Are you championing independent businesses?
Through my feature, Lula Belle Meets, I'm championing independent businesses and finding out what drives people to become self employed.
Lula Belle Meets: Alison Goddard owner of Daisy Cupcakes in Warwick
As you'll know from are these the best cupcakes you've seen? and are cupcakes over rated? I've had the pleasure of knowing Alison for over 12 months, sampling her exquisite cupcakes for myself as well as giving them as gifts. Here I find out what drives Alison to create such edible works of art.
Where did the concept of Daisy Cupcakes come from?
A few years ago we ordered cupcakes from London for our wedding and were decidedly underwhelmed by them. As a home economics teacher, I know a bit about baking and thought I could make better! So the challenge began, and I started experimenting and researching and learning, attending courses and buying equipment and then set about my project to create the perfect cupcakes. Baking for friends and family was a brilliant outlet for all my 'experiments' and word soon spread. So a year and a half ago, with regular orders coming in thick and fast, Daisy Cupcakes was born and we celebrated at Christmas in 2010 when my son created the first Daisy website for me.
How did you develop your idea?
The idea didn't so much develop as evolve. In the beginning, there was never any intention to have a business, but through my passion and some might say, pig headedness, Daisy Cupcakes really did just evolve from a competitive desire to do better than the wedding cupcakes! However, being a perfectionist and a real control freak, I wanted my own individual style and this developed through my love of all things pretty - vintage treasures, pearls, cameos, flowers, buttons and gorgeous pastel colours, all reflected in my cake designs.
Was it easy to set up the business?
Yes - my background in Home Economics means that I am familiar with the legal requirements for a food business and although I am pretty useless at the technical bit of a computer, I am happy to promote and market my business using social media. I have a kitchen that complies with Food Safety Law and has achieved a 5 star rating, I have far too much baking equipment and I have enthusiasm! I love meeting people and pride myself on good customer care and I believe that word of mouth is the most important marketing tool a small business has.
What is the philosophy of Daisy Cupcakes?
Simple .... cakes that taste as fabulous as they look and first class customer care.
What is the USP of Daisy Cupcakes?
The creation of an order of Daisy Cupcakes is completely bespoke and tailored to each customer's specification, from start to finish. I want my cakes to be the best you have ever seen and eaten. I have very high design standards and pride myself on the original visual appearance of my cakes as well as my culinary skills. My customers tell me that they buy Daisy Cupcakes not only because of their fabulous taste and finish, but also for the sheer delight and joy they give to the people they are bought for.
Has it been difficult to compete against the established chains?
I don't mass produce cakes, I provide a personal, bespoke service, so I think I bake for rather a specialist market.
What is your strategy for telling people about Daisy Cupcakes?
Word of mouth is a very powerful marketing tool, in addition, there is my website, I have a Facebook page and I write my Daisy Journal three times a week. The online statistics continue to grow daily. I also exhibit at Wedding Fairs and Vintage Fairs. My business card is postcard sized with a photograph of a beautiful display of cakes and as such, gets displayed in people's homes - excellent promotion!
What have been the highlights so far?
There have been so many highlights over the last 12 months, where do I start! Creating my gorgeous vintage styled Daisy Studio allowed me to give my business a special home in addition to the Daisy Kitchen. It is a cosy snug with bunting, pearls, shabby chic furniture and lots of vintage accessories.
I launched Daisy workshops, inviting people to learn the Daisy style for themselves. I’ve had lots of fun with these and it’s great to see students leave the Daisy Studio with a big smile on their face carrying beautiful cupcakes that they have created.
I have also created Daisy Cupcakes By Post, posting carefully packaged cupcakes all over the UK as perfect, original birthday gifts, thank you gifts, happy new baby gifts and I Love You gifts.
I have been involved in several photo shoots, creating cupcakes for themed and styled shoots for photographers and these photographs have been published in magazines and wedding blogs.
Its been a lovely busy time and there are lots more plans!
What does the future hold for Daisy Cupcakes?
I hope that my business will continue to evolve and grow. There are plans in the pipeline to take the Daisy Workshop programme 'on tour' as more and more people want to learn to bake and decorate cakes and I am also planning to expand the 'Daisy by Post' service to include more delicious baked goods. Onwards and upwards!
What would you say to someone who has a business idea and wants to start their own business?
I would encourage people to follow their dream but to be realistic about it. Sometimes the trickiest part is deciding whether your business idea is a hobby or a real money making business venture. I had the financial security of a full-time job so I would suggest starting a small business part-time at first, to test the market, and work long hours at night and at weekends to build interest in your brand before taking the plunge full-time and giving up a day job! Most importantly I would suggest never being afraid to say no .... when you are first in your own small business, it's tempting to say yes to everything, but this can often compromise your brand. Be choosy and selective!
Thank you to Alison for providing such an inspirational interview. For me Daisy Cupcakes is such a success because Alison continues to improve her skills in order to develop the Daisy range and that she isn't afraid to stay no thereby doesn't compromise her brand. I, for one, can't recommend Daisy Cupcakes highly enough, they really are scrumptious edible works of art!
I'm championing independent businesses......I hope you do too!
Lula Belle x