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We are really excited to launch nationwide delivery next month…Yay! After 2 years of hand delivering our cakes we can finally send by courier. It’s a brilliant feeling and feeling really chuffed with ourselves. Britain is still going baking mad and many of you will dream of quitting your job and making cakes or chasing your dream in other ways so I thought I’d share my journey with you so far:

I started making cupcake bouquets in July 2011 while working as a clothing designer/technologist at Trespass HQ in Glasgow. It was a big organisation with lots of staff so as word and cakes got around I ended up making 3 or 4 cupcake bouquets at night and attempting to deliver them around my working day.  Money & orders were rolling in so I was thinking I’m going to quit my job, get a website and be rich!  Woohooo…Simples!

In September 2011 I quit my job, sold my convertible and bought a second hand Fiat Doblo van. I then got my first website and started selling cakes online, making them in my dad’s kitchen.

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The great thing about being in a workplace is you are surrounded by lots of people and prospective customers who you can sell to without spending on advertising so I now was beginning to struggle financially.  I had a huge clear out and sold all of my clothing and possessions on ebay biding some more time.

In December 2011 I had a really bright idea (not) that I would do a group on type deal! Let’s get lots of new customers and free advertising – Brilliant idea Pauline until you get 200 orders lol! That sure was an experience especially as 25% of them wanted them that week! I made cakes all night and delivered by van during day. Deliveries were all over the Glasgow and Lanarkshire area meaning covering over 120 miles and 7 hour of driving.  There’s no doubt about it was a hellish time but I fulfilled all the orders and got lots and lots of new customers and business started to grow – Result!

Here’s just  some of the disasters below:

1. Calamity Jane – We didn’t have a packaging solution at that stage so all cakes were hand delivered without packaging. During the winter months this meant balancing over ice and snow and yip lots of cakes volleyed in the air.

2. Recipient not home – Unlike flowers which come from a local depot and can be re-delivered, I was delivering to some houses approx 25 miles away so the goal was to get the cake delivered and order fulfilled. Most times I could leave with a neighbour but lots and lots of times there would be no one home in entire street meaning you had to return later in the day.

3. Cupcake Bouquets melting – Thankfully we have resolved this issue now but we had to re-make over 15 bouquets one day due to icing melting in the heat.

4. House Numbers – The amount of houses which don’t have a house number on them…….gggggrrrrrrrr!

4. Cupcake Bouquet Delivery driver –  Deciding to trial a delivery driver to drop off our cakes. Driving at 100 mile an hour and cake delivery defo doesn’t work! He was back in 20 minutes with 8 ruined cupcake bouquets.

4. Dogs – On arriving at recipient’s house and being attacked by dogs  – cake going flying!

All of the above ended in lots of tears but I can have a wee laugh at it now. I’m sure we will still have a lot more disasters as business grows but things are looking a little bit rosier for now and we are hoping to launch our nationwide cupcake bouquet delivery service soon.

Pauline x

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Crowdfunding – Asking a bunch of strangers to fund your business idea…Sounds absolutely crazy right?

Crowdfunding is huge in America with the likes of Kickstarter being the largest platform to raise funds. The phenomenon is really taking off here in the U.K allowing entrepreneurs to access alternative options for funds during the recession.

We launched a crowdfund via Bloomvc.com in August last year and succesfully raised £1300 for packaging development to send our cakes nationwide. We are so excited to launch nationwide delivery next month and it’s all down to the help of 14 customers and complete strangers.

Some crowdfund platforms are equity based but Bloomvc.com works by rewarding backers in return for money. If you don’t raise the full amount that you need then you don’t get a penny.

I offered lots of yummy cake and listed each person as a founder on my website cake-cetera.co.uk After perfecting the packaging I am now able to send goodies to my backers and plan to use them as guinea pigs for new products and feedback so they feel part of my journey and success.

Crowdfunding will only work for you if you put the work in. I’ve listed a few wee tips that might help if your thinking about it!

1. Build up your contacts/supporters/followers/customers first.

2. Don’t expect to upload your fund and wait on backers. You will have to spend time  every day generating interest on social media. Prepare to lose followers.

3. Expect negativity. You are asking people for money to fund your idea.

4. Reward your crowdfunders with rewards that reflect your company

5. Update your funders regularly and make them feel part of your success.

6. Don’t give up. I received £600 on the very last day from a complete stranger who has also been great in providing advice and support.

You can read more about my crowdfund below:

Pauline x

https://www.theformationscompany.com/blog/crowdfunding-small-cupcake-business-goes-national/Cupcake Bouquet

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