The great cake debate

Two young mums, one from Tunbridge Wells and one from Crowborough, left their jobs to start up cake-making businesses. Here's how they did it

The great cake debate

Two young mums, one from Tunbridge Wells and one from Crowborough, left their jobs to start up cake-making businesses. Here’s how they did it

Tell us a bit about you

Emma: I live in Tunbridge Wells and used to work at an estate agent’s before becoming a mum and starting up Array of Cakes

Tina: My business is Sprinkles and Swirls and I’m just on the Kent/East Sussex border in Crowborough.  I was a sales director in the media and publishing industry.

Why did you launch your businesses?

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Emma: We’re both young mums who found that cake making not only works with family commitments, but also taps into our creative side. I launched Array of Cakes as an alternative to going back to work after having a baby. I first considered the idea when I designed and decorated my own wedding cake.

Tina: Sprinkles and Swirls was born when I was made redundant. It was at the start of the credit crunch and I was still on maternity leave, not the best time to try and get another job! But it forced me to examine what I really wanted for myself and my family. As a secret Nigella and with a career managing large-scale budgets, combining my love of baking with business management seemed like a logical step.

How did you meet?

Emma: We met when we both answered a call for help to bake cupcakes to raise money on behalf of the British Red Cross for the relief effort in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami. We both volunteered our services and started chatting. We share the same values and ethics, and just hit it off.

Tina: Cake making can be quite solitary so to have someone to sound off to, ask questions and advice and who understands is great.

What do you both offer?

Emma: We offer a wide range of products and service, some are similar but others are completely different. Array of Cakes makes cupcakes, tiered cakes, novelty cakes and cookies while Sprinkles and Swirls focuses more on cupcakes, giant cupcakes, celebration cakes, cake jars and pops.

How do you work with a bridal couple?

Emma: We both offer free consultation ‘taster’ sessions, so brides and grooms can not only ‘try before they buy’ but also influence how the cakes will look. By meeting face to face, you really get a sense for the kind of couple they are, and how the choice of cake will reflect them and complement their theme.

Any unusual themes emerging?

Emma: Classic children’s literature seems to be a popular request at the moment and we have recently catered for a Narnia and Alice In Wonderland-themed wedding, which was great fun to work on.

Cupcake tier or a classic wedding cake?

Emma: Cupcakes are very much in vogue, however more traditional cakes seem to still outweigh the cupcake tower. Traditionally a wedding cake would be a classic fruitcake but now it’s more common to have a lighter sponge. Vintage style is in fashion at the moment, so tiered cakes are also in keeping with current trends.  But it’s very much a personal choice

Tina: Cupcakes offer couples something different, versatile and personal. They don’t have to be on a tower - we have a wedding this month where the couple have booked cupcakes for both their table placement and favours for each guest. Cupcake towers allow more choice in terms of flavour and decoration, they are ‘self contained’ and easy to eat, and often cheaper than a traditional tiered wedding cake. Some couples order a tower of cupcakes topped off with a small cutting cake.

Where do you see yourselves in five years?

We both dream of having a shop in Tunbridge Wells High Street. If current growth continues, there’s no reason why that dream can’t turn into a reality!

GET IN TOUCH

Emma Buchanan, Array of Cakes

info@arrayocakes.co.uk and 07768 098072

Tina Hall, Sprinkles and Swirls

cupcakes@sprinklesandswirls.co.uk and 01892 655407 or 07973 824475