Making a mess in his mum's kitchen as a child started Qyum Noor's love affair with baking and cakes. Following this passion he studied for a food qualification with high hopes of running his own Patisserie someday. Dreams really do come true and now the succssful owner of 'The Cake Story', Qyum's bakery is supplying everything from birthday cakes and wedding cakes to decadent desserts. The ultimate in treating yourself - you won't be disappointed!
What inspired or motivated you to become a Cake Maker/Baker?
I remember from a very young age making a mess of my mum’s kitchen attempting to bake various treats – despite all that mess I found the creativity to be fun and stimulating. It was fascinating to see the whole process from scratch, culminating with a tasty ending (in most cases). At school I continued pursuing my passion for pastry and I graduated with a food qualification and I knew that one day, I would like to run my own patisserie.
Tell us about a day in the life of a Cake Maker/Baker.
The day starts early for us; after briefly reviewing our orders for the day our chefs start preparing a variety of pastries and cakes at the crack of dawn, to ensure optimal freshness. Ingredients are carefully mixed in together, as even the slightest deviation in measurements or techniques can scupper the taste and the quality. During the breakfast trade we have to monitor our displays to frequently replenish sold items. After the morning rush, our focus shifts towards decorating existing birthday, celebration or wedding cake orders and have them ready for customers to pick up from midday onwards. For our bespoke cakes we generally book appointments during the quieter periods, typically late in the afternoon, which gives us plenty of time to sit down with our clients and help them with their wedding cake ideas, drawing sketches based on their theme and style. Towards the end of the day we have to check our inventory and reorder any stock if required, thoroughly clean the premises, and then go through our order book for upcoming orders. Even after work, there will always be something to do and focus on for example advertising or marketing ideas.
What are the advantages of working for yourself?
I find what I do very challenging and it always keeps me on my toes. Managing a business has many responsibilities and the work is limitless. I enjoy the freedom of executing a plan according to my liking, and the fact that I get to interact with an array of different people. It’s always encouraging speaking to a customer and listening to what they think. Nothing makes the whole experience of running a business more worthwhile than seeing a customer leaving the shop delighted and happy.
What are the disadvantages of working for yourself?
I love my job and I often tend to be carried away with work. I find it difficult to switch off from ‘work mode’ even after we close and my wife thinks I’m a workaholic.
What has been your greatest challenge so far?
The current economic climate has meant that for new start-ups, like ourselves, we have to think of ways to attract new customers to our store and get them to try our goods.
What are your unique selling points?
1) All our products are suitable for vegetarians.
2) We can bake in short notices, even if it was on the same day, at no extra fees.
3) We use only the finest ingredients for example we use only the 100% pure organic Madagascan vanilla.
4) We sell our cakes with low competitive prices, and I’m confident you won’t be able to find it cheaper elsewhere.
Who are your customers?
As we are a small independent shop, the vast majority of our patrons are locals, primarily from Colchester and nearby Essex areas. We have just started supplying local restaurants, which prefer to order freshly baked local produce for their dessert menu. We have also delivered a couple of large 16”x 28” cakes to corporate businesses.
What advice would you give to someone starting a business?
You will need to have a huge amount of patience and persistence. So before going ahead make sure you are 100% committed to turn your business into a successful one. In addition; you must have the right staff who are enthusiastic to help you develop your business and products. Make sure they can add value, and if they can’t that would be a serious detriment.
Name one thing that you could not live without in your business.
A good baker needs a well calibrated oven and a good quality mixer.
What is your favourite or most popular product/service?
Red Velvet cake and macaroons, are by far the most popular products they attract a lot of customers.
What is your ultimate goal - and has this changed from when you started?
My goal is to win a few awards for our cakes and service in the short term. I also would like to expand the business to nearby towns and cities, and finally I would love to have our products on the counters of big department stores.
Does the internet help you in spreading the word about your business?
Yes, an online presence helps, as it makes our products easily accessible, so that customers can obtain more information on the cakes they are interested in as well as the services we offer.
How big a role does Social Media play in your business?
A significant portion of our customers are relatively young and active on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. We regularly upload pictures of our cakes and our recent offers, which does help generate interest and keeps the momentum going.
Looking for a truly decadent dessert that looks stunning and tastes equally as good? Then pop over to The Cake Story ,Qyum will assist you in designing and creating the most perfect birthday cake, wedding cake or simply fabulous dessert that will be the envy of any occasion!