Baking bad: how Kasey Clarke went from radio producer to confection connoisseur

Baking bad: how Kasey Clarke went from radio producer to confection connoisseur

After 12 years working for the BBC, 37-year-old Kasey decided to overhaul her career. She shares her advice on how to start from scratch.

Disappointed by the lack of flavour in cakes available in trendy food outlets, Kasey was inspired to take matters into her own hands after receiving rave reviews from friends for her own recipes. Now, her ‘Kake Pot’ products can be found on notonthehighstreet.com and have even been stocked by Selfridges.

Kasey is set to launch the UK’s first ‘cake agency’ to help other aspiring pro bakers build up their own clientele. For burgeoning entrepreneurs chasing the sweet taste of success, Kasey doles out a few slices of advice to help you take the cake.

 

  1. Pluck up the courage to do what you love

There’s no denying that changing paths is one of the most daunting things you can do, especially when you’ve finally started to carve out a career for yourself – at least that’s how it felt. However, I’d argue that being stuck in a job that no longer excites you is an even scarier prospect. When I decided I wanted to give up my radio job to pursue the one thing I was really passionate about – cake – I had to bite the bullet. You will undoubtedly feel nervous about taking the big step, so confide in friends and family and make sure you don’t keep your thoughts all bottled up.

Consider very well the things that are likely to change and how well-suited they are to your personality as you’re going to be in it for the long haul. I went from sitting in a trendy studio to being covered in cake every day and I couldn’t be happier because I know my business is true to who I really am.

 

  1. Do your research

Before you get started you need to be sure that you have a unique proposition. Assess what already exists locally. Is anybody else already doing what you’re planning to do? If so, how can you do it better? What is your USP? Meet and build relationships with those who are already successful in the industry. This will provide a pool of advisers and role models to guide you. Learning from these people can cut your learning curve in half and save you from making costly mistakes. Reaching out is a great way to build a strong network of experienced people who can help you power forward and boost your success.

 

Rome wasn’t built in a day: it takes hard work and lots of self-belief to turn your passion into a career

Rome wasn’t built in a day: it takes hard work and lots of self-belief to turn your passion into a career

  1. Have a backup plan

Whilst it might sound a bit dry, one of my biggest pieces of advice would be to stay in your established job until you have a steady income through your new business. Starting a business can be tough on your finances, especially if you don’t have any support. Weigh up your options and work out a way to continue in your current career until your start up is truly up and running. Consider the best ways to get the most out of your time, whether it is to use evenings to draw up your recipe for success, also known as business plan, or the weekends to attend trade conventions.

  1. Get a mentor and don’t be afraid to ask for help

A little bit of help is nothing to be ashamed of. I couldn’t have gotten KupKase to where it is today if I hadn’t sought the support of my friends, family and external providers. A loan from Start Up Loans helped to turn my idea into reality. I was able to pay for my baking equipment and I was also given a great mentor who acted as a sounding board when it came to getting my business started. He was a great support and was on hand to offer his advice when it came to big decision making, which is always scary when you’re not used to being the boss!

 

  1. Be prepared to work harder than you ever have before

It goes without saying that setting up your own business is no piece of cake, otherwise everybody would be doing it. If you’re truly passionate, you’ll be willing to work around the clock to make it happen. For me this meant icing cakes at 2am, constantly smelling like vanilla extract and being covered in edible glitter every day – but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Apps are great to help you stay organised. It’s all about making every minute count.

Selling my first cake was easy but selling hundreds more was a little harder, and looking after my current customers whilst building new clients and relationships with retailers requires a lot of plate spinning. The saying that Rome wasn’t built in a day really is true: I have found if I put in the hard work now, it’ll reap rewards in the long run, but it takes many months of hard work and lots of self-belief to turn your passion into a career.

 

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