My love of food and cooking began very early. I have been cooking and baking since the age of three, brought up cooking healthy everyday meals from scratch with my mum Gillian, who is also a talented home cook and baker. We would bake for special occasions and treats to share with friends and family and to give as gifts. I have no memories of not baking and cooking.
When I was 13, I decided to start my own cupcake and cake business. Friends and family of mine and everyone who tried my cakes told me that they were the best cakes that they had ever eaten. I wanted to share my cakes with more than friends and family as gifts so I decided to start advertising my business. I had flyers and cards made with photos of my cakes and the orders came flooding in, baking cakes for regular clients as well as celebrity parties and business functions. While I was running my business from home, I was still working hard at school.
At the age of 14 I got my first book deal after having seven of my recipes published in a national newspaper’s weekend supplement. I wrote Amy’s Baking Year whilst studying for my GCSE’s, writing and baking in all of my school holidays, weekends and free time, but I loved every minute of it. My book is based around the four seasons with recipes for every occasion, inspired by my childhood, baking seasonal treats for special occasions.
I am currently studying fine art, English literature and music at A Level and am starting to work on my next book focused around everyday healthy meals with treats for special occasions.
What inspired you to start a business?
I have grown up baking and cooking and have always been extremely determined to use my talents to the best of my ability. I would always make cakes and cupcakes as gifts for friends and family packaged in a box tied with a pretty ribbon. Over the years everyone would always tell me how much they loved my cakes and that they are the best they’ve ever eaten (and still do today)! I saw so many cupcake businesses opening and knew that my cakes were just as good, so decided to start my own cake and cupcake business.
What is the greatest challenge and the greatest reward in being your own boss?
Being your own boss is so rewarding as you are in control meaning that you can make decisions quickly and effectively.
What motivational tips can you give to our members about goal setting and managing both successes and failures?
Goal setting is very important in my hectic life. I have found a good balance between my school work and my book. Settings daily goals helps me to stay motivated and on top of all of my work in all aspects of my life.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a business owner?
I like to see challenges as opportunities and always try to find the positive in sometimes negative and challenging situations as it means that you will push yourself.
How have you benefited from mentoring or coaching?
During starting and running my business my mum has been right by my side, helping me with all aspects of the business.
What advice can you give about the benefits of networking?
Networking is was essential in growing a business. It opens up avenues and opportunities as well as increasing business and can give you the opportunity to work with companies as an individual.
What are your tips for scaling a business and how do you plan for and manage growth?
It is really important to follow your passion and do something that you really love to do as that will come across. It is also important to be determined and motivated and have a sound financial base in order to manage growth.
What does the future hold for you?
I am starting to work on my next cookbook and hope to have many more in the future. I also plan to expand my business, eventually having my products in shops and department centres and maybe one day have my own shop. I would also like to study at Le Cordon Bleu cookery school in London or Paris in the next few years. My dream and ultimate goal is to cook and bake my recipes on television and one day have my own TV show.
You can follow Amy on Twitter, and her book, ‘Amy’s Baking Year’, is available at WHSmith, Hobbycrafts Nationwide and Harrods, priced at £14.99