Tips and advice
Catherine Knight says those going into the business should be prepared not to make an immediate profit. “It takes patience, and acceptance that you’re not necessarily going to make the money according to the time you spend,” she says. Lynn Oxley agrees: “You have to be happy with the fact that you’re not going to make any money for at least two years, because everything you make is reinvested into machinery and equipment. Even now, five years on, my staff get paid but I don’t always,” she says.
There are ways to maximise your earnings: Oxley decided to branch out and started a chocolatier alongside the cake making business. She now runs both out of a shop in the centre of Morpeth, Northumberland.
Similarly, The Cake Store will soon be launching a new range of mail-order cakes, which can be sent through the post without being damaged. “We’re going to launch a new website in September. We’ve devised a special cake that can be posted,” says Tim Slatter.
The Cake Store has also used the internet to its advantage by posting videos of its cakes being made on sites like YouTube. “We’ve had over 16,000 views of our fairy castle,” enthuses Slatter. “The more exposure you get, the better, you know?”
The best advice, though, is to stay abreast of developments in the industry. Trends, technologies and materials are constantly evolving, and staying aware of developments could mean the difference between getting a client or not. Knight agrees: “There’s so much to learn and it’s changing all the time,” she says.