Welcome to Cake Conversations!
Every month, I’ll be featuring a special guest on the blog with the purpose of inspiring & serving the online cake community as well as celebrating notable cake artists & entrepreneurs within the cake circuit. This month’s guest is none other than Hannah Nguyen, an innovative cake artist who runs her business ‘Storytale Cakes’ in Melbourne, Australia. Hannah is a cakie friend who I met over on Instagramland, and we instantly clicked being both similarly passionate about social media, video creation & teaching. Hannah’s sweet and bubbly personality is infectious and is what brings her cakes, videos and business to life! Here, we chat about her start-up journey, her many, many creative cake pursuits, social media and her secrets to success.
How did you start your caking journey and what made you want to launch your biz Storytale Cakes? Walk us through your start-up journey – from idea to launch.
I used to do teaching at my local Temple Charity Tuition Centre and occasionally I would bribe the kids into doing their homework through baking cupcakes haha (oh boy did that work out well :P). Through baking cupcakes for the kids, I grew so fond and addicted! I fell in love with the Cake Decorating World and found my days were spent googling pictures of pretty cupcakes/cakes. I then started baking for special occasions for family and friends and decided to create a Facebook Page to share all the creations.
Interestingly, your business has diversified into various streams (i.e. customised cakes, teaching, selling adorable charms, etc). Could you take us through the process of how your business evolved into these multiple avenues?
I love trying new things! Life is too short to not explore 😊 A part of my heart breaks when a cake is cut. So I thought how cool would it be to start up Storytale Charms where I could make Cake frames and Charms for people as keepsake. This way, they don’t have to worry about their cakes being cut.
I’ve also always wanted to become a teacher. Teaching is something I am extremely passionate about and was lucky enough to be invited to teach at Cake stores/shows. I want to hand the gift of knowledge to others. It’s such a magically feeling to be able to help others one cake at a time!
Juggling so much on your platter must make you one busy gal! What strategies have you found effective for maintaining work-life-balance whilst pursuing your cake dreams?
Definitely would be to have good Time Management. Have a planner/diary and make sure you don’t take on more than you can handle. The quality of your cakes will improve when you’re not rushed and you will be much happier than taking on too much and being stressed.
Dedicate at least one day of the week to spend time with your loved ones. Don’t overwork yourself to the point you forget the important things in life!
Let’s talk social media! Tell us, how do you use social media to market your cake business and what strategies are proving to be successful for you?
I use Social Media to post images of Cakes and Tutorials I’ve made. I find that it is important to communicate with your audience so it’s more engaging for them e.g. “What is your favourite Cake Topper on this Cake?” and listen to what they want.
Also doing giveaways to thank your fans for their support and even giving shout outs to make them feel and know that they are being listened to and acknowledged.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone wanting to build a career in cake artistry, what would it be?
Join supportive Cake Communities and Networks so you can ask for advice, help and learn off each other.
In your experience, what 3 character traits does one need to thrive in the cake industry?
You need to have Passion. Truth is behind the scenes of Cake Decorating are immense hours, but it’s a labour of love if you are truly passionate about it.
You also need to have the willingness to learn. Challenge yourself and go beyond your comfort zone every now and then. Learn new techniques and tricks to constantly improve.
Time Management is mandatory. Being organised will make everything a lot easier and give you a work-life-balance.
You recently won $20k for your incredible “stop-motion animation” cake entry on ‘Sunrise on 7’s My Despicable Creation’ contest. Congrats gal!! Tell us how you came up with the concept, and what the process of making the cake & animated video was like?
Still pinching myself that it actually happened! Eeek! I wanted to create something more than just a cake and I’ve always liked the idea of stop motion. The “Despicable Me 3 Movie“ trailer was entertaining and I thought why not put the two together? So, I gathered funny scenes to recreate in cake form and created three tiers showing different segments of the trailer.
I’m sure a go-getter like you is currently looking ahead towards new projects, future goals, expansion etc ..Soooo, What’s coming up for you?
I want to focus more on my passion for teaching and to continue creating more exciting cake decorating tutorials on YouTube. I want to nurture the Cake Community and share my knowledge to aspiring bakers!
Thank you so much Hannah for sharing those sweet nuggets of insight on the Sugar Sugar Cakes blog! We know you’re gonna totally smash it outta the park with your upcoming projects.
If you’re reading this blog interview today, I hope Hannah’s story has inspired you. Here’s a lil zippy summary of some take home points to help you out this week:
- Time management in running a cake biz is key! Get off that constant treadmill for a sec and get some systems in place. And definitely, learn how to organise your time & tasks with a weekly planner
- There are tons of other avenues to explore related to cake decorating. Making & decorating cakes is only the beginning and it doesn’t hurt to have a think of other related business/hobby opportunities you could work towards in the near/far future
- If time permits and if you fancy doing so, try joining a competition or two. Ya never know what could be on the other side of that entry *wink
- Facilitate your cake learning by joining a Cake Community and asking questions. And lookie here! You can hop into our exclusive Facebook cake community, the Sugar Sugar Cakes Society for support, advise and to meet some keeeewl new cake friends!
Hannah Nguyen – Storytale Cakes