So we are now well down the path of Chantelle running her own little baking business from home, meaning that it’s probably about time I give a little update as to how its going.
The most recent big update to come out of the whole thing is of course the name change that’s taken place. Formerly known as Chantelle’s Cookies and Cakes, we’ve rebranded to emerge as Chantelle’s Cupcakery, with an image shift towards being more classy than the old homely appeal that we had pushed in the past.
We roped in our friends at Branch Designs and commissioned this stunning logo from them – which I then promptly went and added to all our official letterheads, posters and business cards:
(Sadly, I’ve been far too busy to even think of getting around to updating the new website, but that will come all in good time. At least the domain and new e-mail address are up and running though.)
In terms of our presence, outside of all the private orders of course, you can still catch our cupcakes, macaroons and cheesecake at the Sacred Ground coffee shop in Franschhoek, and of course at the weekly Willowbridge Slow Market in Durbanville. We’re currently in talks with Fruit & Veg Stellenbosch to get our cupcakes into their little coffee shop, and from this Summer season onwards we’ll be expanding our markets footprint, starting with the Doilie Market at D’Aria Winery in Durbanville, and the Century City Natural Goods Market in Century City. (In fact you can catch us at all three market locations on the upcoming weekend of the 26th October!)
In terms of production, Olga and Chantelle’s mom are now regular hands on deck to assist in all the baking and decorating, and if you pop along to Willowbridge on a Saturday then you’ll see new face Leandra manning our stall (though every now and then we steal her spot because we also love meeting all the people at the market!).
I’ve appointed myself official finance guy of Chantelle’s business and so we’ve spent many tedious nights doing costings and finances in my trusty Google Docs Spreadsheets, the end result being that I can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that Chantelle’s business is at least happily chugging along in the black.
And then of course there is the big Stellenbosch Christmas Market we’ve been accepted to be a part of that is busy looming its ridiculously large head…
So all in all it is good news all around for Chantelle’s Cupcakery! :)
And now you know.
Remember back in December when I purchased a big 450 litre KIC chest freezer for Chantelle’s business? Well the great news is that her business is doing so well that I felt the need to invest in it again. The bad news is of course that my braai room is now pretty much been overrun and taken away from me!
(Hell, even my XBOX and 40 inch Telefunken TV is now living in my study!)
Two large appliances were delivered during the week, both bought from Somerset West Tafelberg Meubels, the first being yet another big KIC chest freezer, and the second being a standalone Perfekt fridge!
It was a bit of fun and games with the fridge though – I opened up the packaging just after the delivery boys had left, only to discover that they had sent through a standalone freezer instead of the standalone fridge that I had wanted. Annoyed I checked my invoice and then recoiled in horror when I saw the clerk had made an error and rung up the freezer instead of the fridge (they’re the same price), with me completely missing it in the process!
Luckily for me the clerk turned out to be a trainee so Tafelberg had no issue in changing the order for me, and by the end of the same day the delivery boys were back again, picking up the hastily repackaged freezer (thanks for the assist Chantelle!) and dropping off our nifty little fridge.
Right, so now it is only that R10,000 massive thermofan oven we have our eye on plus the R3,000 Kenwood mixer still left on our ambitious capacity expansion plan! :)
Last weekend was the final weekend of Jessica’s holiday – she started creche at Baby Steps on Monday! Of course this meant that we needed to get her back, and so on Friday evening after work, Mom and Dad came over to enjoy some supper and catching up with us, as well as of course bringing with them young Jessica, who had been staying with them for the last little while (both Chantelle and I are already back at work, in the thick of things!).
Saturday morning/afternoon was dominated by Chantelle’s usual deli delivery in Franschhoek, though this time around Jessica and I thought it might be nice to join her for the trip, the end result being a lovely day out and about in the sun, enjoying good deli food and of course learning all about Sacred Ground, the place which is currently generating most of Chantelle’s income! :)
Back home the three of us went on a plastics buying splurge, and after a successful trip to first Mambos and then Plastics Warehouse, Chantelle was now fully kitted out for storing cakes in the freezer and likewise armed with her new mini-broom, Jess was ready to clean up after her!
As for Saturday evening, while Chantelle baked and Jessie slept, I amused myself by finally getting around to renewing some work on Chantelle’s Cookies and Cakes website.
Sunday marked our first market for the year, with Chantelle and I splitting the manning the stall duty at Hathersage, Chantelle handling the morning session and I taking over the afternoon session. Once again Hathersage proved to be a fantastic family driven, Sunday afternoon outing type of vibe, and a nice added touch was the arrival of the Montgomery clan to come and enjoy the sun, marimba, and of course estate wine under the big shady tree with us. (And in the end, it wasn’t a horrible market in terms of takings for us either).
This year is going to be a lot different from last, in that thanks to the deli Chantelle doesn’t have to do markets any more, meaning that at last I have my weekends back. That said, we’ve both agreed to keep running with the Hathersage market, mainly because it is so geographically close to us, completely skips winter, is only every second Sunday, and carries such a nice family-friendly vibe (and the fact that the extra little income it generates pays for Chantelle’s new assistant, Olga, who started working for Chantelle on Monday, doesn’t hurt either!).
With the successful market done and dusted, I convinced Jessie and Chantelle to join me for a trip down to the beach, which turned out to be loads of fun, with Jessica really taking to the sand and water as per usual.
And that was really that. With Jessica asleep on her last night of freedom, Chantelle and I started the arduous task of tidying up the house somewhat, just so that when new girl Olga started on Monday, she wouldn’t turn around and run away screaming if she saw the state of our house!
Truly. If you are parents to a toddler then your house is never clean, neat or tidy! :)
Chantelle got a cake order in the other day for a “Bumblebee Transformers Cake”, destined to make a lucky little 9 year old boy smile on his birthday.
And this is the yellow and chrome hued mecha that she came up with!
Check out that detail. That’s the reason Chantelle handles all the baking and decorating and I simply man the stall! :)
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Obviously if you’re based in the Overberg or Northern Suburbs and want to lay your hands on some fabulous cake like this one, grab hold of Chantelle over on her own Chantelle’s Cookies & Cakes website!
Chantelle and I manned the Chantelle’s Cookies & Cakes stall for our very first night market, held at the always beautiful Hathersage Farm venue. As it turned out, this last Christmas market was a huge hit, with huge amounts of people swarming in and enjoying the fantastic weather and vibe. The marimba players made sure we never ran out of music, we enjoyed a successful market in terms of takings, and as an unexpected bonus, we were joined by both Chantelle’s parents as well as my parents – not to mention our little Jessie as well!
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So Chantelle has now officially stopped working at Gordon’s Beach Lodge (thanks Whammy and Louise for treating us to a fantastic farewell lunch out at 96 Winery Road on her last day!), and quite frankly has yet to have had a chance to sit down and take it all in. She has a massive amount of orders to take care of at the moment, all of which will probably take her well into January just to wade through. (In fact, it feels a little like jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire at the moment). Of course our triple market weekend this weekend didn’t help her baking schedule in the slightest, and while I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten what colour my kitchen counters are, I’m pretty sure she’s forgotten what her bed looks like!
Anyway, the point I want to make is that we just came off a weekend of three market appearances, meaning that I’ve started off this week needing a weekend to recover from this weekend – something which makes me long for the upcoming year end break even harder now!
Saturday was Willowbridge Slow Food Market as per usual, and unfortunately for us, again a real lack of foot traffic meant a relatively poor day in terms of takings, though it certainly was a slight improvement on the previous weekend, where we had seen our lowest overall takings to date!
(It was quite cute though when on Friday night, after arriving home after a long day behind the keyboard, I was pretty much in by the front gate and then straight back out with Jessie tucked under my arm, heading out first for a hour long beach playing in the sand session, followed by an impromptu shopping and electricity-buying trip, all in the name of getting the rather niggly Jess Jess out from under wifey’s feet in the hope that Chantelle could get a little bit of baking done before the drawn out bed time routine kicked in.)
Anyway, with Chantelle still desperately baking and Cheryl having to look after Jessica because my folks still being on holiday in the Kruger National Park, I tackled Saturday’s market single-handedly, and despite REALLY not wanting to do it come the morning (plus the broken lift in Willowbridge which meant trekking along the underground parking to reach the alternative), the dynamic duo of Mario and Marcel in the pie stand next to us did an excellent job of cheering me up, which means that in the end, despite not having a financially rewarding market like I mentioned before, I did rather enjoy the day.
So that wasn’t too horrible then.
Because of the dual markets pencilled in for Sunday, it had been previously decided that Jessica would sleep over in Bellville with Oupa and Ouma, which then meant that Sunday’s morning packing for market departure was a lot more smoother than Saturday morning’s operation, where we obviously still had our little tantrum thrower under foot.
Despite the heavy rain in the morning, the sun did eventually take over proceedings and from all accounts the Hathersage market in Somerset West was a wonderful experience on the day, with Chantelle even coaxing her parents to make the trip through to come and join her and soak up a little of the Marimba-infused atmosphere with Little Miss Jess.
As for myself, I made the trip through to Century City, where despite the slightly overcast weather, the people arrived in droves for a fun day of train rides, dog shows, live music and of course market goods. I had a particularly good day behind the stall, walking away with the most takings out of the three stalls that we had run over the course of the weekend, meaning that I ended up being pretty chuffed with myself.
Though still dead tired.
Sigh, at least all of Chantelle’s deli and wedding baking this week means I’m getting a weekend free of markets this coming weekend – which is something to celebrate it these days in my opinion! :)
[P.S. Should be fun. Hear that our dear friend Retha has flown in from Spain and will be staying over at us for a couple of days. Needless to say, I don’t think she realise just how much work Chantelle has planned out for her!]
Last weekend was pretty uneventful, but pleasingly I came out of it pretty relaxed, so it couldn’t have been all that bad! :P
As per usual, Friday night was eaten up by Chantelle preparing for the market until the early morning hours, with me supporting her wherever she lets me, as well as squeezing in a touch of blogging and some work on her rather dormant site (finally!).
Being her off weekend, Chantelle and I ran Saturday morning’s Willowbridge market stall, with Cheryl looking after Jessica. Unfortunately with all the Christmas markets and festivals going on in the area, foot traffic was pretty much non-existent at Willowbridge, meaning that the takings for the day was one of our lowest ever. Very disheartening, but not entirely unexpected. Chantelle did have a couple of very promising business meetings to attend to during the day, so at least that brightened the picture just a little.
Wanting to leave ourselves as much of Sunday off as what we possibly could, we opted to not sleep over in Bellville any more (originally Chantelle was meant to be watching a play with her family, but as the lead actress fell sick, these plans got scuppered), and while Chantelle stuck around a bit longer for one of her meetings as well as a quick visit to Andri, I scurried off home and got a head start on the (pretty much always after a Friday night) massive tidying up mission.
Chantelle and Jessica eventually arrived home and after a successful transfer of a sleeping Jessica into her cot, we were quite overjoyed to find that for a change, we could actually have an early night in bed, something we both quite needed!
Sunday was a nice lazy start, with everyone in a good mood and absolutely nothing on the agenda. And while the morning was spent lazing about, we did at least gather some energy to head out to the shops in the afternoon, though not before we first had to take some scenic tours in order to allow for Jessica to grab enough sleep time in the back of the car!
The plastics shop at the mall proved to be an excellent stop once again, with us stocking up on even more containers for use with the markets, though without a doubt the hit of the day was a plastic ball which Jess spotted, and then continued to chase around the shop for the duration of our shop! Stodels was the next big hit for the afternoon, with Jess thoroughly enjoying all the animals in the pets section (she can now say the words “fishies” and “rat”), as well as the jumping castle, various slides and swings!
We finished up with a trip through to our home Pick ‘n Pay, grabbing all our braai necessities before heading home to wait for my folks’ arrival whilst playing outside with Jessica and the new love of her life, her pink plastic ball.
Mom, Dad and Ryan eventually arrived following their day of golf out in Langebaan, and what followed was a fantastic evening of family and braai, with the conversation flowing well into the evening, capping off what had been a rather relaxing and slow-paced weekend for a change!
Last weekend didn’t start off on the greatest of notes, what with the final departure of my development team member Tristan to greener pastures (leaving me to now manage a team of two – and I’m one of those two – split amongst four or so projects), followed by the obligatory market preparation on Friday night, and then a once again more than disappointing Willowbridge Slow Market experience, where we brought in our lowest Chantelle’s Cookies and Cakes sales total at the market to date.
Still, it was pretty cool to see Terrance’s folks Terry and Hester pop in for a visit at the stall, so there was that, and then of course it had been a good week for cake orders for Chantelle, so at least that tempered the disappointing Willowbridge just a little.
However, things were just about to look up, as I proceeded to collect Jessie from my folks after finishing up the market, and then hunkering down with Monty and Rob to catch the big Currie Cup rugby final in the evening, Sharks versus Western Province in Durban.
And what a game it turned out to be!
Going into the game as serious underdogs based solely on the phenomenal season the Sharks had been enjoying, as well as their semi-final wallop of the Bulls, you could forgive our astonishment as Province played full throttle from the get go, holding the sharks back right until the final whistle to take an unforgettable victory, and in the process claim the coveted Currie Cup for the first time in eleven years!
What a game, what a game.
Making the late night trip back to Gordon’s Bay with a sleeping Jessica in the car, I managed to successfully transfer her to her cot before springing in to help Chantelle a bit with her preparations for Sunday’s market, before hitting the sack and trying to catch as much sleep as I could possibly squeeze in.
Sunday morning arrived and I loaded up the car and headed off to Hathersage farm in Somerset West, where I proceeded to set up the stall in the food section of The Market Place, this being the first weekend marking the return of the usually popular Hathersage natural goods market.
Pleasingly the day went well, thanks to the weather playing along and the locals coming out in droves to enjoy the sun and picnic under the big shady tree with their family. The atmosphere was great, and the music added to the whole vibe. Truthfully I was a little sad to be skipping out on the Century City market which I had so enjoyed four weeks ago, but I must say that it was rather pleasant doing a market so close to home for a change!
Chantelle joined me a little later in the afternoon, and at the close of day, we had done pretty well for our first outing at a new market – so definitely the morale booster that we had needed.
Other than that, there wasn’t all that much left in the weekend, as Chantelle returned to work to complete her evening shift, while I headed home to take over from Cheryl and Monty who had looked after Jessica at our place during the afternoon.
So yeah, not a lot of rest and relaxation for me this weekend then.
Though now that I think about it, it probably remains worth mentioning the rather strange pizza that I had tried out on Friday at Tristan’s departure lunch event – a Col’cacchio creation featuring chorizo, egg and peas on a pizza.
It was okay I guess, but certainly doesn’t beat the awesome stuff we churn out here at home ourselves! :)
So remember that big exciting SurveyThumb Project 161 Touchwork project I mentioned here once or twice? While like I have previously noted, the culmination of that work project resulted in a nice little bonus being added to the end of my salary last month, a bonus which both Chantelle and I agreed should be put straight to use on her little soon not to be a side only project, Chantelle’s Cookies & Cakes.
After discussing it for a bit, we decided to put some of the money aside for the purchase of marketing material, and the rest be used on additional appliances for the house, in a move to try and lend Chantelle some assistance in getting things done.
And pleasingly, last Friday saw the delivery of our two newly purchased appliances from Game in Somerset Mall – a Bosch dishwasher and a KIC 346l fridge!
Exciting I know.
Anyway, now all that is left is for Monty to tackle the project of removing some of our limited kitchen cupboard space in return for a nifty hole in which the dishwasher can slot in next to the washing machine.
And oh yes, if there is any of the bonus left after that, then there is still this pretty cool dark stained pine bookshelf Chantelle is pretty keen on adding to the braai room pantry setup…