For this Wonderful Woman Wednesday, I had the pleasure of talking to Suzanne Heaven of ‘Heaven’s Homebaked Cakes’. Heaven’s Homebaked cakes is small, local, independent company who love to work with other local businesses and baking for their local community. Suzanne’s business started out with her making celebration cakes and cupcakes. It has now expanded into takeaway afternoon teas, bakes, postal bakes, catering for allergies, doing talks, workshops and demonstrations.
Emma: Suzanne, what gave you that push to turn your passion for baking into a business?
Suzanne: I’m a qualified librarian and had worked in a high school library for 11 years previously. I experienced a few major life-changing events and decided to take the plunge.
Emma: Did you ever have doubts about doing that? It must have been quite daunting after working for someone else for so long?
Suzanne: Not really to be honest. I’ve always wanted to run my own business and work for myself and love baking (I’m definitely one of life’s feeders), I’m not getting any younger and thought if I don’t do it now when am I going to do it?! I lost my mum and my Nan within a few weeks of each other, it definitely changed my perspective!
Emma: I'm so sorry to hear about your Mum and Nan. That must have been pretty difficult, I definitely can see how that would change things.
Suzanne: Thank you. It was incredibly hard and extremely tough. I definitely lost my way for some time.
Emma: I can imagine, how did you pull yourself out of that?
Suzanne: To be honest I reached out to friends and family, my daughter was my reason to get up in the morning.
Emma: I think a good support network is essential to overcoming anything. What do your talks involve?
Suzanne: I’ve done a talk to an Age Well group for over 65s, so I talked about running my own business and demonstrated some buttercream and fondant work on cupcakes.
I was extremely nervous but in the end. I loved it!
Emma: So the talk was received really well?
Suzanne: The talk was great in the end and the response was great. They even laughed at some of my jokes. I took brownies and flapjacks for them to enjoy afterwards with a cuppa, and they’ve invited me back near Christmas. As a spin off I then was invited to do a cupcake workshop with small groups of kids at the local youth club. The children did some hands on cupcake designs and it was good fun! I’ve got a few other things in the offing but not finalised yet.
Emma: Wow, that sounds like a great result, you're obviously good at what you do! What have been the biggest struggles in running your own business and how have you overcome them?
Suzanne: I try my best!
I now have built up a lot of very loyal supportive followers who interact on Facebook and promote me on plane and by word of mouth.
There’s been lots of struggles, and continue to be many! Sometimes it’s like a stamina test trying to get through the day baking, posting on Facebook, responding to enquiries etc. I find it very full on most of the time, but I love what I do and consider myself very, very lucky.
Emma: That’s great to hear! One last thing, what's your favourite part of what you do?
Suzanne: I love taking someone’s ideas for a cake and creating something they love. But I also love going to toddler groups to sell my cakes and bakes and talking to the mums and grandparents and children about what I do. I also love the interaction with customers and a positive review and recommendation is the best!
Emma: I agree. Thank you so much for talking to me and sharing your experiences.
Suzanne: You’re very welcome, thank you for the opportunity to share it with you.
I love working with and supporting other small businesses!
If this has tweaked your tastebuds you can find heaven's homebaked cakes on facebook or here.
This Is me:
I’m Emma, I train women (Offline and Online) who may struggle with their confidence and self esteem. I believe that women need more options that suit different lifestyles and needs, some of us don't have time to stick to a rigid plan, some people are to scared to even set foot in a gym (I have been there).