I totally, unashamedly stalk cake pop makers on Instagram – because I really admire their ability to make such tiny, detailed works of art and their ability to make it look so easy. In some ways I think they have it even harder than the bakers and decorators, because all their work is on a small scale and they’ve got to work that much harder to convince clients of the time and effort which goes into each little treat. I reached out to Clare from POP Bakery for an interview because I love how she and her Mum have expanded their business, and it’s one of the few cake pop businesses I know that has a retail outlet. I’m also hugely impressed with the amount of detail which goes into their pops, some of them are truly jaw-dropping! I hoped that interviewing her would be interesting and inspiring and it’s both! Thanks so much Clare for participating.
A lot of cake pop artists started the same way – they saw some online after Bakerella invented them, decided to give it a try and then (almost overnight) they found themselves creating things for family and friends..and then whammo, they’re in business. Can you share with us your story, how did POP Bakery come to be?
That’s funny because that is literally how it all started! I saw them on Bakerella’s website and started making them, I put them on Facebook and everyone was amazed. I then brought lots of samples to magazines and press flooded in. It all took off from there!
One of the things we all struggle with in the cake community is pricing – it can be a challenge to teach consumers why the things we do are the price they are. I imagine that for cake pop makers, that education process is even harder because they can be so labour intensive, but the product itself is visually quite small. Is teaching the consumer about pricing a challenge for you, and if so how have you overcome it?
Sometimes it is but I think people can imagine the time that has gone in to it when they see how intricately painted they are. But yes I do get the odd person who is surprised by the cost which never fails to annoy me when I know the effort that’s gone in to it. We were recently saying we should make a little video that shows the life of cake pop from cake batter to a fully painted POP. Might be a good idea, to put on the website so everyone can see the effort that goes in to each and every POP!
You are the only cake pop company I know that has moved into a physical store front – congratulations on such an amazing achievement! Can you share with us about that journey, how it moved from a home based business to commercial premises? How are you using that space to meet the needs of your customers?
So we’ve run POP bakery from my parents house for nearly 5 years, we were really growing out of the space so every now and then I’d have a look online at local shops to rent. Last summer I found this one and it was perfect so I booked in a viewing! It wasn’t really planned to be honest. I was loosely looking at shops as it’s always been a dream of mine but as soon as I saw this space I knew it was for us. It was a bit of a gruelling process actually getting the shop but we managed it in the end and are now coming up to our third month in the new premises. Its working great as a workshop for us during the week with a few drop ins and then on the weekend word is spreading that you can come in and paint your own POPs so we are busier and busier. it’ll definitely take time though for people to hear about our new services but all the people who have dropped by so far seem to have had fun so I’m really excited for the future. The other plan for the shop is to really focus on party products and sell lots of wonderful paper creations. So far we have amazing gift wrap, cards, pinatas and pom poms but lots more coming in this month.
One of the things I also really admire about you is how you’ve diversified the business – it’s not just pops for orders, you’ve also created your own product line of pop paint and kits. Can you tell us a bit about that process and what it’s been like?
That was super fun. It was mainly because people kept asking me on instagram and I was bored of explaining it so I realized I had to make our own branded paint and then I could point all those enquiries in to the direction of our new range. It was so much fun for me to design ( alongside an amazingly talented graphic designer who does all our website and packaging) the look of the paints and kit and guide that comes with the kit. I’m so happy with the results and already really excited to be offering new colours and even a UV edible paint in 2015.
You are doing so many exciting things -it’s been a huge year! What’s next for POP Bakery? On a bigger scale, what do you think is coming up for the cake pop industry as a whole? It’s a “trend” which has actually been around for a long time now – and more and more tools are coming out (everything from bling sticks to molds) and I’m wondering what you think we’ll be seeing more of in the future?
It’s crazy isn’t it, it seemed like such a fad at the beginning as it was part of a whole trend of other hybrid food, starting with the cupcake which I’d say has now had it’s day a bit! But POPs seem (touch wood) to have real sticking power. We are never quiet, it’s amazing people find so many excuses to buy the little things. They are now a firm favourite at any party. The great thing about them over other celebratory dessert trends is how much they can be customized. This is crucial to the reason they’ve been around so long and hopefully will continue to be for a while longer!
I don’t plan on getting involved with any other food trends, I’ll be loyal to POPs forever. However I would say the trend for painting on food (with the help of POP Paint of course) is on the up. I’ve seen lots of beautifully painted macaroons on instagram and so think the paintbrush is definitely taking over from the old-school piping bag!
If you would like to find POP Bakery’s amazing work, here’s where they are:
If you love cake pops but can’t quite figure out how to make them without making a mess of your kitchen and losing your mind, here is a brilliant online class I recommend called Learn To Make Cake Pops Online.