Cakes make for sweet trade success

21:38, Feb 17 2009
STEAMING SUCCESS: Sandra Boston shows off one of her novelty cake tins that has helped make her one of the top traders on Kiwi auction website TradeMe.

Making cakes was once just a hobby for Sandra Boston but it has risen into one of the most successful businesses on TradeMe.

The latest edition of ‘Michael Carney’s TradeMe Success Stories’ names the Hikurangi resident as one of the top crafts traders.

On average she has a staggering 600 auctions on the website each week selling anything
cake-related.

"I’ve always been a hobbyist cake decorator and I used to get frustrated not being able to find things I needed to make the cakes I wanted," says Sandra, who goes by the name Bejewelled on TradeMe.

"I started to think there must be other people out there who feel the same way."

She realised the extent of the demand when she sold an Elmo cake tin – used for her daughter’s first birthday – for $82. The item now sells for $27.

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High sales continued when she first started importing in bulk around two years ago.

"People went crazy in the first few months and would buy 15 tins at a time because they had never had the opportunity to buy those products."

She says people have now realised the products will not be going away so they just buy what they need.

But the business is still booming.

The entrepreneur spent last year setting up her website www.kiwicakes.co.nz where she is selling about 1000 products.

Her biggest sellers include specially designed cupcake paper, icing colouring, flower cutters and decorative rolling pins.

When she cannot find a tool she needs she commissions craftsmen overseas to make them.

Her paua shell and silver fern chocolate moulds have proved particularly popular with individual buyers as well as professional companies.

Working part-time from the comfort of your own home sounds like a dream come true but the mother-of-two says it is not always easy.

"The hardest thing is that the kids can’t differentiate between when you’re at work and when you’re at home."

She has a daughter aged four and a son aged one with husband Vaughan Gunson, who she says is a huge help.

"Vaughan has always chosen to work part-time so he can spend time with the kids so I couldn’t do it without him."

For business support, Sandra goes to her mother who operated the Kamo antique shop for 26 years.

Whangarei Leader