MARIA WILLIAMS meets a businesswoman having a generous slice of success thanks to her cake creations.
Many people would envy Judith Bond’s working life.
From her kitchen in her tramwayman’s cottage on the Great Orme, she spends her time baking and decorating mouth-watering and beautiful cakes, and creating new flavours, while looking out at the stunning scenery of the Bay of Llandudno.
It couldn’t be more different from her previous roles in 20 years working in administration, for part of that time working in the offices of North Wales AMs Darren Millar and Janet Finch-Saunders.
A graduate of University College of Ripon and York St John with a degree in history and American studies, and a higher diploma in administration, Judith carved out a career as a PA and office manager.
When she decided to switch paths and set up her own business, those organisational skills proved invaluable.
Her choice of business came from her passion for baking.
“It began in my twenties and thirties, baking for my friends and family,” she says.
“I started collecting recipes two and a half years ago. Then, a good friend asked me to bake her wedding cake. I had never done that before. I had never made sugar decorations before. I had to go on YouTube to find out how to do it!
“She told me she wanted four tiers, lace, and red roses. She also wanted a fruit cake, which is not usual these days, as most people ask for sponge wedding cakes.
“There was a lot of stress and anxiety about that cake, and it was so heavy. I had to carefully carry it down to the hotel in Llandudno where the reception was taking place.
“Thankfully, it all went really well. That’s where my business was born, really.”
Judith gained her food safety certificates and registered her business, Judith Bond Cakes. Now, it has a 5* hygiene rating.
Judith, 44, creates celebration cakes for birthdays, weddings, baby showers, christenings, engagements, anniversaries, retirements, and graduations.
She also makes cup cakes in 12 flavours – including salted caramel, almond amaretto, blackberry cheesecake, and rose pistachio – a favourite for birthday parties and gift boxes.
Judith is also expanding her business into the corporate market, offering cup cakes as business gifts, or for corporate events, and she is able to make gluten-free cakes, or cakes for those with other special dietary needs.
She’s a keen photographer, taking pictures of her creations for her website http://www.judithbondcakes.co.uk/, and is an active blogger, sharing her experience with her customers and readers.
“I enjoy using social media, building up a good relationship with my customers, and I love taking pictures,” she says.
While Judith bakes her cakes, she’s helped with other parts of the business, like deliveries, by her husband Barry.
When I talk to Judith, she’s working on Christmas orders and has just attended her home town’s Christmas food and drink fair.
“I love meeting my customers. I believe the Llandudno event is one of the biggest Christmas food and drink events in Wales,” she says.
The event was a success, and Judith is pleased with her business’ progress.
“Other people might have wanted a faster expansion, to take on a factory unit and staff, but I’m exactly where I want to be with it at the moment. I’m happy to be expanding little by little,” she says.
“The best thing to do if you’re considering setting up a cake business is to speak to those who have done it and get as much advice as you can.
“They can tell you some of the pitfalls. I found I was competing with some people who are selling cakes on Facebook and shouldn’t be doing it – sometimes, they haven’t registered properly, or don’t have the proper food safety certificates, for example.
“My business is going from strength to strength, there’s a great interest in baking now thanks to the Great British Bake Off.
“My ambition is to be known as The Cake Lady.”
There’s an enduring feelgood factor about running a business based on baking, and that attracts loyalty from customers.
As Judith says: “Everybody loves cake.”