August 19, 2009

Words of Wisdom From a Mumpreneur!

Filed under: Baby Shower, Children's Parties, General, My Inspirations, Online Shopping — Kathryn @ 9:58 pm

I was flattered to be interviewed by Cosmopolitan Pregnancy magazine for their Spring edition (out now with Catriona Rowntree on the cover) about what it means to be a successful Mumpreneur.  In great company, with other Mumpreneurs such as Narelle Chenery of Miessence and Ally Schultz of Minimink, I thought I would share the full interview with you.  Enjoy!

What did you do for a living before you started your business? 

I worked in Marketing and Communications for shopping centres, industry associations and hospitality.   

 

How did you come up with the idea for your business? (was it necessity, an idea you’ve always had etc) 

Pink Frosting was absolutely born out of passion!  I always loved organising smaller events rather than big corporate ones, so I started Pink Frosting as a wedding planning business.  Over time, I realised that Australian brides and anyone wanting to put on a great party didn’t have access to the gorgeous decorations, favours and ideas available overseas, so I made it my mission to bring all of these gorgeous things to Australia.  I started the online store almost as a sideline to the wedding planning business but very quickly, the website went from being a sideline to becoming a very large full time job.

 

How did you begin your business? (Did you get a bank loan, start at the markets, sew in your garage etc) 

I started the business just with the income I had from my full-time job.  Luckily, I earned a good wage, so that sustained the business for the first twelve months before I was able to quit and work for myself.  Investing in the first website was pretty cheap (but I learned quickly that you get what you pay for!) and the only other investment was in stock and travel to the US to lock in exclusivity deals and do the buying for the business.  I worked from home with both the kids when they were babies.  I had a dedicated studio and office and we had our garage completely filled to overflowing with stock.   Thank goodness, we now have a big warehouse and a beautiful office.  I think back to those first months and cringe at how hard it was to find stock and spread out!

 

When did it really take off? 

The online store really took off about two years after it was launched and it’s still growing astronomically now three years later.  A leading ecommerce entrepreneur in the US told me that I shouldn’t make any decisions about the viability of a website as a business until it had been live for two years.  She was absolutely spot on – two years almost to the day after we launched www.pinkfrosting.com.au was when we never looked back.

 

How did you manage the family/business balance? 

Luckily, when the kids were babies, the business allowed me to work around their sleep times.  I also burned the midnight oil seven days a week– most nights I didn’t get the bed before 1am even when I was breastfeeding Darcy, so I was a bit of a walking zombie for some time!  An online store allows you to be a bit flexible with your hours as most of the communication with customers is via email, and because most of my suppliers and partners are in the US, working at nights always worked best anyway. 

 

Did you have a lot of support/backlash? 

I have an incredibly supportive family and husband, so this made building the business a lot easier.  Most of my family is in business for themselves – my grandfather, my Dad and my brother all have their own businesses, so I didn’t need to look far for a support network that understood the pressure of working for yourself.  Whilst my parents don’t live in Canberra, they were always available to come and help me with the kids when work was getting on top of me.  I’ll always be grateful for that.  My gorgeous husband also worked very hard to get the business off the ground.  He came home from work every night, helped me get the kids fed, cleaned and into bed and then spent countless hours packing orders in our garage.

 

Did/Does your husband/partner (please specify) help with the business? 

While David doesn’t need to pack orders any more, he still plays an active role in Pink Frosting by being my sounding board and helping with stocktaking, building shelves and any other handy things we need done.  He’s a trouper and a real support for us all.

 

Do you have staff working for you? How many did you have in the beginning? How many do you have now? 

It started with just David and I.  My first employee came about 2 years after the online store was launched and Kathy is now our Operations Manager, a real star.  I now have six employees not including myself, which astounds me.  I take employment very seriously as you’re essentially looking after someone’s livelihood, so putting on each team member has been a mixture of both joy and anxiety!

 

Where do you work from (home, office)? 

We have a big warehouse, a showroom and an office in Fyshwick Canberra.  I still work from home every night and on weekend nights, so I have a nice office set up at home where I do my blogging, write for the Pink Frosting website and talk to my US suppliers.

 

Who looks after your children when you’re working? 

Both my kids are in a wonderful childcare centre.  The centre staff are incredibly loving and the kids are thriving there. 

 

What’s the best thing about setting up your own business as a new mum? 

The best thing is the flexibility with hours.  It is absolutely my decision about when I work and I just love that the business gave me many joyous hours with my kids when they were babies.  I am certain that I wouldn’t have had the same amount of time with the kids if I’d continued with my corporate job.

 

How many hours a day do you work? Is it part-time, full-time? 

I wouldn’t even like to try and count the hours that I work!  I check my emails before the kids get up at 5am, I then work a normal full time day at the office, and then once the kids are settled at night, I spend time blogging and working on content for the site.  I do this seven days a week so it’s a real labour of love.  If I didn’t love it, it would seem ridiculous!

 

Were there any challenges when you were getting the business off the ground?  

Money is always the biggest challenge when you’re starting out.  In an ideal world, entrepreneurs with a good business idea and management experience could get access to seed capital.  Despite Pink Frosting being Australia number one wedding online store and a top 10 Australian gift store, we have struggled to get business finance through the traditional bank system.  As we grew, we simply needed capital, so we had to get a second mortgage on our house to finance the business.  This was scary but I’m also glad we did it this way because it means we own 100% of the business and haven’t had to give away some of the business we created to investors.

 

Where are your products stocked? 

Our products are stocked at www.pinkfrosting.com.au and we also have a wholesale arm that distributes our gorgeous things to party and wedding retailers around Australia and New Zealand.

 

What was your turnover first year in business? 

For the first twelve months it was around $200,000 with absolutely no profit whatsoever!

 

What’s your annual turnover now?  

Over $1 million.

 

Any negatives that come with starting your own business as new mum? 

Like any working mum I spend time worrying that I’m not giving enough of myself to each part of my life.   I don’t think this changes whether you’re in business for yourself or your working for someone else.  It simply comes with the territory!

 

Where would you like to take your company next? Do you/Are you planning on exporting overseas? 

We’ve just launched a new product (Pink Frosting Template Stores) which allows other mums to set up their own party, baby shower or wedding online store using the Pink Frosting shopping cart, fulfilment systems and warehousing.  Because we’ve got so much experience in setting up a successful online store from scratch, we’re really excited to pass this knowledge on to other budding entrepreneurs who perhaps don’t have the know-how, collateral or time to start from scratch but they really love weddings, parties and baby gifts.   

 

I’m also really excited to be able to spend more time on blogging and creating beautiful and inspiring content on our website to help anyone interested in parties, entertaining and weddings to create spectacular events.  Having time available to spend on creating content is a dream!  I am so lucky to have a  great operations team now who deal with the day to day business of Pink Frosting which allows me to go back to my roots and be more creative every day.  Bliss!

Happy Celebrating!

Kathryn

July 25, 2009

Cake of the Week: Marie Antoinette Wedding Cake

I’ve been posting my cake of the week for some time now and while I love every single one of the cakes I’ve featured, this cake is going down as my new favourite.   This Marie Antoinette themed wedding cake by Cake As Art in San Francisco is a superb example of fine sugarcraft.

The wedding, held May 31st at the Marines Memorial in downtown San Francisco, was as coquettish as can be, with inspiration from Marie Antoinette’s lavish style. The cake is iced in pink butterceam and the scroll details are hand piped in buttercream and painted in gold. The cameos, bands and bow are made with fondant, painted bronze. The topper was transported all the way from the amazing patisserie, La Duree, in Paris.

It makes me seriously want to scream – “Let Them Eat Cake!”  Team this gorgeous cake with some other Marie Antoinette wedding theme style described over at Pink Frosting’s wedding inspiration pages.

Happy Celebrating!

Kathryn

July 22, 2009

Wedgewood Jasperware Decorated Cookies

Wedgewood Jasperware is one of those classic looks that just about every entertainer in the world adores.  I just had to share these gorgeous Jasperware inspired decorated cookie favours by Sweetambs on Etsy. 

Sweetambs cookies are made from a basic sugar cookie recipe, which is then flavoured with fresh orange zest, vanilla beans, and a hint of cardamom. The royal icing has a dash of vanilla extract to bring together the wonderful flavors of the cookie.   If you’re a reader from the US you will be able to order from SweetAmbs for your wedding or special occasion favors.   If you’re not from the US, then get out your sugar decorating kit and start practising!  I am determined to learn how to decorate at least half as well as this!

And these stunning little cameo inspired cookies!  Who could possibly eat them?

What a divine wedding or christening bomboniere idea.

Happy Celebrating!

Kathryn

July 19, 2009

Cake of the Week: Making A Fondant Ribbon Rose

My Great Aunty Ivy was a master cake decorator of the best kind – exact, creative and very generous with her young great-niece.  She spent countless hours teaching me how to mould fondant into little flowers, shapes and creatures.  Aunty Ivy passed away last week and I wanted to dedicate a post to her.  I can’t seem to find a photo of Aunty Ivy’s beautiful creations, so instead I’m passing on a tutorial on how to create ribbon roses, which I used to make hundreds of with her.  These tiny little roses are perfect on top of cupcakes and cakes for most sweet celebrations such as baby showers, kitchen teas, kids birthday parties and weddings. 

Thanks to the wonderful team at CakeJournal for this great tutorial and Fairycakes for the cute cupcakes decorated with ribbon roses. 

I’m almost certain that Aunty Ivy’s influence when I was very young had alot to do with my starting Pink Frosting and my interest in styling celebrations, cake decorations and beautiful little details.  Thank you Aunty Ivy for your patience and kindness.  These sweet ribbon roses are bringing back lots of beautiful memories for me.

Happy Celebrating!

Kathryn

May 21, 2009

Out of the Garden Cupcake Wrap Decoration Inspiration

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Are you a fan of divine cupcake wrappers like I am?  If so, I’ve been scouring the libraries of cake designers, magazines, wedding blogs and more to come up with my favourite images of how the best in the business have used cupcake wrappers to transform beautiful cupcakes into spectacular works of art.  I have a garden bridal shower coming up which we will be decorating and styling, so I have been particularly looking for ways to use the Love Birds and Butterfly laser-cut cupcake wrappers.  Here are my favourites for your viewing pleasure:

Butterfly cupcake wrappers in lavender image by Pacific Weddings Magazine; Love Birds by FancyFlours; Rose butterflies by CupsNCakes; White butterflies wrapper with glitter butterfly tops by FancyFlours

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All of the gorgeous laser-cut cupcake wrappers are available at Pink Frosting’s online cupcake decoration store.  Gorgeous!

Happy Celebrating! watch fast and furious 4 in divx

Kathryn

May 10, 2009

Cake of the Week: Happy Mother’s Day Cupcake Pops

Happy Mother’s Day!  Baking for Mum has always been a bit of a tradition in my family, and I wanted to find a cupcake this year so that I could share the baking experience with my young kids.  The fabulous Bakerella featured these cupcakes with a flower pop recently and I thought they were so cheerful and gorgeous for Mother’s Day.  Who could resist?

Flower Parts

Here are Bakerella’s instructions on how to create these gorgeous cupcakes:

Make your cake pops following the basic cake pop instructions, but instead of shaping the pops into balls, make them more oval-shaped with one end flat so you can glue the flower parts on. Also, if you don’t want to make the entire recipe into flowers, you can divide the baked cake into fourths and freeze the unwanted sections for later use. Yay!

12 cake pops = 1/4 9 X 13 cake
24 cake pops = 1/2 9 X13 cake
36 cake pops = 3/4 9 X 13 cake
48 cake pops = One 9 X 13 cake

Man… I’m good at math.

Make sure you divide the frosting appropriately also.

Dip the pops in the color candy melts you want for your base. I used white here because it blended in with the white part of the candy corn and camouflaged the gaps a little.

Once dipped, let the cake pops dry standing up in a styrofoam block.

When dry, dip the flat tops back in some of the melted candy coating. This will act as the glue. The coating should be starting to cool off so it takes less time to dry when you attach the pieces.

Now for the balancing act.

Lightly grip the cake pop in your left hand, so your thumb and forefinger can act as a ledge for the candy corn to rest on when you attach them to the top of the pop. If you can do this without letting your hands touch the sides of the cake pop… even better because your body heat can start to melt the sides if you’re not careful. It helps a little to let the lollipop stick rest on your leg if you are sitting down.

I know. I know. Sounds like a lot of work. But, I had come this far and they were for… you know… the person who gave birth to me.

Hold them in place long enough for the pieces to set/dry in place and not slide down the side of the pop… which will happen if you remove your hand too soon. Did I mention that this was an experiment? Anyway, when attached, place a tiny bit of candy coating in the center and attach the yellow candies to finish off the flower. Right about here, I realized how happy I was that I decided to only make a dozen of these.

Another method is instead of dipping the top of the pop in candy melts is to apply one petal at a time by dipping the bottom of the candy corn in some of the melted candy coating and then glue it to the top. Wait a minute. Did you get all that? Because I think my head is going to explode.

I wish I had a picture to show you all of this, but my hands were kinda busy.

Flower tops

It’s a good idea to get all your pieces ready before you start any glueing. The centers in this case were yellow mint candies from The Fresh Market. (But m&ms would work, too.) And, if you’re like most of the population, and don’t have extra bunny corn laying around, you can try using licorice pastels and licorice buttons or check out the nearest candy aisle and get creative.

Licorice Candy Flowers

These licorice candies give more of a wildflower look, but still pretty. I like them (also from the Fresh Market) because their shapes are a little more irregular. You can also get Good & Plenty brand licorice candies in this colour pink. They are just a little bit fatter and more uniform in shape.

When all the flowers are made, you can arrange them in a small heavy basket or vase (The heavier, the better, so it doesn’t tip over) with at least 2-inch thick styrofoam in the bottom. Also if you decide to transport, keep the flowers from touching each other. The petals can be knocked off easily if they fall into each other.

As for shopping for all of the pieces in Australia, the best candy shops online are:

My Lollies
Goody Goody Gumdrops
My Favourite Lollies
Wallies Lollies

Happy Celebrating!

Kathryn

May 9, 2009

A Winter White and Lavender Wedding Dessert Buffet

With winter just around the corner, so many Aussie and Kiwi brides are in the last stages of planning their winter weddings.  The very talented event team at Pink Frosting recently added inspiration for winter weddings including galleries, seasonal flowers, menus and decorating ideas over at the Pink Frosting wedding planning pages and the team in charge of buying at the Pink Frosting online wedding shop recently added a swag of gorgeous new winter-themed decorations, favours and wedding accessories to buy. I am on the lookout for more images, ideas and inspirations from around the globe for winter weddings and I just stumbled across an amazing blog called Sweet Designs, by event planner Amy Atlas.  Amy specialises in high end dessert and sweet tables, which is such a huge trend right now (and a wonderful one at that).  I am enamoured with Amy’s gorgeous tables, designs and especially love her Lavender Snowflake Dessert Buffet which was photographed by Karen Mordechai. 

Does winter wedding inspiration get much better than this?  I am also coveting this table and theme for corporate Christmas parties.  Stunning!

Happy Celebrating!

Kathryn

April 2, 2009

Getting Married or Hosting a Party in Canberra? The Pink Frosting Shop is Now Open!

We are so excited to announce that our online wedding and party shop now has a sister in the form of a gorgeous showroom here in Australia’s capital city, Canberra.

Renowned around Australia as one of Australia’s leading wedding planning companies, we opened the Pink Frosting online store a little over two years ago and it quickly became a hit, representing brands never before seen in Australia.  The online store features invitations, decorations, favors and accessories for weddings, parties, baby showers, kids celebrations, christenings and seasonal celebrations such as Easter and Christmas.

Our new showroom is filled with glamorous ideas and products to help inspire brides, entertainers and everyone who loves to celebrate create a truly magical event.

Pink Frosting’s shop opened with the intention of bringing the world’s best wedding and party decorations to Australia.  As event planners and stylists, we know how difficult it used to be to source unique and lovely wedding and party decorations and accessories, so we simply started importing them ourselves.

The store’s strength is that the buyers are experienced event and wedding planners and stylists so customers can feel secure that the products really work.  We not only bring these gorgeous things to Australia, we also demonstrate on our website how to use them through our beautiful galleries and event planning tools and ideas.

Now with a showroom open to the public, a little gem in the nation’s capital, anyone who wants to see the products in the flesh, can do this in a beautiful environment, with the assistance of one of Pink Frosting’s wedding and event stylists.

Online shopping is growing dramatically in Australia, but there will always be a group of customers who would prefer to touch and feel the products before they buy.  Our showroom allows customers to do this with the added assistance of a professional stylist to show them how the products work as well as help them theme and style their event.

Pink Frosting’s team of in-house wedding coordinators are available to see clients by appointment at 35 Whyalla Street, Fyshwick Canberra.  For an appointment, please call us on 1300 855 633 or email Pink Frosting at info@pinkfrosting.com.au.  Customers outside of Canberra can still get their Pink Frosting fix by visiting the online store at www.pinkfrosting.com.au .

We hope to see you soon!

Happy Celebrating!

Kathryn

March 31, 2009

Beautiful Garden Entertaining Inspiration

Classic garden parties are such a wonderful way to celebrate in the Australian climate, just about any time of year.  Right now is no exception as the air becomes slightly cooler and the breeze a little bit crisper – no biting sunshine to turn us into lobsters!

Two beautiful ways to style a garden party, whether it be a shower, wedding, christening, ladies tea party or simply a picnic with friends, are presented in the gorgeous Wedding Style Guide which has just hit the news stands.  I highly recommend you grab a copy of this magazine even if you’re not getting married because their styling ideas for weddings translate to many other occasions.  The eye candy just can’t be beaten.

Fresh Country Garden

Classic white makes a comeback with an eclectic display of flowers and styling. Against the freshness of a country garden, whimsy and romanticism come to the fore.

Something Blue

Pastel hues sing when set against a dark contrasting colour creating a savvy wedding palette. Carefree summer colourways move aside for an autumnal look of moody blues and velvety chocolate-browns–a luxurious combination for a sophisticated look.

As a hydrangea girl, I just love the kissing balls above.  Aren’t they divine?

Happy Celebrating!

Kathryn

December 10, 2008

Stunning Table Linens and Settings to Inspire Your Wedding Reception

I just found the most wonderful website filled with stunning table linens and table settings to inspire you to design a fantasy wedding reception.  Much more realistic than Preston Bailey’s fantastical creations, the table decorations and floral centrepieces from Wildflower Linen are perfectly “do-able” for the average bride.  Just a little imagination, plenty of inspiration and a wonderful florist is required!

Here are some of my favourites:

Vitally important in creating a fantasy reception is lighting (candlelight, fairy lights, directional lighting), colour (most of these images use variations of one colour – monochrome is a great place to start when creating a colour theme), flowers (fresh seasonal flowers – either super high or super low on the table), and high quality linen (of course!).

One thing I have learned as a event stylist is that you really can’t not have chair covers – unless the chairs at your venue are really special (which happens so rarely).  If you are spending many thousands of dollars on your reception and flowers, it is a real mistake to forego chair covers to save money.  Your chair covers will make an enormous difference to how elegant and styled your event will feel.

Happy Celebrating!

Kathryn

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