Who is Cakes and Cardies?

Meeting my friend yesterday really helped me focus on what or who Cakes and Cardies is or what or who I want it to be. I spent a good few hours thinking about what I want the business to reflect both about me and the cakes. I found myself just writing words that summed up how I feel about baking and what I want my cakes to say to the rest of the world (ambitious I know but who knows….).

It also helped me zone in on what Cakes and Cardies is not, a very good starting point. I found myself trawling the internet looking at cake businesses and blogs and there is a lot of sameness out there, there is also a lot of competition out there. But most of these are cake decorators, you know, the ones that can sculpt at dinosaur at the drop of a hat and it will look amazing! I think these are pretty special but that’s not what I want to do. For me this is more about the look of the finished product, the precision, attention to detail etc. They take a lot of time in the planning and a lot of time in the execution. There are people out there that are great at this, I don’t have the skills and it’s not what I love about baking.

What I love about baking is the cake, simple as that. The cake has to be the main event. I can’t count the number of times I have had a cupcake with amazing decoration, swirls of buttercream and sparkly bits only to be disappointed by the actual cake. That, for me, is a crime against cakes! The cake must be moist, flavourful and fresh. I’m not saying that a cake doesn’t have to look good, it does, but that should just be the cherry on the top!

After my afternoon of cogitating on cakes I met my friend and was armed with lots of ideas and thoughts about what I want the logo/brand to convey and we had a very productive evenings work (over a yummy chicken burger and a glass or two of Merlot!). It really got me excited about the project. It was good to talk about what I want Cakes and Cardies to be and it has given me a clearer vision of what is ahead. I hope to have some designs in the next few weeks and then I can get on with branding the website and setting up all the social media stuff. I may need a young person to help with that!!

All in all it has been a productive week business-wise. I think the next post needs to be about cakes, and what better time to make cakes than at Easter. Look out for my Easter baking blog in the next few days.

PS: Just to prove I am still baking here are some Viennese whirls that I made this afternoon, from the Hairy Bikers Baking book (one of my favourite books, some great cakes and breads).

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New Start

This time last year that I was feeling very happy and content with my life. Just married and back from honeymoon and a good job with people I enjoyed working with. Then in June I was made redundant. A bit of a blow at the time but then it seemed that this could be an opportunity. I love baking and have been doing a lot more in the last few years, writing a blog about it as well, so why not do the the thing I love? Why not start a cake business?

And so the idea grew. I talked about it a lot and the first week I was off work I did lots of research, made lots of lists and notes, I was on my way. Then a friend called and said that he needed some cover while his admin person was off sick, could I help? I found it difficult to turn down paid work and it was only three days a week so I could continue preparation for the business. Or so I thought. I found I made excuses not to do work on the business on my days off, I had work to do in the house, I was meeting friends, I had lots of time, no rush.

When this job finished at the end of August I thought, now is the time and I got stuck in again with the research etc. I seems ridiculous but then another friend called and said that there might be some work at her company, would I be interested? Having worked and supported myself for so long it was hard (again) to say no to paid work. Although my husband was very supportive of me trying the business I still felt that paid work is paid work and shouldn’t be sneezed at. So, I said yes and six months went by and I kept coming up with more excuses, putting everything on the long finger.

In February, my husband had a word with me! He said that either I try the business or I look for a job, no point in talking about it and not doing anything. He was happy to support me through it all and help out if needed. So, what was stopping me? Many things I guess. I am not young so starting a new business now seems a bit foolish but on the other hand I have a lot of life experience that can help in this adventure. It is one thing for friends to like my cakes but quite another for the paying public to like them enough to pay money for them, it is a bit scary to put yourself and your cakes out there in a crowded market. All valid points but as my sister in law said over the weekend “what is the worst that can happen, what are the risks?” And she is right.

When I imagine myself in the kitchen every day baking cakes I think that’s a good way to spend my day, I enjoy the process, the creativity and, of course, the end result! I have talked about it for too long, I need to do it or go back to the nine to five. And if it doesn’t work then I know I have tried, that is the main thing. I have to take my fears and get over them one by one.

So, I have now left the second part time job and am devoting my time to the business, no distractions. I want to chronicle the journey in this blog, that way I will have a record of the highs and the lows. If it is on paper (well, internet paper!) then it feels more real and I can track my progress.

The first thing that I need to sort out is the logo/branding for the website (this is just a holding design) and then I can use that for business cards, leaflets etc. I think getting the identity of the business right is crucial. To that end I am meeting a friend of mine tonight who has a great design background and is willing to help out. Before that I need to work on a mission statement, if you will,  what is Cakes and Cardies about? What does it stand for? What do I want to achieve? So without further ado I am off to get started on that small job!

I hope to blog at least three times a week with updates on the business and also what cakes I am working on at the moment so hopefully there will be a story for you to follow and get involved in!

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