Thanks Sir Alan

 
In My last blog post I shared how I have been working on my branding and some logo changes as the business has developed and has slowly grown organically. 

So with me in this reflective mood I thought I would share some business advice I received. In the very very early stages of my business (Kake days) I sought out business advice from Sir Alan Sugar.

At the time Sir Alan had a business column in the Daily Mirror and the paper was looking for readers to Send in business themed questions for Sir Alan.

The apprentice tv show was in to its Second season and I thought to myself wouldn’t it be fab to get some advice from Sir Alan really “how scary can he be” ? so I took an opportunity to contact him via the newspaper column regarding some business advice for getting my rum cake into retail.

On reflection at this current time it’s not something I would even entertain but at the time I was green around the gills so I sent him an email and didn’t think anything more of it, I certainly  didnt expect him to reply but he did and they used my question as a feature. 

 

The original email question and reply from Sir Alan is below and I must say he gave some very good advice of which I did Infact follow.

  • I did supply a coffee shop, two Infact but now I’m concentrating on selling to the end user.
  • I worked on pricing as suggested (which we as cakers struggle with) but I’m glad I took the time to get to grips with it. 
  • I researched and understood the problem of scaling up so didn’t pursue the retail side of supplying a retail store.
  • I didn’t undercut competitors but aimed to be of similar pricing for my market and area and competed on quality and value rather than aiming to being the “cheap cake lady” I wanted customers to come to me out of choice and not cheap prices.

The advice given really set a benchmark with me and was the mainstay of how i pursued my business.

So please have a read and thanks Sir Alan for the business advice. The business is turning a profit and doing just fine.

Ps, my web page mentioned below no longer exists it’s now http://www.kakeandcupkakery.co.uk
Dear Sir Alan, 

LAST year I decided to turn my hobby of bespoke cakes for all occasions into a small part-time business, which has proved to be quite successful. I have received orders for cakes from friends and colleagues and have received quite a few recommendations. 

I have a web page – http://www.letthemeatkake.co.uk 

I’d now like to sell my cakes, in particular a Caribbean-style rum cake, in a department store and I’d like to aim for the Christmas market. Could you give me advice on the best way to approach the stores 
Yvonne Donald by email 
Sir Alan says, 

“I get lots of letters from people who want to turn their hobby into a business. In your case, it’s not an impossible dream. 

But realistically I am sure every reader has a friend or someone in their family who is good at baking cakes and does, from time to time, bake you the odd cake for a party or a special occasion. 

It is not uncommon and it is also not uncommon for your friends and family to be highly complimentary. As I have said many times in this column, don’t expect a frank and honest opinion from family and friends – they will always tell you what you want to hear. 

The only suggestion I have for you is to try to sell your cakes in your local delicatessens or privately-owned cafes, restaurants, coffee shops etc. These people have to buy cakes from wholesalers – they may as well buy them from you. 

However, there is a tremendous problem setting up the mass production of cakes and it’s not something you can do from a normal kitchen. 

You can appreciate that if you received an order for, say, 100 cakes to be delivered in two or three days, you would not be able to handle it without an industrial kitchen. 

Try my first idea, step by step. And make sure you get your calculations right. 

First ,work out the cost of the materials to you, the cost of gas or electricity that is being used, your time, effort and labour and any packaging materials. 

Once you have calculated that, be sure to add a whopping profit on top. 

The margins on food are tremendously high, so don’t be afraid to charge. 

Compare the cost of other cakes in the shop and try to undercut them to get yourself started”

Getting it Just right

  
Happy new year, it’s 2016 and another year beckons of more Adventures in Kakeland.

So what are your goals for you and your business/hobby this year? 

I personally like to set myself goals to keep me focused and I find there are 2 times in a year which I give the most focus. The obvious one is the 1st January where I like to focus on business goals, I don’t have them all set out by the 1st but I like to give myself time to think about them. The second is on my birthday in February which is usually for more personal goals (another year older and all that) so inbetween writing this blog post I’m in the process of putting pen to paper and thinking about what I would like to acheive this year both personally and in my business.

For me last year was super busy with cake orders and a coffee shop contract which was good as it helped increase my sales which for any business is fab as it shows growth and is a tangible measure of how I’m doing so it seems I must be getting something right.

  
One of the goals I set myself for 2015 was a spot of rebranding and to redo my website when I had rebranded . I know the rebranding bit sounds very corporate but with cake making/decorating we rely more on reputation than a brand presence but I suppose I’m thinking a bit more long term. 

The market is flooded with fellow cake makers and I believe their is room for all but at the same time we have to think about how we can make ourselves stand out, find our niche and be instantly recognisable.

So with this in mind I began to think about a logo redesign. 

You see in the beginning I didn’t have one, (logo that is) and here is a pic of my first ever business card to prove it, a generic printed card when I was known as just Kake focusing on Celebration cakes and not much else.

  
And If you have been following my business you will have seen a few logos since this and most recently seen 2 different logos  that represent my burgeoning little brand that is Kake and Cupkakery.

So after a while I gave Kake a little update with a basic logo, it was ok and did the job

  
But then cupcakes went huge and i decided that cupcakes had to be part of my business so I got a separate logo done for that side of the business and called it Cupkakery

  

I loved my Cupkakery logo and the simplicity of it and with this I decided to keep them (the businesses)separate to see which part performed the best. 

The thinking behind it was that if one failed I would get rid and focus on the more sucsessful part,but luckily they both did well so I decided to combine both sides of the businessess together and formed Kake and Cupkakery. So with that yet another logo was needed which I loved (at the time) a bit swirly but I liked it  until I saw the little cupcake image been used on another businesses logo which then made me take an instant dislike to mine.

  
it no longer felt like it represented me or the business anymore as I like to think my cakes are unique with unusual flavours, (Cupcakes) I appeal to both men and women of ages from about 29-45 as well as busy mums so I always like to think I create something a little special for my customers with cakes that look and taste great.so I needed a logo that showed that I was serious about my business but still individual and current. 

So It was while I was at a business expo and sat in on a seminar by a Birmingham based company called Orb http://www.thisisorb.com about branding, that got me really thinking it is definatley time for another change?

So while there I approached a stand from a company called Nettl http://www.nettl.com/uk/ and briefly discussed  my ideas as this time I wanted to take the time to properly explore what me and the business is all about. 

I had a consultation with the lovely Paula from Nettl who also took charge of this project, I think I must have got on her nerves by the end but I really enjoyed the process and after many redesigns and tweaks I now have a logo that I feel represents Kake and cupkakery, not overly fussy, simple, individual and unique to me.

  
I love the simplicity of it and really like black and white logos (if you didn’t guess that already)

 I’m still working on the branding side and thinking about colour matching and colour palettes that best represents Kake and Cupkakery so very much still a work in progress.

Paula even managed to duplicate a cupcake I made as part of the logo so adds even more uniqueness .

  
I also redesigned my website http://www.kakeandcupkakery.co.uk which is still getting a few tweaks but overall I’m pleased with the look of it and glad I was able to tick these off my list.

So I hope you like it, I certainly do as l feel it is a look that will grow with me and the business for when I get a little bakery and hopefully no more changes but you can never say never. So now it’s back to the goal setting and business planning so here is too a fabulous 2016.