Creative family business Sugar Tiers is on the rise

Laura Cannon (left) and Ruth Jones say business is booming after recent award wins. Photo/Ben Fraser
Laura Cannon (left) and Ruth Jones say business is booming after recent award wins. Photo/Ben Fraser

Mum-and-daughter team Ruth Jones and Laura Cannon of award-winning Sugar Tiers Cake Design "started dabbling" about three years ago but "got serious" about their business late last year.

In a nutshell, what does your business do?

We create custom cakes for all occasions. Our particular speciality is wedding cake design, but we do cater for birthdays, anniversaries, baby showers, and any other special occasion.

What inspired you to set up your business?

I [Laura] was a stay-at-home mum and needed something to keep me stimulated. Mum has always made beautiful cakes, so I asked her to share her knowledge. We found we worked so well together and make a great team so thought we'd go all in.

What was the best business decision you have made and why?

Setting up our business from home has by far been our best business decision. We chose to convert a room in our family home into a registered kitchen rather than renting a premise. This has allowed us not only to save money but to keep our family together.

What was your worst business mistake, if any, and what did you learn from it?

Under-charging was definitely our biggest mistake. People are now appreciating what a custom cake is worth and we are now charging appropriately, but that was only after delivering one of our first cakes. We worked out our costings and realised we had made an hourly rate of $1.55, and that was between us.

What do you see as the biggest opportunity for your business in the year ahead?

Our biggest opportunities for this year have just happened. Firstly, The Rotorua Daily Post Bride of the Year and Wedding Industry Awards, where we were recognised as "Outstanding Cake Artist 2014" has given us a great boost, both in bookings and confidence. And secondly the Rotorua Wedding Show "Hitched", where we exhibited for the first time. We have had an outstanding response from our presence there.

If you could do any other job for a day, what would that be?

Taster at the Whittaker's chocolate factory.

How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?

Family is very important to us and we always make time for them. We are both night owls so for us it is fairly easy to balance -- family during the day, work during the evenings.

What's the best thing about being in business in Rotorua?

Rotorua is a tight-knit community, and that goes for the Rotorua wedding industry, too. We thoroughly enjoy working side by side with other wedding professionals in the Rotorua area. They really are a neat bunch of people and have been very supportive.

If you were mayor of Rotorua for one day, what one change would you make?

I don't even know where to begin with this one, so let's just give everyone a day off.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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