Meet the baker-The Cake Days

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Its time to introduce another cake business in the Meet the baker feature and hope you enjoy this read as much as i did.

So firstly please introduce yourself and your business, and where in the UK/World are you based? 

My name is Naomi and am the owner-operator of The Cake Days, http://www.thecakedays.co.uk a home run 5* cake making and decorating business. I am based in Eastham, Wirral and cover the surrounding areas.

Are you a self-taught cake decorator/baker or are you trained?
I am self taught but have since taken a part time cake decorating course which helped to push my skills to that next level.

How long have you been baking?
I have been baking since high school. But properly since my late teens. This got more frequent in university and more so afterwards.

How long have you been running your cake business?
I registered as a business in April 2015 after realising I wanted to make the move from hobby baker, providing for family and friends, to the role of professional baker, providing for customers.

What was the last cake you made? 
I had a busy weekend where I made 2 really awesome orders in one day. One was a personalised 16 cupcake order from a daughter with different toppers representing all the places her mother had traveled to. Another was a dragon themed cake for a 7 year old girl who was ecstatic with the topper.


How do you attract customers to your business?
Most of the business comes through the Facebook page and I love interacting with my customers. I attend fayres and events which keeps the name out there and allows me to get out there and meet customers, promote the business and display products with samples.

What do you find the hardest aspect of running your cake business?
Finding new leads and keeping business flowing throughout the year. During quiet lulls in seasonal periods especially January it can be hard to keep the business going. I’ve started to use those times to promote and network as well as work on items to photograph to use in my portfolio.


What do you love or find the easiest aspect of running your cake business?
I love cake. And so I love making cake. And this makes it really easy to prepare cakes for customers, making their day as special as possible.

 What is your specialty? Wedding cakes, novelty cakes, cupcakes etc…..
It’s changed slightly! I started with cupcakes…and they are my true love! But I’ve since taken on traditional sponges, celebration cakes and wedding cakes. At first I hated modelling and decorating. But now I love watching a full cake come together.

Who is your favourite cake artist, cake business or you tube channel
I love she who bakes. She keeps it real and makes the rest of us feel okay for still learning every day. She’s relatively new to the industry and provides fabulous pieces on starting a cake business.

What one piece of cake decorating/baking equipment could you not do without?
My cake release spray! I spent a long time cutting out greaseproof paper to line tins. Or greasing with butter and flour to prevent sticking. And lost so many cake bottoms in the process! Got some cake release spray and never looked back!!

What was the last bit of cake equipment you purchased?
A second stand mixer! Oops. I now have 2 stand mixers and my mums trusty old kenwood chefette from the 70s.

What is the one piece of cake equipment you regret purchasing?
I bought some cupcake cases from a certain brand at one point in a large bulk amount. (If I’m allowed to say who…it’s culpitt) And they peel like crazy. Now I’m stuck with about 200 of the things that I won’t use and instead have gone back to my Aldi cases which are value for money and bigger than most so more cupcake for my customers!

What is your favourite brand of sugarpaste?
It used to be renshaw but that cracks like crazy now. I am getting serious elephant skin on my cakes! So I’ve got new favourites for different things.
Karen davies for modelling. Wilton for toppers. Sugarpaste direct for celebration cakes,Massa ticino for wedding cakes.

Is there a new skill you would love to learn?
I’d love to learn more flowers. I know roses and a few blossoms. But I would love to do more floral work for my cakes.

What are the goals and ambitions for your business over the next 12 months?
The goal is to take on more weddings as that is what I’ve started to do this year. And retain our regular customers. I now have several returning cake families and repeat events that use me very often.

What advice would you give a new cake business just starting out?
Do your research first. Don’t just make a decision to start a cake business from nowhere. Learn how to bake a really good cake first as there is no point decorating a bad cake. Give away freebies to build a customer base…samples go a long way! And always keep learning…never think that you’re done with learning.

And lastly what do you prefer a slice of cake or a cupcake?
Either… or both! Haha. I love cake. I know most cake makers and decorators get sick of it. But hand me the cake slice and get out of my way!
Contact details:
Naomi Glendinning
Facebook: The Cake Days
Twitter: @thecakedays
Instagram: The_Cake_Days
Website: http://www.thecakedays.co.uk
Email: thecakedays@gmail.com
Address: 1186c New Chester Road, Eastham, Wirral, CH62 9AE
Phone number: 07920464911

If you would like to shout about your business and give your customers a sneak peek behind your business email hello@kakeandcupkakery.co.uk to have your business featured in a future post.

So you want to supply a coffee shop?

  
Its funny how you start off making celebration cakes and it suddenly opens doors to new and exciting possibilities such as generating additional income through supplying another business.

 Supplying a coffee shop especially when you have quiet times with celebration cakes can give your business a much welcomed boost as well as a regular income so it’s definitely an option worth considering, but in my opinion it’s easier to be one thing or another.

There are businesses that concentrate on just being a wholesale supplier, making homemade cakes for other businesses and then supplying the general public direct plays a much smaller part.

When I was doing both I found it a little tricky, there is nothing more challenging than working on 3 birthday cakes and suddenly switching to making brownies, layer cakes etc….. (The washing up was off the scale)

When starting up a business a lot of us consider supplying coffee shops and I was the same and thought it was a good way to go so I have been fortunate that I have supplied a total of 3 coffee/cafe business over the years but after a couple of similar experiences I decided that at the moment supplying other businesses  wasn’t the direction I wanted the business to go in, so I made the decision to solely concentrate on my celebration and cupcake business http://www.kakeandcupkakery.co.uk, and give my customers 100% of my attention as I felt I was getting distracted,this isn’t to say I wouldn’t revisit this option again in the future but at this current time  it’s not for me.

So I often read in various cake groups other bakers and cake decorators who have been approached to supply another business with various homemade cakes, and it gave me the idea to share my experience as well as sharing tips for anyone who is considering this route of being a wholesaler and supplying a coffee shop or cafe, so below is what I’ve learnt.

  • Supplying a coffee shop can help boost your profile and can bring celebration cake orders as customers will have tried your cake so ask if you can display business cards to help promote the other side of your business
  • Get together with the owners/managers so you know what kind of products they would like and what suits their clientele. 
  • Baking a layer cake is a much quicker process than creating a celebration cake,(especially if you bake in sandwich tins) you can churn out numerous layers of cake in 4 hours which is about the same length of time you could decorate one cake. But you would more likely earn a lot more off the one celebration cake than your coffee shop order (so bear that in mind)
  • Are you prepared- supplying another business is relentless as you will be baking and delivering between 1-3 times per week, think about who will bake/deliver orders when your on holiday, are you able to deliver the cakes for when the business requires them? so be honest with yourself especially if baking from home as you might just need extra support.
  • Have a price list- if you already make celebration cakes it’s easier with layer cakes, no need for constant quoting, Orders are more about frequency and volume so issue a price list to avoid confusion and keep cost consistent.
  • Carrying on with pricing the coffee shop will want to keep cost low so they can achieve a good gross profit per slice so be careful and make sure you make money.
  • Have a contract- you want to specify cut off ordering times/ ordering days, delivery days and contingency for sickness and holidays. If things are not working be sure to discuss your concerns.
  • Order boxes in bulk- I found rye pack http://www.ryepac.co.uk  excellent value and have fabulous packaging for the wholesale market as the regular celebration cake boxes are far to expensive for regular deliveries where the box is just thrown straight in the bin so do your research on your non food cost such as boxes and boards to keep cost down.
  • Make sure your fully insured and have a good understanding of allergens- as your now selling to a third party as sometimes things can go wrong so make sure you are covered and either have a specification sheet regarding allergens for the cakes you supply or suitable allergen labels.
  • Invoice regularly-give delivery notes with every order to keep track of what you deliver as you want to ensure cash flow keeps your business moving so ensure you invoice on a regular basis with using the delivery notes as reference (weekly is best)
  • Keep payments seperate just like your main cake business, I have a separate business account and it just makes everything easier.
  • Use social media- tweet and mention the deliveries you make to the coffee shop so you can get some increased exposure for your business.
  • Be specific about contact times because you have a life too. Ive lost count of the amount of odd times I was receiving calls and messages for emergency orders etc…. This can be stressful so be sure to clearly communicate when you are able to accept orders. If you respond to out of hours contact then the expectation will be that your available 24/7 of which you are not.
  • Weekends can be busy with celebration/ wedding cake orders and a few times i received late coffee shop orders resulting in weekend deliveries which can cause havoc with schedules so Friday afternoon/ evening deliveries might work for both businesses so give this an option regarding deliveries. 

So there you are I’ve probably missed bits but I hope you find this blog post helpful and it may persuade or dissuade you in following this route

.There is a definate market out there and if you get the balance right it can work really well.

And If you already supply a coffee shop please feel free to share your experiences or if you need any advice feel free to ask a question.

Also I’m still looking for cake makers and bakers to take part in the #MeetTheBaker feature so check out the previous #MeetTheBaker blog post, and if you would like to take part get in touch.