Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My blog has moved..

Hi lovely people. Just a short and sweet post to let you know that I have moved my blog over to Wordpress which is also what our new website is running on. This means more regular blog posts about my cupcake adventures.

Click over to see pics of our brand new second store!! Very exciting stuff.


See you over there!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Murphy's Law, you win buddy

Just a short post today because I want to share my experience of 'life running a business' with you all. I can honestly say I haven't felt stress such as this before, not even when we opened our very first store in Hawthorn. I feel sick in the stomach from worry and want to cry but my head hurts too much to handle it.

Our new brand rollout. Our website will also be updated soon!

The uncertainty is what kills me most, then secondly it's disappointing our customers. I'm just in the state of mind now that this store feels like a dream, is it really happening? Maybe it's like Inception, a dream of a cupcake store within a cupcake store. Yes, wtf I'm delirious. Let me explain.

The uncertainty of not having a date set in stone can make a person go crazy because how can you plan anything if you haven't got a date to work with? We did have a date of Wednesday 6th July which had considerable amount of leeway, mind you. And then Murphy's Law came along and f'd it all up. I'm not going to go into details but lets just say that the floors better be worth it.

Then, it's the customers. Our most supportive, amazing customers. We have been getting calls almost everyday asking whether our new store in Melbourne Central has opened yet. These calls make me smile because I feel so lucky that word has already spread, but that twinge of guilt. Why isn't this store open yet?! I'm so scared that people turn up on Wednesday and be terribly disappointed. 

So I want to apologise in advance to anyone that is met by disappointment on Wednesday. If you mention that you came to visit on Wednesday and we weren't open, I will ensure you get something special.

Thank you for your support. We have been working really hard, along with our amazing builders to get this store up and running. I mean it always sounds so simple just to get a store open, but there are thousands of aspects that need attention and some things we wouldn't have been able to learn without experiencing it. Long story short, have a plan A and a plan B, then make sure you have a plan C. I'll have a happy post up soon, promise. x Sheryl

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Innovators innovate, Imitators imitate

It is mostly true that “nothing is original” and that every idea is some reincarnation of a previous idea . Just look at all those variations for different abdominal machines on late night infomercials.
Most of the products out there are hardly anything brand new or never seen before ideas. The successful ones are more ‘new & improved’ versions of someone else’s idea. Apple for instance didn’t invent portable music players, Sony came out with the Walkman before them, they just made it damn cooler. They were innovative in the way they paved the way with their branding, their vision, their following.
Customised Boombox Tour Cupcakes!
When you see innovators, you instantly know who they are because they captivate you. Their idea may not be original but you can see, feel, smell that what they are doing is fresh, unusual and contagious. Innovators, in my opinion, are those that are truly passionate about what they do. They don’t do it for money, they don’t do it for fame, they don’t do it for the wrong reasons. They do it because it’s their calling in life, their purpose that needs to be fulfilled. That's why when you see those feel good viral clips on YouTube where they're expressing their passion in an innovative way, they instantly become YouTube sensations.

A month ago we had the awesome opportunity to create some custom cupcakes for the Boombox tour with these amazing talented YouTube stars performing on tour. Many may not know the names Kev Jumba, Niga Higa, Andrew Garcia, Jayesslee but if you're a YouTube addict like me, you will know these names and may even be a huge fan of theirs. Their talent whether it be singing or making you laugh, they are the ones that are following their passion and are innovating new contagious videos to make us feel inspired.

Janice & Sonia have the most amazing voices!

Kev is just hilarious (in person as well).. I was hooked on his hilarious vids whe he just started out and now he's a serious superstar! It actually felt quite surreal to meet him in person.

The innovators are the ones that have others wanting to be like them, imitating them, stalking them. Innovators don’t care. They believe in what they do and look forward to bringing another fresh idea into play, breathing a breath of fresh air into our lives.

Cupcake Central Workshop Store Happenings...

The date for our grand opening launch has been moving around due to our tight schedule for the build. We are hopefully going to get a concrete date to release tomorrow. Our amazing builders are working day and night to get this Workshop open and here are a few details going into our Melbourne Central store...
Straight from England!
Sneak peek of some especially sourced refurbished vintage lights going into our Workshop store.
Just beautiful vintage pendant lights.
How awesome does our new logo look on a stamped coffee cup? It's love.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Building building building! Evolving evolving evolving!

Cupcake Central Workshop is currently nothing but an empty, clean slate but watch this space!
Plans have been approved and the building process has begun! I must admit we were a little optimistic when we set our minds on opening our second store in Melbourne Central on the 1st June but we live & we learn. The second store which we are dubbing The Workshop is smaller than Hawthorn but the investment is much larger....making me just a tad nervous. I just keep telling myself "if we build it, they will come" haha but no seriously, deep down I know that this store will be something very different to anything that has been offered here in Australia. I'm planning to run real workshops for people to enrol in to learn how to bake and decorate cupcakes...but shhh, it's still in the works.

I've been told that the first couple of weeks of build looks like nothing is really happening and then the last week goes BANG, a new store appears. Really hoping this is true.

Alongside the building of the workshop we are slowly rolling out the rebranding of Cupcake Central which is very exciting. Many people ask the question why we are changing our logo and the answer is due to one main reason - we want to keep evolving our brand and as our business has outgrown what we initially designed (due to our limited budget at the start), we are now creating a brand that our business can grow into and grow with!

Have you been to Melbourne Central's new Dining Hall on Level 2 yet? It's been open for a couple of months now and it's gorgeous. Problem is figuring out what to eat!
Brand is important to us because ultimately a brand is what YOU as the customer feels about our product, services, atmosphere and everything in between. Not what some brand expert says it is. So our business has essentially been molded by our customers, every feedback we get to improve, every suggestion, every idea thrown our way - we do try our best to take what we can on board and keep evolving.

Just as an example of our rebranding, here is a sneak peek of our new packaging that just arrived a few days ago. All made out of recycled cardboard. Our new business cards are also made from recycled stock - even though it may have cost us extra to use that material, it's the little things that count and I believe there are other people that will appreciate that.

These boxes were designed specifically for us and are so freaking amazing... embossed and all. As we phase out our old boxes you might be lucky to get one of these pretty boxes before we open the workshop.
We may get a few puzzling looks over the next month as we roll out our new branding but don't be concerned... we're still the same old Cupcake Central...just better - (yes I know it's quite a contradicting sentence). I know I do say it alot but it never gets old...thanks so much for your support either through eating our cupcakes, spreading the word or reading my blog.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Hitting the jackpot!

Late last night I turned on the TV and stumbled across a doco called Lucky on SBS One. It was an interesting doco about how winning the lottery changes these winners' lives and how they deal with going from rags to riches. And let's be honest, we've all at one stage or another dreamed of what it would be like to win the lottery.
- The S'mores cupcake is part of our new Winter Collection of cupcakes -
Imagine living a life where money did not matter. Imagine having all the money you could ever spend and not having to think of working another day in your life. Would you live it differently?

An interesting comment one of the lotto winners made was that after winning the lotto, he didn't have his 'day job' as an excuse not to follow his passion anymore. In some ways, that clicked with me. That fateful day that I lost my job...was just like winning the lotto! Crazy thought.

- Pear Crumble is another addition. Filled with real made-from-scratch Pear Filling, vanilla frosting and rolled in the best serving of again, made-from-scratch crumble -
Sure losing my job is not the same as winning the lotto, I can't go out and buy my dream Aston, Ferarri and Lambo to fill my garage for the hell of it. Can't exactly buy a jet to go on a 'round the world trip either. But it released me from my excuse I had carried along with me... "I can't do it because I'm committed to something else".

- A lovely write up of us in the Melbourne Weekly last week that made our phone ring non-stop for days (no, it wasn't an ad!) -

So amuse yourself and think about what you would do if you won $20 million dollars? Besides from buying all the material things, what would you want to do every day?

That's why I feel like I've hit the jackpot because I would still want to be here building this business.
Our next store in Melbourne Central is set to open in the last week of June 2011. Like our Facebook page for updates.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What gets you out of bed every morning?

What motivates you to get out of bed every morning? For me it keeps changing. At first it was because I loved to bake, then it was to see the smiles on faces when they ate something that I made, then it was the feedback I would get, then it was because I felt accountable to building this business to grow so we can keep our staff, then it became a mixture of so many things but especially inspiring others to do what they wanted to do in life.

- Chilli Chocolate - a flavour that's going onto our Winter Collection coming 1st June. -

The other week my old high school, Killester College, asked me to make an appearance and run a cupcake decorating workshop with a class of Year 10's as part of their Visual Communication & Design subject. They were designing cupcake packaging and so part of it was decorating cupcakes so they could take photos of them in their packaging.

It was such a great experience and such a privilege to be able to speak in front of a class and tell them about my story. I let them know it was possible to follow their passion and make a 'career' out of it. I spoke to them about how "The world needs to do what you love" because it's the people like the Steve Jobs, Richard Bransons, Oprah Winfreys of this world that influence us and makes a difference in this world.


I remember when I was in high school, there was such pressure from parents and family to grow up to become a doctor, a lawyer, a pharmacist as it was seen as a successful job and provided security. I knew from a young age that I didn't want to be any of those professions as I had more of a creative side and I also loathed science and maths (with a passion). I was so lucky to have parents that believed in me and supported me in what ever I wanted to do, even though I knew that they were secretly scared sometimes. I just wanted to share my experience and story with the girls because even though they might not know what they're passionate about now or what their dreams are yet... one day if it dawns on them, then they can hold onto that dream and follow it.
- The group of creative young ladies at Killester College -

- The end result, what a creative bunch! -

"The greatest change happens because of people that are deeply passionate, and have a great love for the work they do.
If you want to make a difference in the world, the single most important thing you can do is consciously and deliberately choose to do work that you are passionate about." - Johnathan Mead, Zen Habits

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The countdown begins

What a few weeks it has been. I've been busy working on getting our processes in preparation for the Cupcake Central Workshop, also the Winter Collection of cupcakes, organising Young Female Entrepreneur networking nights, running cupcake decoration workshops at my old high school, having the first staff party which will be one that will probably be hard to top.. and lots of baking & training new staff!

 - Strawberry Shortcake Cupcakes with a Royal Wedding theme to celebrate Will & Kate's wedding. We were so overwhelmed by the amount of orders that came in for these cupcakes and sold out in record time and we had to bake more!-

So the countdown begins as we are working on getting the design and planning of our next store approved. It's been a bit of a lengthy process but this store is a step up from our Hawthorn store. When we started on our Hawthorn store we had a very limited budget and we were very much beginners in what we did. Most of teh design was done by Tin with the guidance from our project manager. This time around we've got a bit more of a budget, learnt from our mistakes and have a much better idea of what we want and how to execute it. We've also been able to create a network of professionals that know how to get the job done a lot better than we do.

- An Autumn themed Wedding Cupcake Tower. The red laser cut wrappers added the perfect touch -

- A cherry blossom themed Wedding Babycake Tower with Red Velvets and Black Velvets -

Having heard other entrepreneurs speak at The Unconvention, it makes it clearer to me that as entrepreneurs, we're not meant to be specialists in every single area in our businesses. An interesting thought was when Dominic Carosa mentioned that he was quite offended when someone said he was a "Jack of all trades but master of none" but realising afterwards that it was actually a good trait to have as an entrepreneur. You know a little about a lot but a lot about a little - enough to be able to bring the skills of those that are smarter and more highly skilled than you in those areas and make your idea & business work!
- Professional photoshoot of our cupcakes for our new website and our 2011 Winter Collection -

- I tried my hand at taking some photos too. I like this one -

So as we prepare for the second store, I'm focusing on what I love doing and what I do best - which I believe is coming up with new ideas, flavours, interacting with customers face-to-face and through social media, focusing on processes and systems (my previous life as a Business Analyst does have it's pros!). As the countdown approaches June, you'll start to see Cupcake Central evolve into a brand, it's going to be a brand that spells out our core values. 

Aspiration - Quality - Experience

Change is on it's way and I know that there will be people that will love it and there will be those that will hate it. If anyone ever has feedback to pass onto us, we are more than happy to listen and at the end of the day - you are our customers and we do what we can to make you happy when you step in our store or order from us. That's a promise!

You will also see some vlogs from me as I want to share my experience of living my dream and how much care we put into our business to make you guys happy! Take a squizz.

- Test baking for our new Winter Collection of cupcakes -
One last thing, I want to introduce you to my cute little puppy Joey. Most adorable thing ever. I've heard that pets help you destress and allow you to live a longer life.