm, inviting restaurants and quaint little sidewalk cafés of Sweden and never more than when my mother arrived from Stockholm for a visit."

Not content with counter meals at the local pub - but instead yearning for rich Swedish coffee and traditional open-faced Swedish sandwiches like the shrimp boat and gangplank - Mrs Edmiston decided it was time to bring a little taste of Sweden to Perth.

So, in 1971, she launched Miss Maud at Carillon City, a genuine Swedish pastry house.

"If you have a love and passion for it I think you will succeed, and obviously after 38 years I would have left a long time ago if I didn't love it," Mrs Edmiston says.

"It's the best industry because you can share who you are, and you can sit back and express who you are; you can do what you think is important and do the things you need to do.

"But to succeed, don't listen to anyone, just seek your own mind, your own taste and discover who you are, because the only wildcard you have in your business is you.

"There will always be waves that come, your troubles will come. I don't care who you are or what you do or how clever you are, the waves will come, and unless you are prepared to surf the waves, you will never make it."

In the late 1980s, a major wave swamped Miss Maud's business.

The company had invested in land in the South West but, when interest rates skyrocketed and the stock market crashed in 1987, investors such as Miss Maud were left out of pocket.

Determined for the business to succeed, Mrs Edmiston began searching for solutions.

"You have to be an optimist and you have to believe there's a solution there," she says.

"And you have to keep looking for those solutions, looking for improvement, looking for better things, constantly.

"In this industry you shouldn't have a desk to sit down at ... because it's so fast, our industry moves so fast.

"We obviously have to move faster if we want to stay in front of the pack."

Mrs Edmiston hopes the launch of Miss Maud's catering service this year will help the company achieve its goal to be an industry leader.

Offering more then 50 platter options, the catering business, which can be ordered online, is targeted at business, but is capable of servicing larger functions of up to 1,000 people, such as corporate events, parties and weddings.

While her son, Mikael, is involved in the business, Mrs Edmiston remains hands-on, always generating new business ideas and forging new business models, all the while still learning about the industry she pioneered four decades ago.

The Miss Maud empire now features 14 Swedish pastry houses in major shopping centres, a Swedish boutique hotel next door to the Smörgåsbord Restaurant & Pastry House in central Perth , a new catering service, and a 24-hour bakehouse operation.

"My wonderful team of over 400 staff are dedicated to treating our guests lavishly, serving with love and joy. So my dream came true, to give Australia a taste of the best of Sweden," she says.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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