Welcome to another Saturday small business chat.Today we’re meeting Yvonne Donald, the enterprising owner of Cupkakery, purveyor of fine cupcakes in the Midlands. I met Yvonne at the Entrepreneur meetup in central Birmingham, and we had a good chat about what it’s like setting up and running a new business while still working in that day job. Although we have very different business models and workflows, many of the issues are still the same. I hope I serve as a good example that you CAN get there into full-time self-employment!
So, let’s say hello to Yvonne, and see how she’s getting on so far …
What’s your business called? When did you set it up?
My Business is called Cupkakery, making gourmet style cupcakes with unique flavour combinations. It officially launched last year in late summer 2011.
What made you decide to set up your own business?
I love being creative, and trained as a chef, so I think its in my blood. I work so hard for others that having my own business I would work even harder because it’s mine, and I always wanted to be my own boss.
What made you decide to go into this particular business area?
Because of my culinary/hospitality background it seemed a bit like a natural progression, as I always enjoyed patisserie work at college.
Had you run your own business before?
No, but running other businesses within organisations, it sometimes felt like I was.
How did you do it? Did you launch full-time, start off with a part-time or full-time job to keep you going … ?
I’m working as a 5-9er, still doing the full time thing while trying to build the business so I can take the plunge.
What do you wish someone had told you before you started?
What would you go back and tell your newly entrepreneurial self?
I should have done it sooner.
What do you wish you’d done differently?
Same as above: started sooner. I may have been running Cupkakery full time by now.
What are you glad you did?
Stuck to my initial Cupkakery idea and got branding,website etc. done in the early stages. I just have to build on it now.
What’s your top business tip?
Network. It’s essential, I love talking to people who have been there, done that, as well as meeting others who are starting up, or just making contacts. You never know where the next lead will come from. Oh, and embrace social networking (it’s the future).
How has it gone since you started? Have you grown, diversified or stayed the same?
The business has grown in that I have gained new customers and have hardly had a quiet month until now, where it’s slowed a bit for the summer, I also make larger celebration cakes, and that side of the business is called Kake so there is a slight diversification, and I am also branching out into workshops; I have done one already, and there are more to follow.
Where do you see yourself and your business in a year’s time?
Wow, a year’s time! I would love to have my cakes featured at a major event, and the Cupkakery brand becoming more popular and to be either in premises or certainly on the path to it.
Cupcakes are still a real trend around Birmingham, and Yvonne differentiates herself with her interesting taste combinations and also looking into varieties suitable for people with different food intolerances – we had a good chat about my odd diet when we met. It’s always important to be flexible and to diversify, and it looks like Yvonne is doing just that. I look forward to hearing what she’s up to in a year’s time!
If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more freelancer chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured.