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Q & A with 'I DO' magazine (16th June 2020)

I Do

'With no signs of mass gatherings happening any time soon, we’ve continued to chat to wedding suppliers to see how they’ve been coping during the pandemic.

Today we chat to Dianne Stanley of Dream Cake Designs, and get her insight on how the wedding cake business has been fairing…


Q: What have you been up to since lockdown started?

A: Although my business was paused from the beginning of lockdown until the 1st June I was still very much working behind the scenes on my business and taking orders for when I could safely reopen. Allocating time to keeping my business alive and 'out there' has been crucial during the past few months and has been keeping me very busy.

My days have still been scheduled in as I find keeping a routine important, especially when everything else around has been so upside down! I'll spend an hour or 2 in the mornings catching up with emails and enquiries, and planning, editing and scheduling content for my social media. I have learned how to use Canva and Creator Studio and I recently set up a profile on LinkedIn, so I'll usually have a mooch around to see what's happening in the business world and see if there’s any new connections that I can make.

When you're regularly working from home it can be quite isolating anyway so I find a change of scenery, whether relocating to another room or sitting in the garden is good for the sanity and the soul and can stimulate creativity, even if you're still only looking at your own space! I've also been taking time out each day to read a chapter of some very interesting and thought provokingly deep self awareness books!

My afternoon usually begins with a scheduled Zoom training, networking, consultation or podcast that I have been promising myself that I would catch up with but somehow never found the time! I also try to catch up with my business coaching which somehow I always seem to fall behind with!

Most days I aim to finish up my 'office time' around 4:00 pm when my lovely hubby arrives home from work ... then it's 'cuppa and chill' for him while I prep the evening meal before we head out for our daily walk.

Q: How has it affected your business?

A: As well as wedding cakes being postponed, all of the celebrations that were due to take place during lockdown were either cancelled or postponed to later in the year which has also had a massive impact on my business. One of the knock on effects of the lockdown has meant that my baking ingredients have been in short supply, although thankfully they are now beginning to trickle back into the shops a little more. However until all ingredients are more readily available and larger gatherings are allowed to take place, I have decided to offer smaller sized cakes with a limited selection of designs so that I have the capacity to honour the orders that are already in my diary. This includes customer cakes that unfortunately had to be postponed too. A selection of these designs can be seen in my Facebook shop ‘Say it with Cake!’

Q: How have your couples been with you?

A: Oh bless them, my couples have been amazing!! My heart breaks for them having to go through this as so much time, effort and love goes into planning their perfect day. Thankfully though, every one of my couples has managed to book new dates with their venues and other suppliers.

Q: Have you had many rescheduled weddings? If so how have you dealt with this?

A: All March through to September weddings have been rescheduled to 2021 and I have been able to carry forward any monies already paid to the new date. I do have a few couples booked from October to December holding out to see what happens when venues are allowed to open again and I’m obviously crossing fingers that everything will go ahead as planned for them! We are keeping in touch, and if they do have to reschedule then I will obviously do everything I can to accommodate their new date.

Q: Do you know yet when you will be reopening up again and how will your business be operating differently?

A: Yes, I reopened my cake diary to new bookings on the 1st of June. Consultations have been taking place virtually or over the phone and for wedding cake clients I am really excited to be looking into the possibility of sending out sample tasting boxes so that they can taste my delicious cakes. I am also looking into showing my cakes at a couple of virtual wedding fayres alongside other fabulous suppliers!

I am so excited to be back to baking again and look forward to talking cake with lots of lovely couples very soon! Q: Do you have anything else to add for people thinking of booking you for their wedding?

A: 2021 and 2022 couples ~ if you are planning your wedding and are looking for a cake maker please do reach out sooner rather than later as spaces are very quickly becoming limited.

If you would like to have a chat I am offering pre-consultation ‘Cake Chat’ telephone appointments for couples who would like to get to know a bit more about me and my cakes. This 15 minute call gives you the opportunity to let me know your cake requirements and ask a few questions to see if I am the right cake designer for you!

I look forward to speaking with you soon x

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