Victoria Carr, chief baker at Victoria’s Sponges, on how she extended her cake business into baking kit supply during lockdown.

It’s a strange time for us all in the baking world, as it is for all industries. For bespoke bakers like me, it means no weddings or celebrations in lockdown, with all orders cancelled or postponed.

We have seen a lot in the news about how people are finding it hard to get hold of flour and can’t get their baking fix at home. We had stocked up in preparation for a busy April wedding season, but how could we get it to customers? We came up with Victoria’s Sponges Baking Kits that give customers everything they need to make 12 cupcakes from scratch.

From market research on our Instagram channel, we found customers preferred this to a ready-to-make mix, as they felt more involved and prouder of the finished product.

We chose our two best-sellers to launch with: gin & tonic cupcakes (for the adults), and chocolate cupcakes that are kid-friendly.

It took a lot of planning and organisation to get us to a place where we could pull these together at the drop of an order.

It took a lot of planning and organisation to get us to a place where we could pull these kits together to order

We needed boxes to ship them in, all of the ingredients, packaging to keep these safe, cupcake cases, etc. For our G&T cupcakes there were a lot of extras to think about too – mini gin bottles, tonic cans, pipettes, piping nozzles, piping bags, etc. We got most of our supplies from Amazon in bulk, and used a specialist boxing firm for the food packaging and boxes. We also obtained pink postal bags to align with our branding.

And we had to decide how to get the instructions to customers. This could be included online in the shipping confirmation or email, but we have used to print small postcards with the ingredients, and clear method that, in theory, means they can then bake the cakes again in the future. Both cupcake recipes are available on our website too. We also printed branded thank-you cards so we can write a personalised message to the recipient –  whether it’s a gift to a friend or just a quick thank you for ordering from us.

The main form of marketing we used for the kits is social media, particularly Instagram as this is where we have our largest following. This has worked well on Instagram stories, and having the link available to customers in our bio on our profile page. Email marketing to our subscribers, to launch the kits, offered them 10% off on our shop for the whole lockdown.

As a baking community, it’s important we all stick together and inspire each other, so get involved and think outside the box.