The Cake Garden by AKL: Edible Blooms!

The Cake Garden by AKL is a new Ipswich based business selling unique flower cake boxes and bouquets! Run by dancer, Abby Lawrence – we caught up to learn more about the business.

Abby Lawrence

Let’s start with a brief introduction – tell us about your business, when it was started, where you are based, and what products or services you provide…

I started my business up and launched it on the 17th January 2021. This was as a result of being unable to work in my usual industry in the performing arts, as I am usually a dancer. When Covid hit the UK, I was performing in Malaysia, who was also being affected and I managed to get the last flight back to the UK before they closed the borders. I have always been interested in baking cakes and doing creative things and so combined the two to develop The Cake Garden by AKL. All my boxes and bouquets are flower related, I make bouquets of all different sizes and I like to create unique designs for my customers, going by flowers or colour themes. Being new to the area, having only moved to Ipswich in October 2020, my network is relatively small which has been a slight hurdle in launching a brand new business.

Who are your target customers?

Anyone wanting to give a unique gift to someone or people that would normally give flowers on a special occasion, but my bouquets are not only beautiful but can be eaten too!

Can you rely on repeat business or do you constantly need to attract new customers? If ‘yes’ how do you try and attract new customers?

As I have only been launched for just over a month, I have already had a few repeat customers which is so encouraging for me. I wanted to launch in time for Valentine’s Day as this is a key date in the calendar for flowers and gifts but even prior to this date I already began securing orders for birthdays and gift bouquets, which I felt so proud about.

I am really trying to work on my online platforms and creating a social media presence. I have linked in with a few Suffolk small business promoters, which has brought some new business in for me. I am really waiting for word of mouth to advance my business too, which is slowly beginning to happen. I am just really pleased to see how far I have already come in such a small space of time.

It’s impossible to avoid the question because the lockdown has impacted on everyone, but how has the pandemic impacted on your business?

I opened this business in the lockdown and in some ways this has probably assisted me, as I have been able to deliver bouquets locally where the customer hasn’t been able to deliver the present themselves. Also I think lockdown has really opened peoples’ eyes in how important is to support small businesses especially when so many business owners are struggling in these times.

What measures did you have to put in place to ensure the safety of yourself and your customers?

I work for myself, on my own. On collection or delivery PPE is always in place in addition to social distancing rules. I also ask my customers to wear masks too when receiving their cakes.

What, in your opinion, gives you an edge over your competitors?

Probably that my theme is quite obvious and consistent and my prices are competitive for the market. Because of the style of cupcakes I do, each one requires a considerable amount of time to perfect it compared to a more basic design but I don’t reflect this in the price.

What aspects (if any) of your business do you need to develop or improve in order to be more competitive? For example, do you need to raise your profile, appeal to new markets, update your branding, etc?

My branding was done by @designs_bykr and I am really pleased with it! I may look into the possibility of attending local farmer’s markets when restrictions are lifted in order to promote by business.

Do you collect customer testimonials? Do you have any samples that you are happy for us to quote?

Yes, here are a few examples:

“What a beautiful Valentine’s Day surprise, beautifully made, delicious cupcakes!”

“Thanks so much he loved them … I have just realised it’s mother’s day in 3 weeks, so can I have 3 bouquets please?”

“Tried and tested! I can confirm they are as good in real life!”

“They went down really well, I got some serious brownie points … she said they were delicious as well, so thank you again!”

Finally, what gives you confidence for the future of your business?

Knowing that I have a product that people enjoy and have been getting good feedback and seeing returning customers as well as their friends.

Thank you to Abby for chatting to us.
For more information visit www.facebook.com/thecakegardenbyakl.

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