Entrepreneur bakes up success

CAKES BY ANNA: Available at Riccarton Market.
CAKES BY ANNA: Available at Riccarton Market.

Young baker and entrepreneur Anna Worthington is sampling the sweet taste of business success.

From small beginnings last year, her home-grown cake business has grown to be one of the city's most popular specialty treat providers.

In September 2012, Worthington returned to Christchurch after 15 months of baking her way around Europe.

PASSIONATE: Anna Worthington, in her Colombo St kitchen, says Christchurch is one of the best places a young entrepreneur can be.
PASSIONATE: Anna Worthington, in her Colombo St kitchen, says Christchurch is one of the best places a young entrepreneur can be.

Equipped with a fine arts degree, she decided she wanted to do something that was creative but profitable, and settled on cakes as an outlet.

Worthington began baking cakes in her mother's kitchen and selling at the Riccarton Market.

Her dripping, saucy creations proved popular, with customers and businesses placing orders to have cakes delivered.

From there, she says, "the cake thing just took off really quickly, until I was working 18-hour days just baking".

By Anna is now a fully-fledged business, providing a steady income for the 24-year-old. As well as taking orders online, she supplies two cafes, with a third opening soon.

Working alone, Worthington will often make more than 60 cakes a week, as well as cupcakes, slices and the occasional biscuit, and to keep up with demand she plans to take on an employee in the next six months.

At present, she's turning over around $5000 a month, and business is growing rapidly.

Like many young entrepreneurs, Worthington had little access to startup capital, so started out baking at home. After the orders started flooding in, she quickly moved into a professional kitchen on Colombo St, where she still works now.

Over the next two years, she hopes to open a larger kitchen and display space, with a cake shop open two days a week.

Making the swift transition from student to baker to businesswoman has not been without its challenges, Worthington says.

"It's not just about making cakes, it's about learning how to run a business - which I knew nothing about. I did fine arts, so numbers and me don't really go well," she says.

"I would love to just make cakes all day and not worry about the tax man."

But while learning the business ropes has its difficulties, Worthington believes Christchurch is "the perfect place" for young entrepreneurs to start out.

"There is so much opportunity here. This is maybe one of the most exciting places to be in the world if you're a young person wanting to do something yourself."

She says the post-earthquake city is more open to giving new ideas a shot, and people are supportive of new initiatives -more so than in Wellington or Auckland.

As well as being an ideal place, Worthington says baked goods are the ideal product.

"Cake is a great product to work with. There's always an occasion for cake, it's not seasonal. People will always have birthdays, they'll always get married."

She believes she's lucky to have found a rewarding career so early on.

"The cakes started as a way of generating a bit of income while I figured out what I wanted to do, but it soon turned out that cake actually was what I wanted to do."

"I count myself really lucky that at the moment I'm doing something that I really love, and it's not like work. I've found my passion really early."