For my guest blog today, I’m handing over the pen to a great young lady, Sara Rose Pollard of Sara’s Cuppa Cakes. This amazingly talented gal specialises in baking for those with special dietary needs and makes delicious gluten free, dairy free and diabetic friendly cakes.
Its funny how things can change. 12 months ago, I was a full time single mother just dreaming about having my own business. Now, just 8 months later, those dreams have become a reality and I’m even teetering on the edge of moving into a commercial property. Its amazing to have come this far in such little time, but its not been easy either.
I chose 18 months ago what I wanted to do with my life. This was a little later than I’d expected but at 25 I wasn’t getting any younger and my daughter was due to start pre-school in a matter of months. Then one day, I went to meet my boyfriend’s parents, and being an old fashioned girl at heart, I baked them a cake. I wanted to make a good impression, especially as I’d turned to baking to relieve stress and I secretly thought they might like me more if I made an effort, so I went all out. On receipt of the cake they were very grateful, but I felt like I wanted to shoot myself when I learned that his sister Katherine had something called Coeliac Disease.
I’d never heard of it before but she wasn’t allowed to eat my cak, as she couldn’t have anything that had gluten or wheat in it. It was not only my cake that she couldn’t eat, but also bread, pizza dough, cookies, sauces and even some types of meat. I felt so sorry for her thenand I decided that if I could, I was going to make a difference to her life, and that I’d come up with the best gluten free recipe she’d ever tasted. Four weeks later II returned with chocolate brownies and the picture on her face told me all I needed to know!
It was like a light bulb went on in my head; I suddenly knew my calling and what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I was going to help people who had allergies and intolerances eat all the things I took for granted. As word spread of my brownies, I got more requests to make things that were gluten free, then dairy free and finally even diabetic friendly too.
After then it all happened very quickly. I had a charity interested in my ideas and they spent a few weeks with me showing me how to bake different cakes and better my own recipes. Then as they faded away I felt strong enough to go it alone and felt a confidence inside I’d almost forgotten about and a passion to learn more. I dived back right into the research, using anything I could get my hands on to make unique cakes and cupcakes. I stuffed my friends and family with sponge, and then, when I knew I’d finally got it right, I told income support that I was returning to work. They supported me 100% and it was one of the best feelings walking out of that office knowing I’d never return again.
It was then that I had to make a decision. I’d seen that the free-from market was growing but falling, and that cross contamination was high. If I made normal stuff as well as specialist, I risked putting my clients health in danger, so I decided the best thing was to be a completely gluten free baker. That way, it wouldn’t apply to me as you can’t cross contaminate something your not using. In time I chose to also be dairy free, as I made recipes without cows milk and butter and used soya in my egg free recipes which have become my well known virtually fat free cupcakes because I calculate the calories and syns using the slimming world technique.
7 months ago my daughter innocently ran into a cafe on the high street that had just opened, named Cafe Imbizo. I met Nick for the first time then,and with me apologizing profoundly for the whirlwind that was my daughter and he laughing saying it was okay, he wasnt busy, he was just trying to sort out things for the cafe. I took that moment to shake his hand and introduce myself. “Well in that case, hi, my names Sara and I’m a cake maker.” It was as if pound signs appeared in both our eyes. These days he’s not just my stockist, but also a good friend and the first person I turn to for business related things!
Today though, I hold an online clientele base of over 1250 people across facebook and twitter combined who all live mainly within Hampshire. They keep me on my toes and have led me to make a profit in my first tax year of business. This now means that I can, with the help of companies like crowd funder, seek help from the public to help made a change to the community. What I want is a cafe just for my client so all those lovely people with an allergy or intolerance who need and want somewhere to go, can be finally treated as equals. I want to be able to help them understand their intolerances by showing them how to bake safely and healthily and prove that you can do anything if you put your mind to it. So here I am, 49 days away from reaching my £12,000 target to open my own cafe. I am determined to get there. Maybe not today, and probably not tomorrow, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and the truth behind anything in life, is you just have to believe.
If you’d like to get in touch please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my facebook page via the link below.
I aim to reply as quickly as possible to each message and I’m taking bookings right through to October! So if you would like to order anything from a cupcake to celebration cake, I’d advise you to get them in quick!
for each pledge made to my crowd funder pitch, you will be entered into a draw to win a variety of things from cupcakes to celebration cakes.
Click here to visit Sara’s facebook page.