Refresh and Rebrand-Mood board


When I started Kake and Cupkakery or rather when they merged I was very much inspired by two programmes DC cupcakes which focused on a cupcake bakery called Georgetown cupcake https://www.georgetowncupcake.com/ the owners are sisters Katherine and Sophie who gave up their jobs and opened a cupcake shop, and have since gone on to open another 5 bakeries. 


My other inspiration was Unique Sweets which I love and  and has been featured in one of my earlier blog post. 

This programme focused on American baking,unique sweet treats and bake shops across America.watch an episode here https://vimeo.com/38222903

When I started my focus and goal was to one day open my own bakery with the feel of an American bake shop with shops in the midlands, up north and down south, where I create all my celebration cakes as well as being open to sell coffee and cake. Think Cake boss, bakery downstairs workshop upstairs

Well if your going to dream dream big I say.

So when I think of my business I’m always thinking how this would translate into a bakery, even though currently my biz is primarily operating online http://www.kakeandcupkakery.co.uk which has great advantages and is working well I always imagined what it (a bakery) would look and feel like and me rebranding I very much have this in mind as that’s my ultimate dream/goal.

Yes I make cakes but I overall I just love to bake so even though I have a core focus of Cupcakes-celebration cakes-wedding cakes in my business I feel like I’m an all rounder as I do have a bit of a patisserie background so I’m always open to trying new ideas and exploring flavours that I feel are authentic and natural.


Every aspect before I started Kake and cupkakery was carefully considered just like any business and with the rebranding and how the business is operating my logo or rather brand has to represent everything I now do. I thought about my packaging and how it needed to be generic so that a man would feel comfortable carrying a box of cupcakes as well as a woman and in this I mean escaping anything to pink, swirly or overtly feminine, I’m not saying men can’t do pink but when thinking about what I wanted to do I had to break it down and be really clear who I wanted to cater for even though females are my primary market I just didn’t want to be too feminine so that’s why I opted for a generic plain kraft style box with no window but also have packaging I could dress up. I love the boxes and they’ll be staying how I can improve on presentation remains to be seen.

What I offer:

 My flavours for my cupcakes I would describe as gutsy and unusual and I like to think a little unique I like to let the cake do the talking  so for my current logo I stayed neutral and minimal because in the early stages I didn’t know where the business would lead, but now I know what I do and my customer base it needs to reflect that.




I create celebration cakes for all occasions catering for busy mums who want a special cake as well as those special birthdays and christening etc this is the fun element and a core part of my business.


Weddings is a market I need to get further established in but offering something a little different as there are many wonderful wedding cake designers whose cakes are beautifully executed so I have to think what I can offer that is different that I can bring to an already crowded market place.


And if you know me personally I’m a people person also a chatterbox and a little extroverted with a quirky sense of humor, I’m very expressive with my hands when I talk (true story)


So my brand has to represent all or most of the elements above  as well as some of my personality.

So first meeting was a brand discovery meeting back in April which dug deeper into me and my business and elements of what I’ve discussed above, Nancy wants to bring into my branding and get it to represent  the different things I do as well as my personality.

 I was already working and focusing on certain aspects of the business because I had been working on a business planner Ive spoken about in previous post  called Dream|Plan|Do by the Design trust http://www.thedesigntrust.co.uk/ and is one of the reason for the brand refresh as it really makes me think about what I’m doing.


So back to the brand discovery meeting,some of the questions Nancy wanted to know were:

  • Who my customers are- I used analytics from my social media to determine who interacts and responds to my pages especially with boosted post and adverts plus who I sell too.
  • What do I do? – artisan cupcakes, celebration cakes  a few wedding cakes, and recently a macaron or two.
  • Words I use to describe my business- authentic, quirky, unique, approachable  etc…
  • Who I want to attract- More customers who like artisan products
  • Business I admire and why- kute cake,crumbs and doilies, Lilly vanilli, Apple, Georgetown cupcake, 
  • Design styles I like- I used Pinterest to help me 
  • What my packaging is like- kraft brown boxes which me and my customers love and I will be keeping.


So Nancy went away and looked at all the information I gave and sent to her and she in turn sent me a mood board which is based on some visuals I sent to her as well as our conversations.

She is so collaborative and really wants to know what I like and dont like and unlike previous times where I’ve had a logo design there are loads of questions and suggestions been made that I’ve never thought of, and I really appreciate her expertise and creativity of thinking outside the box.

The images below are a combination of looks and colours sent to me to get my response. Its been a mixture of feeling overwhelmed, excited and wow. 

We also went through a  Pinterest board I created (feel free to have nose, the board is called Brand refresh) and went through aspects of design I liked and didn’t like so I can see she is building up a picture about me and Kake and Cupkakery 


This is not the final look but was just to judge my reaction to colour which is a huge leap from my muted monochrome look.

There is still work to be done on:

  • Colour palette
  • Logo
  • Typography
  • Pattern

So the next stage will be to see some colour palettes as well as a logo design.
I’m absolutely loving this process and while this is happening I’ll be tweaking everything else such as website,looking at my price point and product offering. 

It’s all very exciting and that’s why I want to share this process with you through my blog post.

Next update coming soon

Meet the baker

  

  
Us Cakey peeps we have a lot in common, we love buying cake kit,get dazzled with glitter, in awe of a drip cake, oh yes we certainly share our love of all things baked and cake, but yet every business is so unique. 

The Cake community is a large one that can be super supportive, critical, fun,innovative. We love sharing techniques, hints and tips but we don’t always get a chance to shout about what we do or just share what makes us tick.

So with this in mind 1-2 times a month I will feature a cake business on my blog.

 You’ll get a set of questions to answer, all based on you and your Cakey biz.

Your replies will then be shared with thousands of Cakey peeps and beyond.

Feel free to add your website and any social media links to your feature which will also be shared within the meet the baker blog.

If your interested in this feature please email hello@kakeandcupkakery.co.uk with Meet the baker in the subject line I’ll then send you your questions and let you know when your business is featured.

You can then share with your followers on your cake pages and social media which will give a little insight into what us bakers do.

If your on Twitter be sure to keep an eye out for the #MeetTheBaker and be sure to share the #MeetTheBaker on fb too to connect the Cakey love.

I hope you enjoy this series

Yvonne

Kake and Cupkakery 

What’s your Niche?

  
They always say the reason to start a business is to solve a problem or identify a need and once you have identified what the problem or the need is you will quite likely have a concept/idea for a business.

If you have a business baking and decorating cakes like myself you will have either started your business from being a hobbyist or just made the decision to start a cake business.

Either way we have identified that the problem that we solve as cakers is creating speciality cakes handmade for various celebrations and occasions, small or large, budget or more expensive we are certainly in the business of bringing a little joy into people’s lives with cake, in fact I would say we are memory makers as most people can remember receiving an extra special birthday cake. 

Now starting the business that’s the easy part,the next is to identify your niche or in other words what your good at or where your passion is.

Do you need to have a niche? Maybe not but think of any business and you will see that their is at least one thing that they excel at or they are known for. 

In the Cakey world it is just so diverse we have businesses who specialise in life size cakes, gravity defying cakes, sugar paste flowers, decorating with buttercream, royal icing, Wedding cakes, Cupcakes, brownies, bundt cakes, too many to list all but I can guarantee every single person who bakes and decorates cakes has a niche.

For me my business focuses on celebration cakes and dessert style cupcakes with the occasional wedding cake.

 The wedding cake market is an area that I haven’t really targeted much but I have some ideas around this that will suit my niche so will look into more marketing in this area over the next few months ready for the 2017 wedding season.

  
With celebration cakes I mainly make birthday cakes, and this has happened quite organically as that is where the majority of my orders come from and I would say compared to wedding cakes the percentage of birthday cakes I make in comparison to wedding cakes is 90% so I feel pretty comfortable knowing that this is enjoyably a big part of my business because that’s what my customers mainly order and then thankfully  go on to recommend me to family and friends who then in turn order  a birthday cake themselves.

   
 Now what I consider to be my niche is dessert style cupcakes, basically put I love cupcakes and wanted my customers to not necessarily order a cake for a special occasion but order some cupcakes just because they fancy a treat in different flavor combinations or they want to gift a box to friends and family. My customers are always keen to see what flavor combinations I will come up with next and if you can get the word out about what you do in your local area or beyond it really helps you to stand out from what others do in a similar market.

So over the years I have concentrated in coming up with a whole concept around my cupcakes and I recognize this is to be my niche.

 
Early on I made the mistake of trying to be all things to all people and this is easily done because we want to try everything and in my opinion doing this usually brings you to a conclusion of what you like to do and what sells well with your customers but being all things to all people has the danger that you end up not really appealing to anyone or spreading yourself too thin.

I tried cake pops and macarons, haven’t ventured into iced cookies (yet) but might have a dabble.

 I do bake other items such as brownies, doughnuts etc… but I quickly realised cake pops and macarons didn’t come to me as easily as cakes plus there wasn’t much of a demand with my customers for cake pops or macarons. So putting this to one side I leave it to businesses that do this so much better than me and I decided cake pops and macarons wouldn’t be part of my product offering on a permanent basis just very limited occasions or special request.

The advantages of what finding your niche brings is that your customers will know what you do, you can then target and market more effectively depending on your niche.

There are many  baking related business who I believe have captured their niche perfectly and it is very clear what they do.

Pop bakery- cake pops http://www.popbakery.co.uk

Tasty cakes – large and life size cakes https://www.facebook.com/Cakes.Tasty

Yipsy macarons – Macarons http://www.yipsymacarons.com/

Crumbs and doilies – Cupcakes http://www.crumbsanddoilies.co.uk 

Cakes by cliff – Drip cakes http://www.cakesbycliff.com

Queen of hearts couture cakes -Buttercream artist http://www.queenofheartscouturecakes.com

The businesses mentioned above have clearly identified what they enjoy doing and what their customers want and through social media has allowed the customer to buy into what they do and what they specialise in.

So if you ever find yourself feeling stuck on the direction of your business go back to basics and focus on what you do best, where your passion lies or where the majority of your orders come from. Before you know it you have your niche.

I would love to hear what your niche is so please feel free to comment and share.

***Update***

So the lovely Valeri and Christina from Queen of hearts couture cakes have sent me this brilliant message regarding finding your Niche:

Aaawwww! Thank you so much for thinking about us. 

Well, what we can say is, it is indeed important to find your niche. Although, market is very competitive so you have to up your game. You can or not necessarily have your niche..or maybe you’ll eventually discover it. But what’s important is, every cake photo you post, HAS TO BE: neat, professional looking, and with your style in it. This is your portfolio..and this is what people see and will remember you for. So every post you will do is a chance to get people interested and remember you..so make the most of it 🙂

Hope we make sense! Haha 

Much love to all of you from 2 crazy buttercream girls,

Valeri & Christina xxx”

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.  

And the winner is……….

IMG_0276

It’s awards season, Grammys,Oscars, the Brits, Cake International (Manchester) well this blog is about cakes so a definite cake reference is needed.

So, today is the Oscars and I’ve made an Oscar themed cake

So after a late cake session I was catching up on new film releases with Film 2015 on the BBC last week and I was watching a review about the New Jennifer Aniston film called Cake. I haven’t watched the film yet but I do know it’s not about Cake well not in the traditional sense.
So as usual some liked the film one of the reviewers wasn’t keen and basically implied the film was created so that Aniston could win an Oscar, to show how good she is, how far she has come since friends and that she could transform herself for her craft, blah, blah blah,indeed she does look pretty different and the acting looks very serious (if you know what I mean) she certainly doesn’t look her usual polished self, but alas neither jennifer or the film have been Nominated for an Oscar but it got me thinking, awards I get it.

For years I wouldn’t enter a competition, being judged on my work sent a shiver down my spine as I never really deemed myself good enough plus why would someone put themselves through that? But I now understand the reason, pure and simple it is to be judged by your peers/experts on the work you do as well as show the effort you have gone too,how far your willing to stretch yourself for your craft using different styles and techniques plus it’s great PR.

Ive entered a few comps in my time, local bake offs, cupcake championships, and currently I’ve entered Flavours of the neighbourhood with Hotel Indigo. https://hotelindigoneighbourhood.co.uk (take a peek)

Entering competitions increases your profile, gets people talking, gets the creative juices flowing and also challenges yourself. The cake I’ve posted has new techniques to me air brushing and sculpting using modelling chocolate, ( the Oscar model)

So after many years contemplating this year I’m going for an entry or two into cake international Birmingham, what am I going to enter ? don’t know yet but I’m definatley going to bite the bullet this year so watch this space.

So have you or will you be entering any competitions this year?

Things to remember

Nearly the end of January and l am just writing my first post of 2015, its a bit later than i wanted but as they say better late than never.
So after a teeny tiny break after what was Christmas cakeageddon its back to ovens roll.

So the first couple weeks into January saw my first cake delivery of 2015 which just so happened to be a wedding cake with mixed flavoured tiered with a design brief of a very classic style wedding cake decorated with Ruby red roses and swags.

IMG_0926

To decorate the cake I used Red wine beau flower paste, I’m a bit of a convert to this flowerpaste which comes in a fab range of colours and doesn’t dry to quickly so giving you plenty of time to use before it dries out. The roses were unwired and made petal by petal as i know there are so many different methods to make roses but this method gives great results.

 

IMG_0943
The cake covering l used was Culpitt sugarpaste, I do tend to use either Bako paste or Culpitt but Culpitt just pips it for me, slightly more pricey compared to other paste but i like the way it covers which doesn’t graze or give that elephant skin effect.

Both paste come in Ivory or white, I used the Ivory as this was chosen by the client and was a very good choice.

Anyway all went well with delivery and set up and l arrived at the venue and received some lovely comments from the venue staff, so after having a quick chat i headed off home but then as I was half way l sudden realised arghhhh forgot to take a pic of the cake set up but luckily for me the mother of the bride kindly sent me a picture of the cake. So with this in mind it made me think about things to remember when delivering a Wedding cake.

  • Emergency kit – Edible glue, cocktail sticks, royal icing, extra roses, what ever you have used on your cake always have extra in your emergency kit incase anything goes a miss upon arrival at the venue.
  • Camera or phone – make sure you have your batteries or phoned charged up
  • Two hands are better than one- Never underestimate how heavy wedding cakes can be so you may need a helping hand or two or three
  • Sat Nav- Country hotels, Golf clubs, wedding venues in general can sometimes be off the beaten track so be prepared
  • Order form –  I always take the original order form with me including the wedding planners phone numbers as sometimes its only the set up staff that will be at the venue and the front door isn’t always open so always give them a quick call if that’s the case.

If you have any other suggestions about things to remember please feel free to comment.