Real Stories: Cate Hart from Lather and Frisk

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Many of the readers of this blog are not in the cake or sweet food business. I get emails from woodworkers, crocheters, sewers and all kinds of people making interesting handmade products. The lessons I teach and the challenges we face aren’t necessarily unique to the cake world – they are just part of being in a handmade business, so I love hearing the stories of non-cakers.

I recently got the opportunity to get to know Cate Hart, and her story made me smile but it also made me so proud – she’s a perfect example of someone who uses what I teach and applies it to a non-cake business. More importantly, she’s someone who had to pivot from her original cake business idea.

Cate is the owner of Lather & Frisk (which is quite possibly one of the best business names I’ve heard).

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Lychee and Black Tea Soap — All photos courtesy of Lather and Frisk

Here’s her story in her own words:

” The business I have started isn’t in fact a caking or baking business – I make handmade bath and body products! I was initially going to set up a kitchen at home and sell pastries at the markets but being the clearly excellent handy-woman I am I smashed my sparkling new stove top with a cupboard door I was removing and still don’t have a new one, because the only appliance electrician who will come to my small country town has been less than reliable. The stove top was smashed at the start of April so it’s been a while. So I couldn’t bake – but I knew in my heart (and my head) there was no way I could go back to working full time when I’d already made this leap to do what I really wanted. If I did that I could end up giving up the dream completely, or just leaving whatever job I hated four years down the track to start a home business again. Knowing I was all in I just considered what alternatives I’d enjoy, and here I am! I initially followed you because I wanted to start a baking business, but I’ve seriously found everything you’ve said crosses over to what I’m doing.”

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Charcoal Tea Tree Peppermint Salt Bars

I must say that my chef heart withered a tiny bit at the idea of no oven…but then, did she mean no oven AND no stove? I asked Cate how she’s getting on with that:

“Yep no stove cooking since April. And no oven cooking either because I just don’t know whether the open wires and stuff on the top of the oven will over heat and catch fire and given it was my clumsiness that got us into this I’m just not ready to burn the house down too.. We have a takeaway rotation going with what’s available in the nearest town – KFC starting to make corn was a real game changer, and I recently started getting fried rice without meat on Chinese night which almost makes it feel like a different meal hahaha.”

I’m not entirely sure I could survive that Cate!

Here’s what Cate has to say about the world of handmade NON-EDIBLE products:

“Making soap is a lot like baking – exact recipes and measurements, chemical reactions going on, owning so many spatulas. It’s just fragrance instead of flavour, and if you drop cake batter on your toe when wearing patterned tights you’ll just be a bit messy, whereas soap batter will burn your toes and have you standing in the bath running cold water over your lye burn (hello me at 1am Friday night..)”

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Bubblegum Heart Soap

And you might be interested to know she struggles with the whole photo thing too!

“I have a maybe twenty seven minute window when exactly one spot in my house is ripe for taking photos and it’s just as the sun is setting behind a fantastically placed tree. I do a lot of frantic running and product tweaking and phone camera waving between 4:45pm and 5:15pm…)” (Sound familiar? I know plenty of cake people with this same problem!)

And lastly, she even confessed her sins of the digital kind:

“I refuse to feel dorky about my Pinterest addiction. I was laid up on the couch with a cold today periodically shouting out how many foll
owers I had now to my partner in the other room. I just hit 1202 and honestly this is so joyous I am going to have a sneaky timtam to celebrate!”

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Citrus Solseife Bar

If you’d like to take a closer look at Cate’s delicious-but-not-edible products, you can follow Lather & Frisk:

on Instagram:  www.instagram.com/latherandfrisk 

on Pinterest: au.pinterest.com/latherandfrisk/

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