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From small beginnings come great things…Feeding your hunger (aka TheEmployable talks CupCakes)

Part time working (on top of a full time job) can be really tough going, but is a reality for many people. There can be a multitude of reasons for have an extra job; needing to supplement the household income, wanting to gain work experience for a future career, the love of work full stop, and the want to create your own business, but wanting to keep the security of your full time job….

But for many people, working part time can be to feed their passion, their interest, their talents…Not everyone wants to become a Millionaire, not everyone will become a Millionaire, but part time entrepreneurial living is done by hundreds of thousands of us each each, because we have a love or a hunger for making, writing, painting or baking…..(the list goes on)

Cup Cakes have been the ‘in’ thing for a few years and when Laura Cairns, starting baking Cup Cakes it was
 more a hobby, and a love of cooking, than the need to sell to the public. There are copious amounts of cup cake books as well that you can buy too to help you on your way. But starting small, has lead to big things and within a matter of a year, Laura has taken her part time Cup Cake business from baking in the kitchen to owning The Kitsch Inn, a part-time, but well established Cup Cake business, that now has over 2,500 Facebook followers and a loyal customer base in Northern Ireland. Check out her Facebook page here!

To celebrate the passion and the talent we can all find within ourselves and to hep other part time startups on their journey, TheEmployable chatted with Laura to find out about her journey so far and how she copes with working two jobs.

Hello Cup Cakes! (sorry couldn’t resist that one)…A lot of small business ‘startups’ face the challenges of managing a full time job with a part time passion or business. Laura, you have a full time job and you seem to bake cupcakes nonstop! How do you fit it all in!?

It’s a juggling act I must admit! My Kitsch Inn commitments have to be managed around my 9am to 5pm
 job. It isn’t always easy but I control my time as best I can and I don’t take on too much so I can ensure that every customer and cupcake receives due care and attention. My work life balance is heavily weighted towards work at the moment but I love what I’m doing,  so often it doesn’t feel like work at all!

What new skills have you learnt by setting up ‘The Kitsch Inn’?

I have become much more aware of how to understand the market place and my target customers and ultimately how to offer them what they want. I work tirelessly to pursue new opportunities and develop fresh ideas for my customers which set me aside from the competition. I’ve also learnt some interesting bribery skills! My mum, boyfriend and siblings have all been persuaded to lend a hand with the deliveries and washing up!

How did you get so interested in ‘cupcakes’ and at what point did you think this is a possible part time business?

It happened absolutely by chance. This time last year I had just bought my first home so my Christmas gifts
 has to be economical! I had always enjoyed baking so I made Christmas cakes to offer as gifts to friends and family. The compliments I received were really encouraging and I got the baking buzz! As I settled into my new home, guests were welcomed with tea and cupcakes and before I knew it I had designed Valentine’s cupcakes, taken my first order, and it all took off from there.

How does it feel when you go on google and type in KITSCH INN and your business comes up?

 It feels great to know that my cupcake business is out there in the public domain. Initially my customers tended to be family, friends, and friends of friends but now I have customers and businesses from across the North West and beyond contacting me to order custom made cupcakes! It’s fantastic. I am very grateful for the help and support I have had to get me to this point.

And you nearly have 2,500 followers on Facebook! Have you taken social marketing seriously in networking your business out there?

As a new start up, I haven’t had the advertising budget to #spreadthecupcakelove and reach my market place in the same way as I have been able to with the use of social marketing. I keep my Facebook, web and twitter pages updated with photos, special offers, competitions, interesting comments and news. I am so thankful every time a follower takes the time to “like”, retweet, and leave comments about my work. It’s such an honour when customers share photos and everyone can see cupcakes from The Kitsch Inn pride of place at weddings, business functions and parties! Social marketing has made this possible for The Kitsch Inn.

What are your plans next for The Kitsch Inn, any more cake products on the way, and could you see your business empire spreading afar?!

 I hope to keep improving and developing what The Kitsch Inn already offers; freshly baked cupcakes, good
 quality ingredients and that special personalised touch! I hope to get involved with the City of Culture 2013 celebrations in Derry/Londonderry and ultimately (because I am a true romantic at heart) I would like to expand my wedding menu to include not only cupcake towers but also tiered wedding cakes.

What is the strangest Cupcake order that you have had?!

It has to be the divorce party cupcakes! Just goes to show that there are cupcakes for every occasion!


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