Business Hero – The Cake Spa
People and businesses everywhere have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. But here in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, some businesses have done more than just survive. Many have changed business models, working practices or even completely pivoted to a very different economy, and some have even helped people or businesses in what is a very human crisis.
In this series of articles businesses share their stories and some of the pearls of wisdom they have picked up along the way.
Whilst everyone has done something different, they’ve also all benefited from some of the business support available – that can also help you thrive, not just survive.
Business Leaders: Laura Sutton
Company name: The Cake Spa
Business activity during (Covid-19): Cake donations for key workers and then sold flour and baking essentials to individuals, baking boxes for people to bake at home and sweat-treats – both sent nationwide
Pearls of wisdom to thrive not just survive: Be flexible and open to try new things. Try them if they don’t work, move on.
Local cakes to national stakes
Turning a baking hobby into a successful business has been an achievement in itself for Lichfield-based Laura Sutton, owner of The Cake Spa. But steering it through the Covid-19 and diversifying her operations has shown determination and resilience, while supporting people through the pandemic through their own baking.
After creating wedding and occasion cakes for family and friends, Laura decided to turn her passion for baking into her own enterprise. While taking a different path from her background in the police and as a private investigator, her experience in the latter gave her some insight into how to run a small business.
In addition to her cake creation, Laura also runs baking classes for both adults and children, as well as cupcake classes for children’s parties.
Covid-19 brought an end to Laura’s classes, parties and orders as all weddings were put on hold. She began to make cake donations for key workers then began to sell flour and other baking essentials which she was able to buy in bulk but were in scarce supply on supermarket shelves.
Laura kept her business going with support from the county council’s Covid-19 micro business grant scheme, which she accessed through the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub.
Laura said: “Initially thought I would get financial assistance from the government, however as a start-up I was not eligible.
“And so I had to pivot to ensure my business survived and I could pay my bills. The grant I received from the county council helped to cover these initial expenses. As people began to struggle to buy certain items in the supermarket – yeast, flour, sugar etc – I realised I could buy in bulk from my suppliers, which I did, bagging them into smaller volumes for sale.
“My menu started at two types of flour and evolved into over 50 items of baking essentials and at the high point I was selling over 450kg of flour a week!
“It has been a crazy few months, with lots of stress, late nights and heavy lifting. But it has kept my business afloat and kept people/families/kids baking.
“The response has been amazing and people are so grateful to be able to continue to bake; helping mental health, passing the time and keeping the kids busy.
“I also started offering baking boxes which can be posted and so people have loved sending these to people elsewhere in the UK as a little gift, or business have sent them to their employees working from home. I am however now in need of a little rest before I launch my next baking box.”
Laura added: “My biggest tip for other businesses, is to be flexible and open to try new things. Try them, and if they don’t work move on, but if you don’t try new things you can get stuck. If we keep moving to what customers want and need at that point in time, we will always be successful.”
Find out more at: www.thecakespa.co.uk
Follow Laura’s lead with business support bespoke to you.
Laura received a range of business support including Staffordshire County Council’s Emergency Grant Scheme.