- Website: http://www.victoriasponge.com.au/
At what point in your career did you make the decision to become self-employed?
When the time was right to go back to work after babies!
What was the driving force behind that decision?
I decided that a job with frequent, international travel was not the way I wanted to bring a child, so gave up my job selling laboratory automation, when I had my daughter. By the time my son came along, I wanted to bring in some money but work flexibly around their needs, so I decided to turn my hobby into a business.
Describe the greatest challenges you faced when making the transition.
Starting a business with absolutely no investment, working in my own domestic kitchen, and convincing people I was now running a business not a hobby.
Which skills did you need to develop in order to become effective in your role as an entrepreneur?
Apart from the obvious cake decorating skills for the job, research is needed to keep ahead of the game. There are many women who are deciding to make cakes as an extra money-maker. I wanted to be more than that! So keeping up with the latest trends in designs in essential.
Learning to talk about myself positively and with confidence about my work to people without feeling cocky! I was used to selling products for other people, but not myself. Networking & using the social media to build a client base.
Which networking groups do you belong to?
I was invited to join a small unofficial group of women by an old school friend who lived close to me. We met every month for a year, and that is all I have done, other than sponsor the Hampshire Winning Women in Business awards for the past 2 years. Unfortunately, due to my and my husband’s work commitments, I never made one of their actual meetings!
What is the best business book you have ever read?
“Starting a Cake Decorating Business from Home”, Kathy Moore
Bought for me by a close friend and the only business book I have read!
What does the future hold for your industry?
Cakes are big at the moment, everyone is having a go! This means that making cakes from home is now very competitive. In the last 12-18 months, I have found the most lucrative part of my business has been the cupcake workshops, where people spend a day with me and either learn the basics of cupcake decorating, or more advanced lessons for making piped buttercream flowers and cupcake bouquets.
For me, I have just closed my business in the UK and moved to Sydney, where cakes are just as big, if not bigger than the UK, but decorated cupcakes are not as skilled ( as far as I have seen), so I’m hoping to teach them a thing or 2!!!
How do you feel about the current status of women in the workforce in Canada?
Cannot comment on Canada, however......
I read more and more about women wanting flexible working that can fit around the family. The small networking group I met with, was made up mainly by women wanting to bring in a second income to the family, but not wanting the hours to affect their family life. Childcare costs are so expensive these days that a great deal of women find it not worth their while to work.
I have yet to research this in Australia!
When you are featured on the cover of Time magazine, what will be the headline?
“She takes the cake!”
Or a photo of a large road, warning sign; “Beware of Sudden Icing!”.