JUST five months after the launch of her online cake and baking shop, entrepreneur Samantha Whittingham has been shortlisted out of thousands of start-ups for a national award.
In February, Samantha, 25, of Middleleaze, resigned from her job as a senior sales executive at a publishing firm to set up a ‘create your own’ web-based cupcake business Little Miss Cake Maker.
Ever since, orders for her unique designs and fluffy treats have been flooding in and recently piqued the interest of The Pitch competition judges who selected her website as one of just 100 semi-finalist nationwide for its annual awards.
“I couldn’t believe it when I found out I made the top 100,” said Samantha, who recently moved into a new office at Bowman House after winning a competition run by the Adver in partnership with the Royal Wootton Bassett company.
“I entered it thinking I would do my best, that it was a learning curve. I am really excited. Making it to the top 100 is an achievement in itself.
“Little Miss Cake Maker revolves around creating your own cake. The customer can choose every element of the cake or cupcake, the icing and decorating – they can upload photos – the flavour, the size, everything..
“There are no online cake shops like this. You can order customised pizzas or coffee but no-one does it for cakes. It’s easy, fun and interactive.”
A degree in advertising design and a background in sales for craft magazines prompted Samantha to start her own blog. The project grew and eventually evolved into a full-blown business – less than five years after she took her first cake-decorating class.
“I did a sugar-craft course in 2009,” she said. “That was the first time I had ever done cake decorating. Then I started baking for charity events at the office. I’m mostly self-taught.”
Samantha, originally from Bolton, will travel to Manchester on September 18 when she will have just a few hours to prepare a winning business presentation in the hope of being one of just 30 entrepreneurs to make it through to the finals.
She will find out whether she was successful at the end of September.
As well as the Pitch 2014 Champion title, which would see her win mentoring sessions and £1,000 worth of business advice and services among several other prizes, Samantha is in the running for the national digital marketing award, voted for by the public.
“I’m at the boot camp stage. In Manchester they will teach us to do the ultimate pitch and it will be recorded at the end of the day and shown to the judges.
The final will be held on October 23 in Bristol.