Happy 1st Birthday to Cakes & Cardies!

In the words of Barry Manilow (showing my age and squareness!), looks like we made it….through the first year in business. The official date was 8th September but just getting around to writing this now. It’s been a great year, a tough learning curve with some highs and lows. In fact, there was a moment during the summer that I was considering finishing up but after talking it through with husband and friends I decided to keep going. And since then |I have never been busier.

I am in the lucky position of having my husband’s wholehearted support and for that I will always be grateful. Without that I would not be able to do this. Running a baking business is hard work and it takes a while to get your name out there.

SAMSUNG CSC
My first ever cake, supplied to Bambuni, Rosewater and Pistachio

Thanks to Bambuni in Nunhead who have supported me from the start, buying my cakes and giving great feedback too. I am also now supplying The Brockley Deli and Old Spike Roastery. And most recently The Ivy House pub in Nunhead, thanks Aimi for all the orders! And in between that there have been birthday cakes, leaving cakes and cakes for BBQs.

80s Inspired Birthday Cake
80s Inspired Birthday Cake

I have learned a lot along the way and my cakes are better for all the practise and have come up with some of my own recipes (my favourite being the Espresso Martini Cake!).

Espresso Martini Cake
Espresso Martini Cake

On the Cardies side, I have crocheted bikinis, ponchos, hair slides and tops and knitted baby hats, hooded jackets and jumpers. I also set up an Esty shop to sell some of my crafts and it looks like I will be making doggie jumpers and scarves in the near future! I’m nothing if not eclectic!

Multicoloured, to say the least!
Multicoloured, to say the least!

To help with all of this I am  working part time in publishing again, this means that I can continue with the baking and knitting/crochet while having a bit of income and also a really nice job. It is good to have that balance of going to the office and doing my job there, meeting people etc and then being able to do the baking the rest of the time, best of both worlds you could say.

So here’s to the next year! Thanks to all who have supported Cakes & Cardies this year and I look forward to baking for lots of new people in the coming weeks and months!

[read more]

Fairs and Festivals

As part of building business I have been doing some local craft fairs and festivals over the last couple of months with varying success. These are a great way of meeting people, customers and fellow traders, a way of gathering information on what is happening out in the real world. It’s not always what you want to hear but that is all part of it, I guess.

The first of these fairs was the Fair on the Green back in May and this was the first fair that I brought along some of my knitting and crochet as well as the cakes. It was held in the Salvation Army hall on Nunhead Green and was an eclectic mix of stalls – Fancy Betty, Rebecca Hunter Art, Maria Nilsson, Forever Living, SIXYBL (all with me upstairs) and more cakes, soap and pottery downstairs.

IMG_20150523_110518

IMG_20150523_102202

Passionfruit Cake
Passionfruit Cake

It was a strange day, the weather wasn’t good (unseasonably cold and grey) which didn’t help so there wasn’t the footfall that was hoped for. I did ok in the end but had lots of leftovers which were happily consumed by work colleagues that week!

Next up was Brimmington Park Midsummer Festival on 20th June. This is a very small park between Queens Park Road and Old Kent Road in Peckham and at first I was a bit sceptical that this was going to work but had a really good day in the end. Again the weather was not our friend but the bad rain held off until the end of the festival!

IMAG0203

IMG_20150620_115713

IMG_20150620_111425

A week later I was in Norbory at The Notorious Norbory Fair and Market. This was held in a function room at the back of a pub and had lots of great local stalls selling handmade goods, art, bread etc and Fancy Betty was there too, nice to see a familiar face! Unfortunately, the day wasn’t as busy as hoped, this was the second event and the first had been very busy. Not sure what happened on that day but no one was buying cakes! Lots of lovely people and lots of compliments for the cakes that sold, especially the rosewater and pistachio cake.

IMAG0211

 

And the most recent one was last weekend, 4th July, at the Blythe Hill Fields Summer Festival, a local park that holds this annual festival of music, food and crafts. This one was a bit more complicated as I had to provide my own stall, table and gazebo. Luckily my friends Jo and Simon came to the rescue and rather than having to invest in a table and gazebo they had both that I could borrow.

With the help of my wonderful husband we set up the stall, making sure that there were weights holding down both table and gazebo. The park is on a hill, clue in the title, and it was windy. You can see what’s coming, right? So, we were all set up, selling some cakes and especially my rosewater and pistachio cake when a breeze blew over the cake stand and the rosewater cake was on the ground! Not the best moment!! But it was a good day in the end, selling out of a couple of things and most of the rest.

IMG_20150704_174636

 

Jammy Dodgers
Jammy Dodgers

And so after doing four very different festivals and fairs I am no wiser as to what makes a successful fair, the weather plays a big part, advertising too. But even if there are lots of people you can’t guarantee sales, so what is the missing x factor? I know the cakes are good (that’s not me blowing my own trumpet, people have told me) so is it how they are displayed? Am I selling in the right places? How do you get to the right places? Many questions to be answered in the coming days and weeks.

 

[read more]