The Pretty Cake Company
A business success story from Oxfordshire
It all started almost seven years ago when I wanted to make my three year old daughter a birthday cake to remember. I recall clearly how I didn’t even make the cake! I just used bought Swiss rolls from a supermarket and rolled them in sheets of sugarpaste fondant, added a tower of stacked marshmallows and a dusting of edible glitter and ‘Hey Presto’ a fairy tale castle! She was totally thrilled. Her little face lit up and from that moment I realised how special cakes are to any important celebration.I’ve always loved home-baking; there is nothing more mouth watering than the aroma of freshly baked goodies such as cakes and cookies and the pleasure on your guests’ faces when they taste the normally forbidden treats. But celebration cake making is on a different level; it’s not just the taste, but the cake has to have that initial visual impact that takes your breath away.
Gradually I experimented and, after studying many books, mastered the basics in cake decorating and increased my abilities. Word soon spread and I realised there was demand for a highly bespoke business offering good quality cakes which were decorated to a high standard and, most importantly, to the individual.
With my youngest daughter starting school full time I knew that I had to give my business a go, but where do I start?
Oxfordshire Business Enterprises (OBE)
Whilst searching on the internet for help with new businesses, I came across Oxfordshire Business Enterprises (OBE); a free advice service for people seeking help starting a business or in the early stages of running one, throughout the entire Oxfordshire area. I spoke to Lynette who gave me an appointment with one of their advisors, John Vernon, who I soon found out is a man of great experience and knowledge! From the initial meeting John listened to my background, viewed examples of my work and from that helped me establish an action plan to launch my business. His advice was invaluable as he highlighted areas specific to my business that previously I hadn’t even considered but from a legal perspective were fundamentally crucial.
From my first meeting with John in July 2008 I managed to launch my business in the following September. Since then I have had numerous follow up meetings with John to update him on my progress and also to discuss further direction for the growth of my business. John has encouraged me, made me feel confident in my decisions and inspired me to aim high.
I am now coming to the end of my third year and am astounded at how the business has grown, so much so that we have moved house and I now have my own cake studio! I have seen wedding orders quadruple from the first year and already I am taking wedding bookings up to 15 months in advance for next year. I also have the luxury of being able to direct my business where I want it to go. My aim is to be one of the premier wedding cake suppliers in the region and already I am being recommended by some of the top local wedding venues.
I can confidently say I would not be where I am without the initial guidance and help of John and the OBE team.