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Why chocolate isn’t bad for you

It’s Easter Sunday and for most people that means an abundance of chocolate will be consumed very soon (if not already!). But before you over-indulge and beat yourself up with guilt, read on to find out how eating chocolate can actually improve your health. Not convinced? Of course I don’t mean any old chocolate… Probably not your average Easter egg. But it’s chocolate that you can easily find, and it really is good for you, I promise.

Continue reading Why chocolate isn’t bad for you

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What’s wrong with Fairtrade?

What exactly is Fairtrade?

When I was at school I remember some men visiting with lots of chocolate to tell us about Fairtrade. From what I remember they were trying to educate us and raise awareness of the little-known Fairtrade brand. In the 90s nobody seemed to care much about what was in food and how it was produced. At the age of 11 I remember thinking that it wasn’t really relevant to me. That perhaps they should be educating parents instead of children, because my parents bought our food for us. But I do still remember that class and now I’m an adult I buy my own chocolate. Plus lots for my business!

You can find out more about Fairtrade on their website here: https://www.fairtrade.org.uk/What-is-Fairtrade/What-Fairtrade-does

What has Fairtrade achieved in the last 26 years?

It’s been a great cause and it’s now so mainstream most people are aware of Fairtrade. Undoubtedly many people will have altered their buying habits to choose the more ethical Fairtrade options. When huge companies vow to only use Fairtrade ingredients it has to have a significant positive impact on the industry. So that’s all good! Banana, coffee and cocoa farmers have benefited from being paid fairly. But in 2018 is this enough..?

How has Fairtrade failed?

I’m not sure about you, but I could live without bananas. There are plenty of other products that I need more in my life. Avocados are one of the big ones. Why has Fairtrade never helped any other industries in need of some support?

Additionally I would argue that sustainability is more important than how much a farmer is paid. Or at least equally important. Fairtrade has a specific goal but it hasn’t adapted or acknowledged that the world needs more help than their 20-something year old mission. Basically, Fairtrade is out of date and no longer relevant.

What is better than Fairtrade?

There are a growing number of alternatives to Fairtrade. Some you may recognise and others you may not. The biggest and broadest organisation is the Rainforest Alliance which has now merged with UTZ.

If you’re wondering what UTZ is, it’s the organisation that you’ll find on the labels of Aldi, Lidl and Ikea products including coffee, cocoa and tea. What’s great about Rainforest Alliance & UTZ is they not only help farmers and workers but they focus on sustainability. This solves a much bigger and longer term problem.

Cocoa life is another logo you will find on certain brands of chocolate. Cocoa life also supports the wider issues of sustainability and environment. However Cocoa life is a huge corporation’s own initiative so I can’t help but feel it will be less transparent and innocent in it’s mission and goals.

Lots of food and drink producers are ditching Fairtrade and being criticised for it but they generally are creating their own “better” version of Fairtrade. The new initiatives aim to solve sustainability issues (Sainsburys and Pukka Herbs are great examples of this).

Ultimately Fairtrade WAS a fantastic thing.

Perhaps Fairtrade will adapt in the future, but right now I would encourage you to check labels before you buy and look for one of the names mentioned here or something similar. If a product says nothing about Fairtrade, UTZ, Rainforest Alliance or any other reference to ethical sourcing, try not to buy it and opt for one that does.

Paying farmers fairly is great, but creating sustainable farming is better. And please, can someone sort out the avocado industry?!

If you’d like any ethical logo branded baked goods for your events or special occasions check out our online shop here 😀

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13 ways to show your customers some love

It’s almost Valentine’s Day and regardless of your relationship status, if you’re a business owner it’s good to show your customers how much you care. Showing your appreciation is important not only on Valentine’s Day but all year round. Here are 13 fab ways to show your customers some love, and they’re not all cake-related, I promise!

1. Feature them in your marketing

Spread the word about your customers, especially if your audience could benefit from one of your customers products or services. Recommend them to people you meet, share their content on social media, mention their stuff in your blog posts. You can do this as sparingly or generously as you like, but your customers will appreciate it, and your audience will benefit from your recommendations too!

2. Give them cupcakes

Obviously this works, or I’d be out of business. An unexpected gift can do wonders to brighten someone’s day and boost your likeability. Gifts don’t have to break the bank as it’s the gesture that counts. Cupcakes are a low cost gift option that can be sent directly to your clients to arrive on their desk on a particular day. Awesome huh?

3. Offer exclusive stuff

Every business has new product developments or new services to introduce every so often. Why not let your existing customers know about them first? This is easy to do through an email newsletter that your customers can sign up for.

4. Honour existing/old prices

Most businesses increase their prices every year or so (and if you haven’t then you should) so if you have loyal customers that have been supportive in earlier times you can reward them simply by freezing their rates, or allowing them a discount on your new prices.

Thank You Sagittarius Karndean corporate logo branded Cookies being made

5. Buy them cookies

You can surprise your customers with logo branded cookies. They can be sent directly to any number of your clients and it couldn’t be easier for you to order them. We do all the work for you and you get all the credit. Cool huh?

6. Offer loyalty rewards

Most people are used to collecting loyalty points these days, whether it’s stamps from your local coffee shop or points when you buy your supermarket shopping. Whatever you sell there’s bound to be a way of rewarding loyalty.

7. Let them get to know you

People buy from people, so let your customers see the person behind the business. You don’t have to meet everyone in person, but you can show them behind the scenes. Share photos or videos of you at work or creating your products, and communicate on a more personal level.

8. Send them brownies

You’re very likely to score some brownie points if you send your customer a box of indulgent, gooey chocolate brownies. You can include your logo on the brownies if you like, or a personal message and/or logo on a notecard in the box.

9. Ask for their opinion and input

Nobody likes a one-sided conversation. It’s amazing how much easier it is to engage with people if you ask them what they think of something. And the best way to improve your business is to get genuine feedback from existing customers.

10. Provide top-quality customer service

This can be a challenge if like me, you’re juggling all the jobs and trying to run a business single-handedly. But you can do your best, and constantly improve by listening to and giving your customers the time and attention they deserve.

11. Send them flapjacks

It might not seem as obvious as a cupcake but flapjacks are a great treat – and they can be eaten at breakfast time without the level of guilt that cupcakes bring! Flapjacks can also include you or your clients logos as well as personalised notes in the box.

12. Refer complementary products or services

Help your customers by pointing them to other products or services that you don’t offer. This will save them time and effort sourcing it themselves. Referrals are powerful and if customers trust you they’ll value your advice and recommendations.

13. Say thank you

It’s only two words and they can expressed in so many ways. You don’t have to buy cookies that spell it out – you can send a card, another gift or simply say it when you next speak to them.

Thank you for reading and if you’d like some more insight into customer care here’s a few more articles that can help:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/288689

https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/31373/11-ways-to-give-and-get-customer-love.aspx

Hope this helps you to show your customers some love. Happy Valentine’s Day! And remember to appreciate your customers all year round.

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What’s so bad about Nutella?

It’s almost that lovely time of year… Pancake Day! Have you noticed the bombardment of Nutella adverts being thrown at you? Because what’s Pancake Day without Nutella? In fact, what is life without Nutella? Read on to find out why your life and everyone else’s would be much better off without Nutella in it. If you find that hard to believe, here’s a few facts about why Nutella is so bad.

Continue reading What’s so bad about Nutella?

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Why you should attend a business event in 2018

Great British Expos Swindon logo branded cupcakes

It’s easy to throw all our time, energy and focus into digital marketing these days. As an online business it’s vital to have a solid SEO and social media presence, or how will anyone find my website – my shop window? It’s not like people are scouring through the Yellow Pages to find businesses anymore.

So why bother getting dressed up and spending time and money on business cards to hand out at face-to-face events? It seems like an old fashioned waste of time now we have Google and Facebook, right?

Wrong. Here’s why you really do need to attend business events in 2018, and how to make them work for you.

Continue reading Why you should attend a business event in 2018

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How to make your dreams come true in business

Yesterday it was “Make your dreams come true day” – whatever that means. Tomorrow is Blue Monday – the most miserable day of the year, apparently. But why? It doesn’t have to be miserable. If you’re a business owner you have an abundance of freedom and choices. Rather than feel the burden of the responsibilities of running a business I’d like to help you embrace your situation and find happiness. If it’s normal to feel blue this Monday then let’s be abnormal! Here’s how to make your dreams come true…

What makes you unhappy?

Do you know what exactly is affecting you to make you feel miserable? Common reasons are a lack of money, deadlines for payments and credit cards and the realisation that you overspent at Christmas. It’s normal to miss the feel-good party season that has passed. The weather in the UK also contributes. You literally can’t see the light. SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a real thing. Perhaps your self-improvement goals and New Year resolutions are fizzling out fast. Eating nothing but salad is no fun. Being sober and tee-total for “Dry January” is no fun. There are SO many reasons to be miserable, huh?

What makes you happy?

Do you know exactly what you enjoy and what you ultimately want? It’s fairly common to not have clarity on this. The average person will tell you they’d love to win the lottery if you ask them what they dream of. But there’s been many cases of lottery winners not achieving happiness. Money is not a motivator, it’s a facilitator. Time and freedom is what success should represent rather than financial wealth. What do you want to spend heaps of money on? What lifestyle do you dream of? That’s your motivator. Figuring out what you want is the important start of your journey to achieving your dreams and goals.

How to figure out what your dreams are

Make a bucket list. Scribble down every little thing you want to achieve or experience while you’re on earth. Don’t think about how you’d manage to do them. Don’t limit yourself. Simply write down your wildest dreams if money and time were no object. Also write down the smallest things that would bring you joy. Size isn’t important. (Trello is a great platform to use for keeping your bucket list).

Make a dream board. Find pictures that represent some of the things on your bucket list. Pinterest is an awesome free resource for bringing ideas to life with aspirational imagery. Include some inspirational quotes that resonate with you. Create a Pinterest board (you can make it secret so no-one else can see) or download images to create a photo collage either printed out or digitally. I have mine as my computer wallpaper as well as a print out on the wall in my workspace so I see it everyday.

What does success look like for you?

Once you have figured out what your personal dreams and aspirations are it’s time to figure out what your business goals are. I worked with a brilliant business coach towards the end of 2017 to help me figure this out. If you can afford a business coach it’s a great investment and will help you realise much more than you would on your own. If you can’t afford to invest in a coach then find some business owners that you can relate to and create or join a support group. This can be face-to-face over coffee (Desk Cowork is a great place in Swindon) or over group video calls such as Skype. Alternatively there are many supportive groups on Facebook these days (Coffee with Heather and Local Business Network are just a couple of examples). Spend time with people you look up to and ask for their insights.

Work backwards.

It’s not backwards day yet (that’s 31st January) but seriously set your ultimate dream goals and aim as high as possible. Then make a plan from the end and work it backwards to now. It’s kind of like connecting the dots and will stop you getting bogged down in worrying about HOW to do everything. Create milestone targets and put dates on them. This is how to build your dreams. Break your goals down into more detail when you get to your 12 month targets. You can book onto a 90 day planning session to help make everything more bitesize and do-able. I would highly recommend taking a day out each quarter to plan and have found that Ellis Bardsley’s GrowthCLUB sessions have helped me hugely over the past few years.

Recognize who you need to support you in your journey. You WILL need help. Perhaps it’s recruiting team members, building business partnerships and creating strong business relationships. Surround yourself with the right people – people who lift you up rather than hold you back.

You can always thank your team members and people in your support network with tasty treats – and that’s where we can really help! Be sure to get in touch to discuss ideas with us or browse our range of corporate cakes and branded baked goods.

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What is Veganuary? And why should I care about it?

What’s Veganuary all about?

You might have come across it recently, and that’s because January is the month in which everyone is that little more fired up to self-improvement and healthy eating. January is the month of resolutions, goal setting, and dieting. It’s also the perfect time of year to try vegan. But what exactly is involved, and why should you consider it?

Veganuary is a charity inspiring people to try vegan for January and throughout the rest of the year. No long term commitments, just a 30 day challenge to try it and see how it feels.

Why should I care?

There is a Chinese saying that goes: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.”

The secret to happiness is helping others.

Being vegan is good for the environment, good for your health, and good for animals. It ticks all the good deeds boxes all at once.

1 – Caring about the environment is fundamentally sensible. Even more so if you have children. But even if you don’t have children there’s bound to be someone you care about who is a decade or more younger than you. Wouldn’t it be nice if the planet was still inhabitable for them in a few decades time?

2 – Animal cruelty is not okay. There are lots of vegetarians that choose so because they think killing animals for food is bad. But you don’t have to kill an animal to cause cruelty. The truth behind the dairy industry has now been uncovered. Word is spreading.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/mar/30/dairy-scary-public-farming-calves-pens-alternatives

3 – Your own health. If you care about nothing else, your health is the most precious thing you own. And yes, you own it.

What’s the point of Veganuary? Why does it exist?

Going vegan is a major lifestyle change. Most people can’t simply change their lifestyles overnight to commit to something new forever. Veganuary offers you the chance to try it for 1 month and makes it easier for you. Lots of national chains and businesses support the campaign by introducing more vegan options into their menus and product selections throughout January, especially here in the UK. You also get given lots of FREE support in the form of a daily email.

Why should I sacrifice things that I enjoy? My happiness is important.

Your happiness is super important. If you’ve never tried vegan before it can look like an extremely huge sacrifice. There’s SO MUCH stuff you can’t have, right? Who doesn’t love bacon?! And cheese! Rather than focusing on what you CAN’T have anymore, try focusing on what you can substitute instead.

One month is a perfect amount of time to try something new. You can explore vegan food options you may not have noticed before. Let’s face it – when cheese is available you don’t tend to notice the OTHER options that are out there. You won’t know what you’re missing out on until you discover and try it for yourself.

Ignorance is bliss. – But knowledge is power.

It’s perfectly normal to want to protect yourself from information that may distress you. But with the age of technology, knowledge is easy to find. When you start to dig deeper into the truth of the dairy industry you WILL find shocking information. And you may not want to believe it. But turning a blind eye on a problem doesn’t make the problem go away. Instead, take ownership of your actions. Making small changes to fix the problem (or at least stop facilitating it) makes you an extremely good person.

https://www.plantbasednews.org/post/5-moments-animal-ag-is-scared-of-veganism

How does going vegan affect my health?

January is always an ideal month to try a healthier lifestyle change after the over-indulgence of Christmas. Presumably Veganuary is centred around January because it’s when most people are motivated with New Years resolutions. It’s not uncommon to want to drop a bit of holiday weight this month. Vegan foods can be incredibly good for you – if you focus on substituting rather than simply cutting out ingredients.

https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/health/vegan-health-benefits-nutritionist-expert-a3673991.html

Where do vegans get protein & calcium from then?

Protein is easy to find. Instead of meat, there’s nuts, spinach, peas, tofu, beans, and more.

Calcium is also easy to consume. Instead of cows’ milk, there’s an abundance of plant milks. It’s also found in green vegetables, tomatoes, oranges, chickpeas, beans and more.

There is one single thing you might not get enough of in a general vegan diet – Vitamin B12. However there are plenty of cheap and easy ways to get this into your diet. These include daily supplement tablets or consuming plenty of fortified foods.

Read more about this here: https://www.vegansociety.com/resources/nutrition-and-health/nutrients/vitamin-b12/what-every-vegan-should-know-about-vitamin-b12

Why not give it a go?

Set yourself a 30 day challenge and sign up for free to get support from Veganuary. You can do this at any time of year (just like I did last August).

Are you considering it, or have you signed up already and giving it a go? I’d love to hear your experiences.

Corporate Cakery caters for all dietary needs. This means our cakes and baked goods are made with a variety of ingredients and recipes. These include gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan options. However I want to urge you to try our vegan offerings. They taste good, I promise!

If you fancy a free sample, drop me a message – there’s no catch.

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Meet Corporate Cakery’s new baker Leigh!

Corporate Cakery new baker Leigh

Meet the newest addition to the Corporate Cakery team – our new baker Leigh…

Introduce yourself – what’s your background?

Hi my name is Leigh, I’m 46 years old and have been married for 20 years. We have twin boys who are 12 years old and we love spending family time together.  My working background was in finance for over 15 years, but after having the twins I gave up work for 11 years to care for them.

It was very important to me to be a stay at home mum and be there for the boys, but as they are now growing more independent and need me less, I figured it was time for me to look for work again.  I didn’t want to go back to office work, I wanted to find a job in something I was genuinely interested in – which happened to be baking cakes. I had always made the boys birthday cakes and had became very interested in everything to do with cakes, you could say I was a little obsessed.

What are your hobbies & interests? Tell us a fun fact about yourself!

Well needless to my hobbies are anything to do with cakes. Reading about them, watching TV about them, buying equipment for them, going to massive cake shows, and of course eating them. But aside from cakes I also love going on long rambles with my family, and I love military aircraft, which is a bit random,  especially military helicopters.

Fun facts… I once went to Bermuda for the weekend, just because.

I’ve been above the arctic circle which was pretty cool, and I’ve been a zoo keeper for a day. The most memorable thing that day was cleaning out the Rhino enclosure, there was a lot of poo!!!  Also feeding a tiger, that was amazing.

And I’ve flown 2 helicopters and a small aircraft… awesome.

How long have you been baking for?

I’ve been baking since the boys were 1 (11 years).  I made their 1st birthday cake and got hooked. Now they come up with bigger and better ideas for the next years cakes to try and push mummy that bit more to try and get better.

What attracted you to working at Corporate Cakery?

2 things attracted me to Corporate Cakery. Flexible working hours – I’m a freelance baker which suits our family brilliantly, it means I can still have the school holidays off with the boys and work in term time. Also the ethics of everyone at Corporate Cakery. They care about where the ingredients has been sourced from, and how. Those values are important to me too.

Corporate Cakery bakers cake makers

 

What does your job involve?

My job involves baking homemade tasting branded cupcakes, brownies and large cakes for companies, bosses, anyone really who wants to show someone that they are appreciated. Nothing tastes as good as homemade.

What do you like most about working at Corporate Cakery?

I honestly love everything about working at Corporate Cakery. I’m doing a job with something I’m passionate about with perfect working hours, not many people get that opportunity. Working in a industrial kitchen is pretty cool too, and they have ‘ washing up fairies’, I like that a lot.

What are your biggest challenges?

My biggest challenge is self doubt.

What do you imagine the next 12 months to be like? What are you looking forward to?

I think the next 12 months are going to be an exciting time for Corporate Cakery, as they expand and grow, and I get to bake more. Especially triple chocolate brownies, they are so so good.

Corporate Cakery bakers Leigh and Samantha with logo branded christmas cookies

What’s your favourite baked treat to eat?

My favourite baked treat to eat WAS a cupcake, but that has all changed since working at Corporate Cakery. It’s now their triple chocolate brownies, they are simply divine and also happens to be the thing I like to bake the most now, happy days.

Find out about the rest of the Corporate Cakery team HERE.

 

Read about Corporate Cakery’s launch

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7 things your cake maker should be doing (but probably aren’t)

Wickes logo branded Money Cake

“How much do corporate cakes cost?”

This is the most common question we get asked. It’s usually an easy answer, because all of our prices are shown on our website before you order, but we also make things that aren’t featured in our standard product range. Whether you have looked at our prices or not, I’m sure you’d like to know how to judge the price correctly to get a fair deal. Not just from us, but from any bakery. But price isn’t the only thing to consider when you’re ordering corporate cakes. What should you check before buying? Read on to find out… Continue reading 7 things your cake maker should be doing (but probably aren’t)