One Cupcake At A Time
I saw a quote recently “for every two minutes of glamour, there are eight hours of hard work” and boy oh boy did that resonate through every bone in my body! The glitz of the finished product, for me being my cupcakes or cake creations are gone in a blink of an eye, the moment the customer comes to collect their order and whisks away their bouqcake leaving behind the worktop (organised) mess for me to contend with.
I lovingly hand pipe each individual petal, spend hours mixing colours, baking sponges and planning the design and arrangement. No matter how long I have been doing this I still wonder whether it really will be “all right on the night”.
Don’t get me wrong, the look on my customers faces when they say “WOW Kerry, I still can’t believe these are cupcakes and not a bunch of beautiful flowers” makes every second worthwhile. But I do wish the cleaning fairies would visit my kitchen once in a while to tidy everything away back in to the cupboards.
This is only the beginning, between home schooling my two little angels (when they want to be!), chores and finally some “me time” usually spent walking, gathering flower inspiration from the nature that surrounds me, visualising my next online tutorial (tutorials are available here) & how to technically create & bring them to life with my videographer. Trust me it can take days or even weeks of trial and error for me to be satisfied that I’ve “cracked it” to a standard that I can film a new course to share with my cake community. When they say you are your own worst critic, I certainly tick that box!
You’d think by now it would nearly be time for a comforting, cosy hot chocolate (or maybe a glass or two of wine) and winding down for the evening with my husband after successfully putting our children to bed. But no! the life of a cupcake business doesn’t stop let alone sleep! Kerry’s Bouqcakes has a worldwide audience and so someone is always awake! There are so many different time zones to cater for. I catch up with the admin from the day, checking emails and referring to my diary to see if I can squeeze in any more orders that week, writing a shopping list to make sure I’ve got enough ingredients for those last minute orders. Then responding to questions on my social media feeds (check me out on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter & Youtube) as to what piping tips, what piping bags, what colours, what cupcake boxes, what buttercream recipe (need I go on) I use to create my edible art. Sometimes I wish that the comments could answer themselves to give my fingers a break from typing after a full day of floral piping. I do love reading each comment, I love hearing the feedback, seeing that people are interested, that they want to learn the skill for themselves, that they’re having success with their hobby or their own small cake business. The comments really do bring a smile to my face, I’ll often take a screenshot of some of them and if I’m ever having a challenging day, I’ll take a look at these positive comments, take a deep breath in and power on with the task in hand. My admin team that consists of my wonderful, AMAZING Mum who manages my website and emails even though she has come out of early retirement & now does this in her spare time and Chloe who helps me with the marketing side of Kerry’s Bouqcakes even with her own fulltime job, both do fantastic jobs and I’d be lost without their support but Kerry’s Bouqcakes is what it says on the tin – “Kerry’s”, and it’s my baby that I’ve nurtured and grown over the years. It’s my name above the door so to speak and I want it to be successful.
For those who use social media for their business will understand the demands that these comments bring, the expectation that every comment and every direct message is responded to almost within the hour is something I have and still do struggle with every so often. Well to be honest, it’s more of a worry than a struggle. I don’t want to make any one feel like their message isn’t appreciated or that they’re being ignored but the endless questions when many of the answers are often already there to be seen can be quite challenging. When one is answered, another ten appear, sometimes my profiles will glitch as there’s such a constant stream of comments & I have to take 5 minutes making a cuppa before I throw my phone out of the window. So be kind to me if I occasionally drop the ball!!!
As many of you will know and as mentioned in this blog, I teach online courses (and private lessons/group workshops pre-pandemic!) and regularly get asked for help and advice from cake makers who are not part of my community. I love helping people and will happily give support and advice with no expectation that they purchase a tutorial but I also have to think of my students who have purchased my knowledge via a tutorial and not give this away for free to others!
All of my students gain access to a private, VIP Facebook group which is a lovely community of like-minded cake enthusiasts who have all purchased a tutorial and seeing the love, help and chit-chat on there is really something special.
Just please remember that being self-employed isn’t necessarily a walk in the park. Yes, there is the creative freedom and independence but it’s 7 days a week, full of early starts and late finishes, no sick pay or paid annual leave. Behind Kerry’s Bouqcakes is a full time, working Mum, trying to do the best for her family and business – so please, be kind, always.
Over the years since starting this business, I have definitely adapted and become more “thick-skinned”. I was quite frankly a sensitive flower at the beginning of my journey but over time I’ve learnt to stay grounded and grow in confidence. In the early days any negative comment (you can’t avoid them!) would really knock my confidence and I wouldn’t be able to look past it for weeks, these comments are so far and few between that these days even though I am still sensitive by nature, and that’s okay, they don’t get me down. Use the negative as motivation to keep pushing forward to reach your goals. For every negative comment there are hundreds of positives! My followers really are amazing, they give me a boost when I need it and even let me know when they spot one of my images being used by someone else as their own which is a huge bug bare for me!!
One thing for certain though, I love my job even if I sometimes wish there were more hours in the day, I love the opportunities it’s provided me not only professionally, such as being featured in some awesome craft and cake magazines, my local news and even Vogue Paris!; but also personally speaking being able to do something day in and day out that I enjoy. A passionate hobby turned into a business that enables me to be there for my children.