Alison Lawson, an Aussie from Bowral, New South Wales, creates designer cupcakes, cakes and cookies under the name Alison Lawson Cakes — and styles your party, to boot. She has three young sons and hopes to grow the business along with her boys.
MomIncorporated: When did you start your business, and what inspired you to start your business? Do you have formal training as a pastry chef?
Alison: I started my business three years ago in a part-time capacity. I first became interested in cake decorating and party styling to plan and create amazing parties for my own children. I started attending classes at a local evening college with my sister. I attended for one year, and started creating cakes for family and friends. The business just grew from there by word of mouth.
MomIncorporated: What goes into the part of your business you characterize as “party styling”?
Alison: By party styling, I am referring to the overall theme, color palette and design of how the party is presented. Decorations, props, themed food and how it is all arranged.
MomIncorporated: Tell us about some of the challenges you faced from idea to business conception, and how you overcame them.
Alison: Pricing has been one of my biggest challenges. It has taken time to establish pricing in relation to ingredients, labour, time, packaging and styling. Cake pricing is largely related to the amount of time involved in completing each specific design. Experience in pricing cakes is the key, and putting a value on your time.
MomIncorporated: How do you get the word out about the business?
Alison: Referrals from friends, family and clients has been great. My Facebook page has been amazing too, as it provided a great forum for showcasing my work. It also allows you to link with so many people.
MomIncorporated: Are you making a living from the business, or is it just a sideline?
Alison: At the moment my business is in a part-time capacity.
MomIncorporated: Do you have plans to grow the business? If so, what do you envision for the future?
Alison: I would love to see the business grow as my three young boys grow and move off to school. I would love to continue in the same way, but with more time for focusing on party planning and styling.
MomIncorporated: How have you juggled being a mom and an entrepreneur?
Alison: It is a real juggling act. I often end up staying up way too late, as this is when I can apply myself without interruption. Accepting how much time you can give to your business is also key.
MomIncorporated: What advice do you have for would-be entrepreneurs?
Alison: I love the creative outlet my business provides. Choose something you are passionate about and enjoy doing. Keeping your starting costs low is also important.