Why the internet was the secret ingredient for these British food startups

Next we have advice from Pauline Quigley, the founder of Cake-Cetera. Cake-Cetera produces and delivers a variety of bespoke baked goods including French macaroons, cake pops, cupcake bouquets and cake pops online.

What made you decide to start the business?

I was inspired to start Cake-Cetera after losing my mum to cancer in May 2011. While mum was in hospital I was shocked to find that flowers were banned from the wards. I found that most people brought in cake instead and so Cake-Cetera was born in August 2011.

I started hand-delivering cake in the Glasgow area but have now expanded nationwide and can deliver all over the UK. We send cake and French macaroons by post next day delivery. We hope to continually extend our product range with tasty and trendy treats that are delivered to desks and doors.

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced??

Our biggest challenge has definitely been developing packaging to prevent damage by couriers. Each time we design a new product we have a long and expensive development exercise to create packaging that not only looks great but gets to the customer exactly as we send it. Another challenge has been the constant changes in the different social media channels and keeping up with them all.

When we first launched Cake-Cetera we could upload a photo of a cake and get 100 likes on Facebook ? it was pretty easy to launch new products back then so it’s a constant learning curve with what platforms and advertising to concentrate most on and getting this right for us.

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What do you do differently for your customers?

Rather than continually try to sell them our products we like to provide our customers with content such as baking tutorials, baking tips and recipes both on blogs and via social media updates.

With the huge popularity of The Great British Bake off and the increase in home baking, we like to liaise with our followers by encourage them to post their own cakes and update them with new tools, ingredients and news in the baking world.

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs looking to start an ecommerce startup?

We are still learning each day but social media has been essential for us in growing our community and followers online. The best way to grow your followers is to find out where your target customer is? Who are they following etc?

As a startup your budget will be small or non-existent, but there is lots you can do without spending. Social media can be a great marketing resource. We currently use Facebook Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram in order to connect and engage with our customers.

Chad Deatherage is a serial entrepreneur and the VP of sales at Ultimate Merchant Providers.

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