Each month we feature one of our talented customers and share with you their story and tasty tips. This months feature, Donna Zagari, runs her own Edible Image Business - Deezee Designs. Donna was quick to point out to us, "I'm not a cake baker. I just print images for all the cake people - haha. I also do invites and party stationery etc - although the edible printing takes up the most time in my day." Printing hundreds of images for her customers each week, we doubt she'd have time to bake a cake anyway!
1. How did your edible image business journey begin?
I initially started my business (9 years ago) doing invitations and personalised party stationery. I stumbled into the edible printing when my cousin who is a professional Cake Decorator, convinced me to buy a printer and start doing them. She had been doing them a little in her shop but was getting too busy and taking time away from her cake making, and she thought it would be a good idea as they seemed to be getting very popular. I can't believe I hesitated at first - the edible printing side of my business has well and truly taken over from the invite side - to the point I have two assistants who help on different days - mainly with the packing of orders!
2. What has starting your own business meant for you?
It means I haven't had to worry about daycare - I'm here if my kids are sick (I'm sure they take full advantage of this haha) - but I am also able to make it to school assemblies and sport training etc. I just need to learn when to shut the office door!
Donna with daughters Vittoria & Alexandra
3. As a direct supplier to cake makers & decorators, what do you feel are the benefits to them of using edible images?
For the parent making their kids' cakes, they tell me their kids are very impressed when they can make a cake that features their favourite image/character on them - earns big brownie points. And for the professional cake makers, just makes their cakes all the more spectacular when I can print something that may be difficult to reproduce by hand with fondant. The edible prints can really take the cake to the next level.
Donna's custom toppers
4. What’s your favourite type of design to create?
I absolutely love the filmstrip photo wrap cakes. I've done quite a few of these strips for customers and they just look amazing, and must be so special for the recipient.
Donna made the flim strips for Animated Cakes
5. What is the current trend you’re seeing in edible images?
The cake wraps are hugely popular right now - especially floral designs - they just look amazing too. Oh and the edible wafer card prints - I am doing A LOT of these now - they don't print as vibrantly as the edible icing, but the kids love them as they stand up in their cake/cupcakes.
Floral wrap made by Donna for Sandy's Cakes
6. What is the funniest/most unusual image you’ve been asked to create?
It was a bit rude - the customer was here in my office to print a photo of her brother and she wanted to put a saying on there that he says quite alot, but was a very 'rude' word - she was embarrassed to say the word so she texted it to me so I could just type it on the cake topper - that was pretty funny.
7. Do you have any tips you can share when either printing or applying edible images?
It took me awhile to realise that printing with 'plain paper' setting was much more accurate with colours - especially with photos. High resolution always seemed to make colours a little out, and also too dark sometimes. And never let the ink tanks run completely out - failed that lesson a few times. As it is, I print hundreds every week so a printer barely lasts me 5-6 months anyway! And I have two on the go just to cover me if there are any problems.
8. What is your career highlight to date?
I do quite a bit of work for a few well known people, football teams/stars etc - however a big highlight was doing some edible printing for Sarah Murdoch's children a couple of years ago, (She's the host of Australia's Top Model) - she actually rang me herself - although at the time I did think it was just someone with the same name! I had to go back in my mind and make sure I was nice and professional on the phone. I was very impressed that she didn't just have someone handle it for her. She was so lovely.