Jemma Regis is a London-based baker, teacher, chef, writer and the founder of Jemz Cake Box. In this interview, she tells us how her natural flair, creativity, and eye for detail have helped her cake business thrive.
Hi Jemma, can you please tell us a little about who you are and give us a little background into what you do?
After 25 years of working as a chef, I started my own cake business in 2012 - combining my passion for food and art. I now spend my time creating bespoke and novelty cakes, as well as running classes to teach others to create edible art.
I’m an all-round creative person and have a lot of different projects on the go. Outside of cakes, my main passion is writing and I am in the process of publishing my second book.
What do you enjoy most about running Jemz Cake Box?
I love bringing my clients' ideas to life, and I really enjoy any opportunity to be creative with my baking. Sometimes customers will send me a list of their interests and I get to come up with the design from scratch. I also love to create interesting centre pieces – I once made a life-sized guitar for a friend’s birthday. That was a lot of fun!
Customers often call to say they didn't want to cut into the cake because it looked too good to eat, or even that they didn't realise it was a cake at first! That's always great to hear.
What the biggest challenge when running your own business?
Jemz Cake Box is run out of my own home, and sometimes I have up to 5 or 6 different cakes on the go in my kitchen! When I started out, I didn’t expect my business to grow so quickly but I’ve now outgrown my kitchen. I don’t have enough space to keep up with all the orders and it's a shame to have to turn customers away.
If I was starting my business today, I’d tell myself to plan ahead and find a big enough workspace that’s conducive of the work I want to produce.
What does the future hold for Jemz Cake Box?
Because I’ve outgrown my kitchen, I’m looking into doing crowdfunding for a new space. In the short term, I’d also like to reduce the amount of time I spend baking and dedicate more time to running classes. If I had a unit, I could run the classes from there, so getting funding for a new space is my main priority for now.
In the long term, I’d love to find someone to handle the day-to-day running of the business so I could focus on the creative side!
How has Debitoor helped you with your business?
I first joined Debitoor in 2013, starting out on a free trial. Because I send all the quotes and invoices myself, it’s important to have invoicing software that works for me. Debitoor has everything I need in one place and makes invoicing so easy.
Because my cakes are bespoke and custom-made, I find it really helpful that you can enter descriptions for specific products and individual orders. I usually cut and paste the details from the customer's order so they can check everything they asked for is there. I even work off the description on the invoice, using it as a worksheet.
Which features do you find the most useful?
I love the fact that you can see whether a customer has read the invoice. For me, that feature is priceless. It makes it so much easier to chase customers when you know that they’ve seen it! I also really appreciate partial payment feature. I often ask for a deposit for the cake then for the full payment later on, so I couldn't run my business without this!