Ever dreamt of changing lanes in your career and taking a different path? Our next Female Figure, Vanessa Hall of Cookies and Crumbs Melbourne found herself in the baking business by accident when she just wanted to make something cool for her son's birthday and received lots of orders through instagram - gotta love the Gram! Now she runs a booming business, baking for big brands like Mecca,The Daily Edited, Westfield, Tiffany & Co and Kikki K (to name a few!).
A little bit of background on Vanessa, she is a concert violinist, music teacher and mother of 2. Vanessa found herself in the baking business 6 years ago and was the primary baker for 2 years till she had her second child. She had complications with the second birth and had an infection called golden staphylococcus and cellulitis, this was when she decided to get support and hire staff. It was hard for her to let go of the baking process but this truly allowed Vanessa to focus on expanding her business rather than working in it. She believes that everything happens for a reason , and never sees a setback as a negative - but as a stepping stone to the next adventure!
Vanessa has 2 bakers now working in their own certified kitchens which allows them the flexibility to work while raising little ones. Win!
I met Vanessa in the midst of the Victorian lockdown in 2020 when she bought a Moodyboard for her home office setup. We very quickly became friends and have supported each others businesses since. Vanessa's aesthetic and colour sense is sophisticated and fun and has a little something for everyone. From her witty (F#?K Covid) phrase bikkies for the adults to her Design-your-own-Cookie-Kit for the kiddies. She has really thought about her customer and what they need and has definitely brightened up many households with her creations. OK enough from me - Here's more from Vanessa!
F%?K Covid Dessert Box is sure to put a smile on someone's face during this uncertain time.
1. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you came into business?
Vanessa: I was previously a violin/music teacher at Haileybury College and have always been creative. I then designed a birthday cake and cookies for my sons first birthday. I started posting photos on Instagram and began receiving orders. Before long I was receiving enough orders to resign from my job and start expanding my business.
2. When you were starting out, was there any particular client that gave you that "big break" which really propelled you to a larger audience?
Oh yes! After a couple of months I was asked to do an influencers blogger lunch and provide them with cookies. There was one influencer there that loved my products and had photographs with them. She then posted for me (and I didn’t pay for it or anything). I then used to do many of her events. So my advice would be not to be too greedy at the start or ever, do lots of unpaid work to get your name and reputation out there!
3. How are you finding your Moodyboard and has it helped with your line of work?
Vanessa: Moodyboard helps me organise my week in advance. I have to coordinate the workload for 2 staff and a courier each week. Its very important for me to be able visualize my schedule and plan in advance.
4. What does your typical work day look like?
Vanessa: I'm up at 6am to start scheduling my social media posts for the day. I then respond to any orders and emails that have come in overnight. I then make breakfast for the kids and get them dressed before driving them to school and kinder.
The rest of my day is then spent dealing with customer emails and phone calls, checking in with staff and then picking up our two kids from school and kinder. After school activities then follow before dinner. After the kids are in bed I then respond to more customer emails before bed.
5. As a mum, what are the challenges you face when running a business, and what do you do to overcome those challenges?
Staying organised by using the Moodyboard really helps.
6. As a business owner, what tips do you have for others who are just starting out/ thinking of starting a business?