Delivering fresh, bespoke cakes from a network of bakers across the UK
Paula Wilkinson, co-founder of cake marketplace Mums Bake Cakes, tells Business Advice the story behind her brand, from foundation to pitching to the Duke of York in just£18 months.
Who are you and what’s your business?
Paula Wilkinson, co-founder of Mums Bake Cakes, a marketplace for cakes.
To understand the concept of Mums Bake Cakes, there are three elements to the process. There are customers, recipients and bakers.
Customers have a desire to buy a freshly made cake or cupcakes for somebody as a gift
Recipients are the lucky receivers of the cake
Bakers are subscribers to the service who will supply fresh cakes to a designated area, for example a tenmile radius of their homes
So, customer John, who lives in Maidstone, wants to have a freshly made cake delivered to his Aunt Mabel, who lives in Manchester. John will put Mabel’s post code into our website and hell be given a list of bakers who are able to deliver to that area.
Each baker will have uploaded samples of their cakes, John chooses a suitable cake and places his order. That order goes through to the baker who will then accept the order, bake the cake and hand deliver it to Mabel. Mabel will feedback on the quality of the cake.
The process is that simple, and derived from a personal need to send a niece a gift for her final birthday, aged 43. With a bucket list includingcakes from top restaurants, the final gift could only be cake.
Unable to source a baker local to myniece, Ienlisted the help of a baker and endured a 600-mile round trip to deliver the cake. She ultimately lost her battle with cancer, but has given her full support to go on and create an “Airbnb for cakes”.
How long have you been around for?
We created the concept in November 2015, and by January 2016 the website was collecting baker details and informing them of the imminent launch for bakers to load their information. May 2016 was the UK soft launch.
How do you make money?
Currently, bakers pay a subscription to appear on the website although there is currently a hiatus on this to encourage more bakers to join. We take a commission on every cake sale.
Future plans include advertising on the website, we have an excellent audience base of bakers, innovative purchasers who like the concept and satisfied recipients that can be used for targeted marketing.
Long-term, there is the possibility to offer branded goods through our website.
What makes you different and why should people take notice?
No other company in the UK is offering this service. Cakes can beposted by Royal Mail, couriered, or indeed hand-delivered locally, but we are the only company accepting orders from around the world and have an army of bakers throughout the UK completing those orders; generating revenues for their business, and generating revenues for us too.
Consumers are looking for alternative gifts vouchers are boring, theyve all done flowers and Mums Bake Cakes provides a source for novel gifts. We encouragecustomers to purchase locally-sourced gifts, reducing transport costs and consequently their carbon footprint.
Our bespoke cakes are baked on-demand, not held in stock in massive warehouses. They are delivered fresh, not frozen. Customers have an input in the design of the cakes and they’re not bulk produced.
What was key in terms of getting started?
Understanding the bakers needs and desire they are successful in their local areas, but gaining additional business appeared to pose a problem as the cost effectiveness of advertising outside their local areas was prohibitive.
Also, ensuring the website was simple to use for both customers and bakers. they’re not computer whizzes, but our simple to use website makes ordering cakes easy. Bakers lead busy lives and can needreminding when orders are due. The web site hasthree prompts throughout the process to ensure deliveries arrive on time.
Finally, making sure customers were happy to use our web site. All bakers must meet Food Standards Agency and local authorities requirements, and are insured.
What’s your biggest achievement to date?
Having over 7, 000 cakes loaded onto the website, with all styles, tastes, and dietary requirements catered for. Also, having over 300 bakers on the sitetrusting us to gain them additional business, covering most of the UK and all major towns and cities, and having over 4, 000 bakers registered on our site.
Winning agreat British Entrepreneur Awardfor food and drink, against some stiff competition, wascompletely unexpected.
Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.
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