Who we are and who we're becoming...•
Posted on May 29 2019
This blog post is the first in a long while and coincides with a new and improved update to our website! I hope you love the new look as much as we do.
Every now and again, I get a brief opportunity to reflect on the journey that we've had in the past three and a half years. Gosh we have achieved so many things! And yet there is so much to do.
When I first took over the business from Margaret I remember there was one time that I was feeling particularly overwhelmed with how much there was to learn and how much pressure I felt to continue the success of this little shop that so many people loved.
Margaret sat me down and gently told me about how she'd grown the business from a tiny ad in the newspaper selling cakes from her home, in to a brick and mortar retail store servicing all of Brisbane. She explained that I shouldn't be so hard on myself, because she had had the opportunity to grow with the business slowly, over time. Whereas with me, I was walking in to an established store with its own established community.
That advice is what has allowed me the space to breathe as we've gotten to know the Cake & Icing Centre, and taken the pressure away from making big changes while we were finding our feet. (Don't get me wrong, I'm still finding my feet... I'm not entirely sure when as a small business owner you think you figure it all out, but I'm certainly not there yet!)
Over the past 3.5 years the biggest challenge has been how to manage the different elements of our business. We don't have kids yet but I imagine this is what it's like as a parent when you realise you're not just a parent, you're also a teacher, driver, accountant, coach, assistant, friend, boss and chef.
I haven't been perfect; theres been times I've missed quotes, made mistakes or run out of stock. But the biggest challenge has been trying to keep in contact with our community online, through social media and through a regular newsletter about what we're up to. And if I'm honest, that's because I hadn't quite figured out "Who am I and what am I trying to say?"
I have been operating the business as two brands; Studio Cakes (that I started whilst I was still working in my corporate job in 2011) as our "Bakery Brand", and the Cake & Icing Centre as our "Retail Store Brand". This seemed like a great idea at the time because I love both brands and didn't want to give up either! And it allowed a neat separation of customers who wanted to bake and customers who needed us to bake for them.
In having these two avenues, I've frozen up! I've not known what message to say where. Did my Studio Cakes clients want recipe advice? Did the Cake & Icing Centre customers want to see what our team created in the kitchen this week? It has entailed two social media accounts, two mailing lists, two websites! Too much! Two is too many! You get the idea.
It's also frozen me in other ways, specifically in making decisions about how I want to refresh the look of our store, even down to what colours to paint (yep, we'll be getting a fresh coat of paint soon!)
What I've realised, is that in order to provide the type of retail store experience I want to provide, it has to be something that is authentic to me. And I can't do that while I'm second guessing what our brand is.
I played around a lot with different names for the store, but like always I find it impossible to give up either.
Studio Cakes is a brand I have loved from its conception, and gave me something to live in to when I was creating a business out of nothing. It represents all that I want to aspire to in my baking and decorating career.
Cake & Icing Centre is our legacy that we carry from Margaret and George, and perfectly describes us as the home of all things cakes, not just baking them but helping other people create them too.
So, I've decided to keep both names, in a way.
You might notice that the website is now proudly titled "Studio Cakes"...
and we have now have a new motto, which is that we are "your Cake & Icing Centre".
When we introduce ourselves on the phone next time you call, it will be as "Studio Cakes". Our signage (which hopefully will be installed by the end of this year) will proudly state we are Studio Cakes, and include our motto too. Our style will stay vintage, which is fitting for our character home (and in case you're wondering, I've decided on a classic grey and white for the painting, but you'll see that soon enough).
We'll also be closing our @cakeandicingcentre accounts on instagram and Facebook, and moving over to @studiocakes. So I'll have one point of contact for all of our online sharing and caring.
What do I hope this will achieve? I think that it is time that we stepped in to our own future at Studio Cakes, whilst keeping our legacy and history dear to our hearts. And I hope this will be another improvement in streamlining a more authentic voice to you, our customers. Regardless of whether you want to attend classes, bake and decorate yourselves, or have one of our designer cakes at your event.
As always, thank you for being the best support a small business could ask for. I promise that I am always working on ways to bring an even better experience for you, too.
Lots of love,
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