Today is a special day for me. It’s one that I really can’t believe I’m celebrating as it’s like a dream come true. Although at the same time, it also feels strange that it’s only been a year as it feels like I have been doing this for half my life. Twelve months ago to do the day, on a warm and sunny Friday lunchtime, I left the building of the place I worked for the very last time and officially began my career as a full time wedding cake designer.
Originally, cakes were just a bit of a hobby of mine that I picked up now and then, along with attempting to knit a patchwork blanket (still unfinished to this day!), drawing and trying to educate myself on films (you know, the ones that you really should have seen but just never have? My list was huge, I needed to rectify that). However, without consciously realizing it, the cakes started to take over, and my desire to learn more, find new techniques and push myself with designs meant that before long, it was all about cake. After a lot of thought, planning, deliberating and researching (plus some online tests and a site check from Environmental Health), I officially launched Cakes by Beth as a business in January 2011. The expectation was that I would be making birthday and celebration cakes, maybe with the odd wedding every so often as I got my name out there , but within my first few months of business, I had more weddings on my books than anything else! This was totally unexpected and completely amazing as couples appeared to have seen something in my work that I hadn’t completely realized myself; I knew I wanted to be different and have a passion for original design but I didn’t think I’d got there quite yet. From the feedback though, it seems that clearly I had!
The more I thought about wedding cakes, talked to brides about the plans for their days and had the privilege of setting up the cakes at the venues and seeing everything coming together, the more I knew that this is where the heart of my business lay. However, much to the worry of my parents and other half, it completely scuppered my plans to gently build the business up, reduce my hours at my day job and make the whole process of moving into working for myself a gradual and low risk one. Wedding cakes require an incredibly involved process, from the initial ideas, the research, designing, tweaking the designs, choosing the flavours, answering the couples’ questions, baking and icing the tiers so that they are smooth, straight and even, decorating, delivering and setting up…and then finally standing back and seeing how your creation fits in with the rest of the wedding. I don’t do anything by halves and if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing properly, so this just didn’t work if I was out all day doing something else. I even used all of my annual leave and it still didn’t feel right. I needed to make a change.
I carried on for as long as I could, trying not to do anything too hasty and knowing that one day, the moment would arise when I just knew. And it did. At 9 am on a Monday morning. I sat outside in the cool Spring air, rang my mum, took a deep breath, and then resigned. It was beautiful feeling. Mine was the kind of career where once you are out, it is very, very difficult to get back in, so this decision meant there was no going back. Haha, as if I ever would! Three weeks later, my desk was clear and my dream was about to become reality.
So here we are, exactly 12 months on from the day I went full time self employed, and what a year it has been! Never in my wildest imaginings would I have believed that little ole me could have worked with so many amazing couples on their beautiful weddings, could have been invited to be a part of so many fantastic projects, and could feel as happy, passionate, hungry and driven about my job as I do about this. A metre long chateau cake for a Russian wedding in France? Huge wedding cakes at some of the regions most elegant and chic venues? Three International awards for my wedding cake designs? Being interviewed with the owners of Confetti Cakes and Fantasy Frostings as a Wedding Industry Expert? And the industry friends! I still have to pinch myself sometimes… although when it has been weeks on end of 14+ hour days, the pinching is very much a necessary thing to do to ensure I keep going 😉
So there we have it, happy one year full time-iversary to me! I am now going to do a rare thing and indulge in a slice of cake 🙂 So as I move into the third year of Cakes by Beth as a business and the second in full time self employment, here’s to the next twelve months being even more exciting than the last!