Retford: Heidi goes from barrister to barista

Ex barrister Heidi Cotton, has set up Broom Wagon Cafe, Retford. Picture: Andrew Roe
Ex barrister Heidi Cotton, has set up Broom Wagon Cafe, Retford. Picture: Andrew Roe

A former legal eagle has swapped the intensity of the law for calming lattes.

They are two jobs which may sound alike in name but as career changes go, it must have taken some beans.

Heidi Cotton has gone from barrister to barista.

After spending 15 years working her way up the criminal ladder, Sheffield’s legal eagle has swapped the courtroom, her wig and gown and instead slipped on an apron and smile to open her own drinks destination out of the city in the north Nottinghamshire idyll of Retford.

“It’s an unusual career choice but I’d decided I wanted a change,” Cotton explained. “I was at a crossroads where I knew I needed to choose between sticking as a lawyer for the next 20 years, or doing something which I really wanted to put my energies into. You spend so much of your life working and I wanted to do something I was passionate about.”

So she and husband Richard opened the cafe, called Broom Wagon. The first day was back in March and a word-of-mouth buzz about the place has been percolating ever since.

The buzz is set to get even louder following this weekend’s Tour de France Grand Depart.

“We came to the conclusion the idea of the velo cafe was really strong,” added 38-year-old Heidi, “That was far more exciting than sticking at the law. I knew that if I hadn’t done this and then in five years I had walked round a corner and seen somebody else’s cycle cafe I would have been gutted.”

And the mother-of-two, of Blyth, has no regrets about the pay cut and long hours which come with opening one’s own business.

“It’s physically harder but not as stressful,” she says. “I no longer have to worry about the consequences for others like I did when I was a barrister. It’s a learning curve but I’m loving it.”