How often do we hear great ideas and think ‘that’s so simple, it would make a great business’ ?. However, more often that not, we probably sit on it right up to the point when someone else takes it further and develops our idea – ‘I could have thought of that! I could have developed that project!’ we angrily think but, unfortunately, the moment is gone and someone else has done the unthinkable and turned our light bulb moment into a reality. Then, there are people like Anna Ward – Anna was working in an office in London and was dissatisfied with the way offices and corporate businesses treated special events. She reflected that artisan cakes delivered on 0% emission transport would be ideal to make an ‘occasion’ out of birthdays and events. With collaborations with bakeries that stock Harrods & Selfridges as well as supporting independent businesses in London, it is evident that CakeDrop is a success. However, as well as celebrating the incredible work Anna is getting up to with us, I hope this business story also allows you to be more daring this September. Think outside the box, allow yourself to be daring and pursue the initial sparks of an idea which are really the fragments of your plan coming to life. I know I, for one, will definitely try to be more ‘Anna’ on my return from the summer holidays – and hope you will too.
Tell us a little more about yourself and how the idea for Cake Drop London came about.
Having worked in the city for three years, I realised employee birthdays were always this last-minute panic, followed by a mad supermarket dash and, more often than not, a very sad looking lemon drizzle. This seemed crazy to me since birthdays are such a good opportunity for companies to show appreciation for their staff and create excitement in the office. Being someone that liked to celebrate birthdays in the office, I found I either had to spend a lot of time and money finding a decent bakery, ordering in advance and then collecting on the day, or settle for mass-produced supermarket cakes. I knew there had to be a better option and that’s where the lightbulb moment for CakeDrop came from. With more research, it became apparent that cake days in the office were for so much more than birthdays, they were about celebrating achievements, impressing clients, and surprising staff with treats to keep morale up. I also discovered so many amazing independent bakeries across the city with cakes that literally blew me away! I knew I needed to bridge the gap between these guys and cake-hungry offices in London. After a year of planning, working out exactly how it would work, partnering with bakeries and building a website – we finally launched CakeDrop. We have now delivered over 500 cakes and partnered with 10 independent bakeries run by inspiring founders. These include the likes of Victoria Yum who stocks Harrods & Selfridges, Luminary Bakery who are a social enterprise supporting disadvantaged women in London and more recently, Chef Girl Daisy a young female entrepreneur starting her business journey. It feels great knowing that every office we get signed up contributes to their businesses and supports their dreams.
- How did office culture influence your business idea? While you may have left the 9-5 behind, your blog screams ‘relatable!’ and we can’t think of a better way to beat the afternoon slump than with cake.
The whole idea came from being a London office worker and being so involved in ‘office culture’. I saw what made people motivated and the little things we did each day to improve our moods and create a sense of community. Treats in the office and Friday drinks helped bring people from opposite ends of the office together, even if it was just over a cheeky slice of cake. Visiting offices every day keeps us in the loop with office culture, seeing how offices celebrate in different ways, building relationships with our customers and understanding what their experience is like.
- CakeDrop is based in London. Do you see potential to expand to different cities perhaps in South Wales and the South West? (majorly dropping hints here!).
London is an amazing starting point, with so many offices and bakeries in close proximity and a huge need for our service. We’d love to see CakeDrop trikes in South Wales and the South West, as well across the country. We’d need to make sure we fully understood the different markets first though, as office culture may vary from one place to another.
- What does an average day for you look like?
Mornings we take delivery of freshly baked cakes at our hub in Hoxton, we quality check (‘ooo’ and ‘ahh’ over the cakes), package up, then set up the riders for their deliveries. I often ride too, to help out and because I like to stay in touch with our customers and check in as I make drops. Afternoons are full of customer enquiries, arranging bake schedules, rider rotas and all the admin that comes with running a small business as a one girl band. I try to devote a couple of hours a week to producing content for our social media channels, blog and working on the brand – but it is easy for these things to get to the bottom of the pile when running such a logistics-focused business.
And finally – it’s 9.00pm, it has been an incredibly long day at the office and we are after a sweet treat around London. What do you recommend?
I’d say go home and hold out for tomorrow when Pearl & Groove is back open on Portobello Road – you HAVE to try their Salted Caramel cake! Good things are worth waiting for.
After reading Anna’s story, I initially thought – ‘She came, she researched and conquered….with the icing on the cake!’ and you can’t deny her journey has been a hell of a rollercoaster with a lot more adventures en route, no doubt. If you enjoyed this interview, want to be featured in Squiggles Magazine or simply fancy a good old chat, tweet us @SquigglesBlogs or find us on Instagram @rose_squiggles and @annamaria_sgueglia.