Good morning! Today it’s time to have an update from Jennifer Woracker, who runs cake topper business Twinkleballs. I have to admit that I hadn’t even heard about cake toppers when I interviewed Jennifer about her then-new company back in December 2012, but they’re very popular and also the ideal product to develop into a wider portfolio, which Jennifer has in fact done, offering free and paid-for tutorials on her website and branching out into clay keepsakes. I interviewed Jennifer after the mad Christmas rush, and the first thing that I mentioned was where she said she wanted to be now, a year ago. This is what she said then: “I see myself working from a lovely little purpose-built workshop in a Pembrokeshire country garden, taking on lots more work and being able to attend wedding fairs and craft markets. I would like to be holding cupcake decorating events and expand the products that I sell to included printed toppers and baking supplies“. Let’s see how she’s doing …
Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?
I am very happy to say that yes I am, I now have a lovely purpose-built workshop in Pembrokeshire. I have been able to attend one wedding fair and I am hoping to do lots more in the future. The new products that I talked about are still on my ‘to do’ list!
What has changed and what has stayed the same?
I have just passed my driving test, which will make attending fairs so much easier. The biggest change is the fact that we are expecting a new addition to the family in May, so I am having to plan my business around that now.
What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?
I have learned to manage my workload a little better, so I am not having to work so many late nights/am shifts.
Any more hints and tips for people?
Networking is so important, You need to keep at it to stay in the public eye. I recommend getting on to Google + and Twitter, as Facebook is making it harder and harder to be seen.
Set up a website: many website providers are free and super easy to use, and around 70% of my commissions come via the website!
Join a group of like-minded business people for support,advice and ideas. It is also lovely to feel a part of a community: working from home can be lonely so the friendly chatter and banter is very refreshing!
You might like to read my blog post on running your own online business, it is a free guide aimed at offering a little advice from one small business to another.
And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?
I hope to be running cake decorating classes locally and to be on my way to having a tutorial book published. However, this might take more than a year, as I think the new baby will slow things down. I am also working on a new range of clay characters that will make extra special keepsake gifts for special occasions.
Lots of exciting plans there, and somehow I don’t think the new baby will hold Jenny back from developing the company, although she might need to bring in some help here and there. Oh, and watch out for more from Jenny, as I extracted lots of details about her workshop for my upcoming article on people’s experience of moving into dedicated premises, coming soon …
If you’ve enjoyed this interview, please see more small business chat, the index to all the interviewees, and information on how you can have your business featured. If you’re considering setting up a new business or have recently done so, why not take a look at my book, Going It Alone At 40: How I Survived my First Year of Full-Time Self-Employment.