A young mother has made her childhood passion a thriving new business, launching a bespoke cake company with help from one of the UK’s leading business start-up support services, Blue Orchid.
Kelly Jones, 24, began trading as The Manchester Cakehouse at the end of June. Based in Kelly’s Swinton home, the online business specialises in made-to-order birthday and celebration cakes for both private and corporate occasions. Signature treats include vintage-style decorated cupcakes popular for tea parties, as well as rainbow sponge cakes in a range of playful designs.
Kelly worked full-time overseeing security installations for a major UK brand when her role was made redundant in November last year. Facing a tough job market, she also needed to negotiate potential job roles around care for her six year old son. While searching for work, Kelly found herself baking every day, using her new free time to craft pleasing homemade treats for family and friends.
Reflecting on these months, Kelly said: “I’ve been baking cakes since I was a child and rediscovering this pastime as a mother served as a great focus at an uncertain time. My partner suggested my baking could be made into a business, and when I mentioned this to my local job centre they put me in touch with Blue Orchid.”
With the idea to launch her own online cake shop, Kelly was paired with a specialist business advisor to help shape a competitive business plan. She completed a course in finance and planning to prepare for self-employment, and used insight gained in one-to-one advisory sessions to determine fitting marketing strategies for a growing customer base.
Kelly Jones said: “The support I’ve received from Blue Orchid has been excellent. If ever I felt nervous or had a question, my business advisor Jayne was there in person or on email ready with practical but also inspirational advice. The planning side, especially cashflow forecasting, was completely new to me, but with Jayne’s help I began trading just four weeks in.”
The Manchester Cakehouse is already a full-time business, filling orders across the region. Kelly finds working for herself hugely rewarding: “I love the sense of satisfaction that comes from doing something yourself, and I get to set my own standards too. For instance, The Cakehouse only bakes with free range eggs, whereas I imagine if I worked for someone else that may not be the case.”
Blue Orchid business advisor Jayne Allman said: “The Manchester Cakehouse has only been up and running for a short time, but Kelly is already busy with orders and starting to expand into wedding cakes and even baking classes. Her cake designs are amazing and with a clear business plan, it’s little wonder things are taking off fast.”
Other budding entrepreneurs across Greater Manchester can access one-to-one business advice and support through Blue Orchid’s locally-based business start-up service. Based in easily accessible local venues, Blue Orchid’s business advisors work in the local community to offer a complete package of support for individuals wishing to set up their own business.
For more information about the services provided by Blue Orchid, please visit http://www.blueorchid.co.uk/