“Cake is happiness! If you know the way of the cake, you know the way of happiness! If you have a cake in front of you, you should not look any further for joy!” ¯ C. Joy Bell C.
Nina Rogers extremely talented, self-taught Cake Designer, Baker and Decorater gives us an insight into the world of cake!! Nina, always interested in Art, decided to try cake making, putting her passion for art to good use. What she didn't bank on was discovering such an exceptional talent!
What inspired you to create such amazing cakes?
I’ve always loved to draw and had a real passion for cartoon drawing and would spend many an hour just drawing various cartoons, I also wrote a children’s book and illustrated it but it never got published, so I’ve always had an arty side to me. At 18 my dad brought me my first book by Debbie Brown, and I was so inspired by her work I wanted to be just like her and literally self taught myself how to do cakes. Nowadays people give me briefs and I love to jumble them up a bit and create something really unique for them - the more quirky the better, why I do what I do is I LOVE to see the smiles and reactions I get when people collect a cake from me.
What are the advantages of working for yourself?
No office politics,and I love the peace and quiet as I need it to concentrate.
What are the disadvantages of working for yourself?
It can be very lonely at times and I miss the banter of working with people.
What has been your greatest challenge so far?
Definitely getting into the wedding market, I was very nervous about this as this has to be the most important cake of all and it has to be right so no room for error, which I started this year February 2012, I had some free time and decided I’ll give it a go as I’ve always just done fun novelty cakes. To my amazement they have been a huge hit and have done 12 weddings already and a few more to do this year, and already have bookings for next year.
What are your greatest achievements?
Definitely being asked by the BBC to do the cake for the new TV programme on CBBC channel, I have to confess was super nervous but so proud of myself for doing it, and then winning the odd award on various FB pages for my work which never fails to give me a buzz, as I’m my own worse critic and always think I could do better so to get acknowledgement for what I do is incredible.
How do you ensure worklife balance?
Very difficult at times, especially with two young boys, I work through the night mostly so long, long hours and whilst they are school, but as I’m getting more and more work it is becoming more difficult to achieve, so getting a cleaner soon is the start of easing that up for me.
What would be the ultimate goal for your business?
To have my very own little workshop somewhere and for it to be a family business and be able to spread the joy around the country more with my own delivery service would just be brilliant.
Who are your customers?
All sorts of age groups and people, lots of my customers are recommendations or now are becoming returning customers, I do a lot of special milestone birthday cakes, and I donate lots of cakes to various charities.
What advice would you give to someone starting a business?
Patience, if you produce a good product and take pride in what you do don’t try to run before you can walk and it will happen, I’m in my third year and I can’t believe how it has gone but that is through sheer hard work and determination. Also don’t be tempted to take out loads of expensive advertising in this that and everything (I did it) it doesn’t pay off building a business up in a nice steady stream will reward you.
Name one thing that you could not live without in your business.
My family and friends support and encouragement, without them I wouldn’t be here today.
What is your favourite or most popular product/service?
Currently it’s got to be my completely edible afternoon tea set, I wanted to come up with a product line that was unique, affordable and different and it is going really well. I do a lot of tea pots but LOVE them, hence why I changed my logo to reflect this - I feel it’s like marmite you either love it or hate it, but that’s what I wanted to create.