The Wedding Cake Boutique- How Caroline Goulding fulfilled her food dream
Caroline Goulding, is passionate about baking. She loves trying new recipes, flavours and combining unusual ingredients. This, together with her fabulous designs have been the key ingredients to the success of her cake design business, The Wedding Cake Boutique, based in Ranelagh, Dublin 6.
Her wedding cakes have been featured in the top publications and blogs including the Irish Times, Image Brides Magazine and One Fab Day and is also a recommended supplier to some of the country’s most prestigious wedding venues, including The Shelbourne, Powerscourt House and Ashford Castle.
Her journey has not always been straightforward. She originally qualified and taught science for 10 years before making the decision to switch careers. From 2008 she started her training with the Ballymaloe Cooking School in Co. Cork and continued her training in London, gaining experience with UK’s top cake designer, before setting up her own cake design business in 2013.
“When you are initially starting up it’s just so tough”
Her main challenges when she started trading in 2014 were in the area of marketing. She had no background in the area, a very limited marketing budget and didn’t know what her options were in creating awareness of her brand. She completed a training course run by LEO Dublin City “Marketing on a shoestring” and although she found it very informative, she still wasn’t sure how she could apply it to her business – this is where Mentoring really turned things around for her.
Mentoring – customised support for your business
She initially heard about the mentoring support available from LEO Dublin City when she was doing a Start Your Own Business Course in 2010 and went for a one hour mentoring session to get some feedback on various business ideas she had at the time. This guided her to go back to the drawing board to research each option before deciding to establish her cake design business 3 years later. Since marketing was her biggest challenge, she decided to sign up for 6 hours of mentoring in the area and was matched with a mentor specialising in marketing strategy and digital marketing.
What Caroline got out of the Mentoring Process.
“ I stopped looking at what I wanted to do for customers and started to look at it from the customer’s perspective – what are they buying, what do they want and ensuring my marketing reflected that rather than what I thought they should want”
Mentoring made a real difference to her whole approach to marketing. She got lots of ideas which could be implemented within her tight budget. Most importantly each idea was discussed in relation to how it could work for her business, so she could easily apply it straight away. As well as working on her pricing and competitive advantage, she learned how to improve her website, it’s natural ranking on google and how to use relevant social channels effectively. Other areas she focused on were blogging and P.R..
Although she doesn’t always have as much time as she would like to focus on digital marketing, she uses her new skills effectively and every day. She has built the business now to a stage where she is preparing to expand.
She has gone on to upgrade her website with the benefit of funding from LEO Dublin City under the Online Trading Voucher programme and has participated in other training workshops, which she has found excellent including in areas such as taxation and further digital marketing.
She has joined the Plato programme, participating in a group of 7-10 food businesses at various stages of development and is finding this a very beneficial next step as she expands her business.