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Self-confessed workaholic Beck Hemmingway's fond childhood memories of baking with her Grandma, along with a contented first baby saw her love for baking morph into a successful cake business of her own Caked By Beck. Here Beck shares with us her story and how she manages to keep her workaholic self in check.
1. How did your cake/sweets/business journey begin?
I grew up on a rural property and my Grandma lived on the same grounds... I spent a lot of my early years baking and creating delicious goodies with her. Cracking eggs and measuring vanilla essence etc - some of my earliest memories are of baking with her.
When I was on maternity leave with my first born in 2012, at the age of 22, I found myself incredibly bored! My son slept a lot and I filled in my days with baking all kinds of delicious goodies. It got to the point that my husband would come home from work to a kitchen full of treats and not enough people to eat them... So Caked by Beck was born!
2. What has starting your own business meant for you?
I love the flexibility that having my own business means for me. I can be at school drop-offs and pickups, I can take leave when I need (although I rarely do). I LOVE my job. I love that it gives me a creative outlet and also an income. I love my wonderful customers and their loyalty, and I love that many of these beautiful humans have gone on to become my friends.
3. What have been/are the biggest challenges you face(d) in regard to starting/building/maintaining your business?
Starting my business was a slow burn - but once it took off it had a lot of self-propulsion. It is certainly a challenge to prove yourself in an already saturated market of Cake Decorating, but once I started to gain the trust of my customers and word of mouth started to spread it took off beyond anything I could ever imagine.
Another challenge would definitely be the work-life balance struggle - I am a workaholic and sometimes I need to learn to say no... I’m getting better with that and now have 2-3 amazing employees who help me with lightening the load.
Caked by Beck team
4. What do you feel are the benefits of using edible images?
I love that edible images are a cost-effective way of incorporating a theme into a cake design without customers having to have custom made fondant toppers which can be very time consuming and expensive. I also love that it makes corporate cupcakes a breeze!
5. What is your favourite type of treat/design to create?
I love ALL cakes. Big cakes, Small cakes, Cupcakes. I am LOVING the number cake trend that is in full swing at the moment- I love how customizable it is and that each cake design is unique.
6. What is the current trend you’re seeing in edible images?
I’ve been seeing more and more edible images being used on cakes and also cake wraps being used and I must say I am LOVING it! So versatile and allows for affordable incorporation of varying themes!
7. What is the funniest/most unusual creation you’ve been asked to make?
Probably the most unusual cake I’ve been asked to make was a printed edible image of a woman’s husband COMPLETELY NUDE! Thankfully he had a sense of humour and I am told he loved the cake.
8. Do you have any tips you can share when either printing or applying edible images?
Hmm - this is a hard one. I am verrryy technologically challenged and even I have found the whole system from Edible Image Supplies user-friendly and super easy to get great results. The paper is very forgiving and easy to work with. They also have great customer support which is invaluable in this day and age.
9. What is your career highlight to date?
That’s a hard one... I guess selling out all of our cupcakes at our recent Mother’s Day stall at Greenhills would have to be one of them. Cake wise I made a KFC Bucket of Chicken Cake for my husband’s 30th birthday this year. And I used your edible image system to complete that. Also, a semi-trailer cake that I made last year that was HUGE!!! Definitely a memorable time in my career.
10. What do you do for yourself and/or within your business to help avoid or alleviate burnout?
This has been a really hard one for me to learn to balance. I have always been very determined and got to a point where I didn’t feel like I should be saying ‘No’ to potential customers, even when I was fully booked and stretched to my limits. I have since learnt (over the course of 6 years) that by doing that I am not doing myself any favours and I was not having enough down time and time with my family - which was making me feel very resentful towards my business. I have brought on 3 employees now who help me manage the workload and I couldn’t be happier. Rach, Linda and Matilda are all amazing humans and I can’t believe my luck to have them onboard.
Delegation is imperative to prevent burnout and making sure you schedule downtime for yourself where you do not do any business work!
It’s a marathon, not a sprint.