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TUNE IN TO HEAR ABOUT
- The 5 key drivers that Lauren attributes her success to
- Why research has been a fundamental tool in establishing Lauren's direction
- Why mindset and taking yourself seriously changed everything for Lauren
- How data-driven decisions have fuelled Lauren's strategy at every turn
- Why you should invest in your brand
Lauren is a busy mum of two young boys, a wife and the main uber-driver in her household. Lauren’s boys share the same birthday week, so she knows how crazy it can be when you throw a party in the mix… Lauren started blue + ruby in 2016. Prior to this she had climbed the corporate ladder for over a decade, always yearning to start her own business. A qualified chef by trade, it’s fair to say she’s a little obsessed with all things food, baking and the hospitality industry. Clients to date include large brands such as Kikki K, French Connection and Ray White Real Estate.
CONNECT WITH LAUREN
Flori Pyke [00:01:25] Hello and welcome to Episode 72. So, today, I'm gonna be taking you through a bit of a case study and specifically, we're going to be connecting with Lauren Oliver from Blue and Ruby Cake Art, who joined us in our Academy program two years ago. Now, whether you're a current student of ours or not, I know that this episode is going to get you seriously excited about what's possible for you when you're in our Academy program because holy moly, Lauren, you've certainly been one to watch. Now, just before we get into it and hand over the reins to you to learn a bit more about you, Lauren, I just wanted to quickly read out a recent review that we received about the podcast from Alison W., who says, I love listening to this podcast. It helps to fire up my brain with ideas and self-belief. So many tips to help me reach my goals and objectives in business and life. Thank you. Alison, huge thank you for your kind and beautiful words. It seriously brings us all the joy in knowing that you're able to glean so much insight from our podcast. So, a huge thank you to you. OK. Now, time to get into today's episode. So, Lauren, it is awesome to have you aboard today. How are you?
Lauren Oliver [00:02:44] Hi, Flori. I'm awesome, too. Thank you so much for having me today.
Flori Pyke [00:02:48] Yeah, so much fun. I feel like, well, you and I got to connect, wasn't too long ago now where we had a bit of a chat and you took me through a little bit around what's been going on for you behind the scenes and holy moly, all the wins. So, I thought let's get you on so we can talk a bit about this. But before we do, can you tell us a little bit more about what you do at Blue and Ruby Cake Art?
Lauren Oliver [00:03:12] Yeah. Sure. So, at Blue and Ruby Cake Art, we're based in Melbourne and we specialise in contemporary cakes and sweet things. So, we love to make it easy for our clients and being like a one-stop shop where you can come and get a cake and lots of sweet goodies for a dessert table or a dessert buffet. And, we've been baking for the last three years. So, I absolutely love it. Love it.
Flori Pyke [00:03:37] Well, I can personally attest to the fact that Lauren's sweets particularly, I think I had the sugar cookies if I'm not mistaken, yes, are absolutely incredible. So, yeah, for anyone listening, if you're Melbourne-based or otherwise because you do... [Lauren says "I do post cookies."] Yeah, you do post cookies, don't you? They're not only beautiful, but they're absolutely delicious. And you're quite skilled I have to say. When I saw oh, my God. [Lauren says "Thank you"] but the detail. Seriously.
Lauren Oliver [00:04:07] Thank you. Well, we really pride ourselves on quality ingredients. We bake everything from scratch. We really pride ourselves on the fact that we put in the time and effort so that the product and our cakes and cookies and whatnot are not only look amazing, but they taste absolutely delicious. And I've got such lovely customers and many of them write back to me saying how delicious and, you know, things weren't too sweet. And yeah, and that's what we're here for. You know, I always say that you shouldn't eat bad calories. [Flori laughs] So, we're very conscious of the fact that what we make is really a sometimes food. I say that in inverted commas.So, we don't want that sometimes food to be a horrible dry cake. [Flori agrees] And that's, you know, one of our brand values is that real high end, you know, look and feel. So, yeah, that's what we're here to do.
Flori Pyke [00:05:01] Love it. So, if you're going to have the calories, you want to make them count basically, right? [Lauren agrees] Well, they certainly did count. [both laughs] All right. I love it. So, look, I thought we'd get you on the podcast today and just talk a little bit more about your journey specifically in the Academy program. Now, a few things. Obviously, we've been chatting a bit about, you know, some of the wins that you've had to date. And I thought, let's start by you taking us through just a few of the incredible brands that you have created sweet things for. Because I think that in itself is quite a huge testament to the success that you've had.
Flori Pyke [00:07:03] I love it. I mean, those are some huge wins to have on the board in a relatively short space of time, given you only launched three years ago and you do this in and around your kids and your family, right?
Lauren Oliver [00:07:16] Yes, absolutely. So, I have two young kids. They're both school age. And I do all this around them whereby I almost limit myself to only take on work that's going to fit around them because I am the school Uber driver, on school holidays I have them with me. I have an incredibly supportive hubby who works full time, but he travels a lot. So, I need to be really at home base and be there to support his career as well. But this business fits in perfectly with the way that we have structured our life.
Flori Pyke [00:07:49] Yeah. No, I think it's so important to caveat what you've been able to achieve really around your family because yeah, you know, effectively, when you're doing... Yeah. When you are the Uber driver, as you said, because I can highly relate to that feeling. You've got limited hours, right? And school. It feels like it goes, you know, in a heartbeat like you dropped off and then the next thing you know, you're picking up. It's like five minutes. I swear to God.
Lauren Oliver [00:08:17] Yeah. It is. It is. And I have two schoolboys now. So, it's just one drop off, which is really easy. And I do have more time in my week where I can focus on the business more. But before you know it, it's three o'clock and I’m back out the door, with stuff all over the bench, you know, cakes ready to go in the oven. So, it's just a different juggle, I guess, with the time that I have available.
Flori Pyke [00:08:38] Yeah, absolutely. Now, let's take a moment here to rewind two years ago to when you originally came on the program and I'd love to ask you, you know, at that time, rewind two years ago, what was it that made you come aboard the program? Like did you hit a certain roadblock or a challenge in your business that made you realise you needed help or where were you at? Can you take us through that?
Lauren Oliver [00:09:04] Yeah, sure. So, I remember very clearly joining actually two years ago and I was introduced to you through another female business-orientated group, I guess, who at the time you were, I guess, affiliated with. And, I joined your goal setting challenge on Facebook. And, I remember very clearly doing that. And at the time, I think the feeling for me was that I was just over a year into my business. It was a very slow start. So, it was me sitting at the local cafe going I wish the phone would ring. I wish emails would come through. I was floating away in the background. So, it gave me a lot of time, I guess, to do some planning, which was great. But I was at that point where it was quiet and I had... So, to go back even further than that, I had just come out of a 13-year corporate career. I studied HR at uni and the HR manager for a big global organisation when I decided to resign and start the business. So, I guess I'd come from a very structured, organised environment to me doing being my own boss, doing my own thing, which is what I always wanted to do. But when you're in it doing it day in, day out thinking when's the phone going to ring, you can get a little bit lost. And I feel like at that time I was a little bit lost. So, the goal setting challenge really focused my attention on what I really wanted to do, which was great. And that was my taster into you girls, into you and Anna. And, I guess at the time, I just loved what I heard because you really spoke to me. You know, if there is anyone who is your target market, it was me. You know, I've come out of corporate and I never wanted to go back. And I remember you specifically saying that's who you were targeting... At the time, I remember Anna's hubby was doing FIFO and at the time my hubby was a corporate FIFO. So, I related one hundred percent there and I could just see all the things that I should be doing and needed to be doing. You girls offered it in such a digestible great way. So, I was really hungry for structure. I was hungry for connection because at the time I was looking around for networking groups, business groups, you know, where did I fit. And, I really fit in your community. And, that's kind of what got me across the line, really. And, I made the decision without telling my hubby. I just listened to my gut. He wasn't a hundred percent happy with it, but that got us talking then about how, between him and I, how we're going to work this business into our lives. At what role he wants to play, I guess. So, it was a real turning point in many ways.
Flori Pyke [00:11:38] I love that you say that. That you just went for it and didn't necessarily consult hubby. And I'm not saying, you know, it's a good thing or a bad thing to consult them or not. That's not what I'm saying. But what I love from what you did was that it showed, it was like evidence. It was like an action that showed him I'm sure, you know, I'm backing myself and this is happening. [Lauren agrees] Right? And then, he started probably to really take you a lot more seriously as well. [Lauren agrees] Because, you know, you get what you project fundamentally. And, if you're prepared to back yourself and own something, those around you, including hubby, loved ones, are going to see that. And by you taking that jump, I'm sure that you really upped the ante and his, you know, his eyes wide into the fact that right, Lauren's going for this, if I'm not mistaken.
Lauren Oliver [00:12:35] Yeah. Absolutely. And there's been many... Yeah. There are many times in my business, and especially at the start where perhaps I wasn't taking it seriously enough because it was quiet and we're fitting it around the kids and things like that. But yeah, it was really. And I don't do it very often. I don't back myself a hundred percent very often. So, it was me standing up to say, I have thought about this. I need to do this right now. It's going to be a good thing for me. And I'm gonna invest a hundred percent because of the financial investment and the time commitment. But I'm not going to waste this opportunity.
Flori Pyke [00:13:10] Yeah. No, I love it. And so, take us through... You jumped on two years ago into the program. And, how do you feel that the program has been able to help you to achieve results and to progress your business forward?
Lauren Oliver [00:13:25] Yes. So, I think it's really taking that step by step approach through the foundation modules, which I have worked through and really deep-diving into things that I probably wouldn't have A) even thought about or B) actually deep dived into. So, for example, one of the first modules being the Research Module. That's probably one of the very first things I did as a result of learning through you girls was that I ran a number of surveys in my target market and one in particular, I surveyed brides and grooms just to get some information from them about their wedding. So, you know, where are they finding inspiration for their wedding? What platforms do they use? Where are they finding their wedding vendors? What's the theme of their wedding? When is their wedding? So, trying to find out how far in advance they plan these things. What pain points do they have? What's it like planning a wedding? You know, tell me about your feelings. From that, I got such valuable information because I was going to go down the path of advertising on a certain platform. These survey results told me a different story. So, it got me thinking OK maybe I shouldn't focus there. I actually need to focus my attention over here, because that's where brides are looking. The words and the feelings that these bridal couples told me now forms part of the wording that I use in my e-mails, the wording that I use on my website. So, the copy. And, I think that in itself was such a valuable task to do. It didn't take a whole lot of time. But makingwhat I call data-driven decisions, not just finger in the air, hope it’s right.So, it’s that structure with the thought behind it. I think that's one of the things that stands out to me as being something that I've learned from you girls that has changed the way I operate.
Flori Pyke [00:15:18] No, I love it. And I think, you know, when we talk about research, my experience in communicating the importance of research since we commenced on the journey, you know, to prospects has been that I do get the impression that people are now more aware of the fact that research is so important and that they need to do it. However, they don't know the how. And, it is, you know, it doesn't take a huge amount of time, but you do need to know, you know, how to create a survey and how many questions and what kind of questions to ask and where to distribute the survey, because it's not always that easy to know, you know, who to ask those questions to or where to find them. And, I think that it is you know, it can be more complex, like it doesn't take a huge amount of time, but there's a process and if you don't follow the process, that's where I think a lot of people start making those finger in the air decisions because it's a bit complex and they don't know how to do this, right? And so, you know, they just end up kind of listening to their friends or family or listening to a few people in a Facebook group or their target audiences, which is great. I'm not saying it's not, but you want more than that. You need more answers and you need more data. [Lauren agrees] And, it's when you can get your hand on those collective insights, those personal answers, those high involvement answers, you know, where people are really taking the time to describe their pain points and their emotions. And you know, what makes them excited? That's the stuff that's really gonna, you know, change things for you. And, that's going to enable you to create compelling copy. Like you said on your e-mail or on your website, across all your touchpoints, right? [Lauren agrees] Yeah. And let alone, you know, understanding, being able to better understand who you're targeting as well as making sure that you've got a viable business. There's so many different elements and layers of research that you need to conduct right at the beginning to ensure that, you know, you've got your who, what, where, when, how, why all answered correctly before you really dive in, right?
Lauren Oliver [00:17:30] Absolutely. Absolutely. And I mean, even now, I’m in year three and I'm starting to plan my next range of surveys. So, I will do a similar survey to bridal couples, but I'm going to change, from what I learned from the first survey, I'll change it up a little bit. But I now want to know, you know, two years down the track how bridal couples are feeling because perhaps it's not the same as when I conducted the survey two years ago. So, I need to bring my copy and my data up to date.
Flori Pyke [00:17:57] And, I love that. I mean, as Anna and I are always shouting from the rooftops. Research is not a one-time thing, you know, where you go and you do it and you put it on the top shelf and Bob's your uncle. It's something that you constantly have to do because your marketplace evolves, your target market evolves, like things change in business. And you need to, you know, be two steps ahead always to understand, you know, how you're going to adapt accordingly. OK. I love it. Now, we talked about some of the, you know, huge brands that you have created some beautiful cakes and cookies and sweet things for which are huge achievements in themselves. But, what other kinds of results have you achieved since coming aboard the journey?
Lauren Oliver [00:18:43] Yeah, sure. So, I'm definitely a numbers person. And that probably comes from the fact that my hubby is a qualified accountant. So, he's always on my back about the numbers. But I have been able to achieve positive revenue and profit growth over the last three years and projected year-to-date, I'm already exceeding my budget and profit budget. And for this financial year, the target is slightly more than last year. We had a great year last year. And for me, my business is very high touch. It's very hands-on. So, in the capacity that I have right now, it's only going to a certain point where it will be capped.And I'll be very content with that because it's enough work for it to keep me happy. And for our family, it's enough of a financial buffer for us. So, it's not a business that's going to be, you know, a seven-figure business. That's not what I'm in business for. But I have seen positive growth year on year, which is what I'm here for. And again, I really focus on the numbers all the time. He's on my back. So, it's brilliant that I've got him because he helps me think about things from a financial point of view, but perhaps I'm more of an emotional thinker. Always bringing it back to the number and the return on investment, which Flori, I know you harp on about. But you have to. You have to make decisions with the thought in mind of how much money am I going to get back from this? And when am I going to get it back?
Flori Pyke [00:20:09] Yeah. No, I really agree.
Lauren Oliver [00:20:13] Yeah. I've had a great group of repeat clients. So, I guess for me, I really want to be a family's forever cake lady. And that's a termthat Flori and I, we've been throwing about, haven't we? [Flori agrees] But, I'm in such a unique position where I can start off with a family hopefully at the engagement party and create their engagement cake which then turns into a wedding cake order, which then, if life progresses in a typical fashion, will turn into a baby shower cake, a baptism or christening cake, first birthday and off you go. So, that's my goal. I have some beautiful clients whereby I am their cake lady and I've got one particular client where the mum DMs me all the time on Instagram. So, I've created her daughter's wedding cake. I've created her granddaughter's birthday cake. I recently created a replica. So, it was the daughter's one-year wedding anniversary and their mum organised a replica of the wedding cake for their one-year anniversary to surprise them. [Flori says "That's so nice"] They're a beautiful family. And even she says to me, oh, you know, I feel like you're a part of our family. So, I'm in such a lovely position and I have a number of repeat clients who always come back to me for their celebrations, which just warms my heart. And on that note, I'm taking bookings into 2021. [Flori says "Holy moly, 2021!"] Yes. Yeah. So, next year, with wedding season, you know, that it tells me that brides want to be super or need to be really organised. That's really good insight. But yeah, I've got a wedding booking for 2021.
Flori Pyke [00:21:49] That's incredible. Now, Lauren, I'm just gonna jump in here because one thing that I wanted to expand on when you talked about being, you know, a family's forever cake lady, which you and I have talked about at great lengths, I think it's so important to highlight to our listeners just the importance of tapping into that customer lifetime journey, right? And that's exactly what you're doing. And I'm just going to add some layers of insights here, because, to constantly have to acquire a new customer is not only time consuming, but it's also expensive. OK. And, it's hard. It's getting more and more difficult because every marketplace is becoming increasingly more congested. That's just the nature of the game, right? So, when you can start to get smart really with your marketing and understand how you can service your clients for their lifetime, you're going to save yourself a lot of time, energy and money, fundamentally. And it also enables you to create those long-lasting relationships just like you described. I love that example that you took us through where, that lady said, Lauren, I feel like you're part of our family. I'm like, wow, what a compliment. I mean, she's you know, in marketing, we have something we called like the ladder of loyalty. And, she is like gone beyond ambassador, which is like top notch loyalty. Like she is like, to say that to someone is such a huge compliment. And I think it really speaks to what you've been able to achieve. And also, you know, you've been strategic. You've been able to create solutions and beautiful cakes and cookies for this family over time. And I think when you can start to focus on exactly how you can service and help your clients on an ongoing basis, as opposed to being on the constant hamster wheel of recruiting new people all the time, it's like magic happens because it's easier, but it's also really satisfying. And like how fulfilling is that to hear a compliment like that, right?
Lauren Oliver [00:23:51] Yes. It is so fulfilling. And just to, you know, I get to follow their life journey as well. And when I look back, you know, and even some of the cakes I've made for little kids and then the next minute they're turning eight to nine. And, you know, it's just so lovely to have that connection with people who really value your product. So, yeah, I'm really lucky to be a touchpoint in those really special occasions in life. And that's what, you know, I'm in the business of happy really. Yes. It's a great thing to be a part of.
Flori Pyke [00:24:24] No, I totally agree. OK. So, my next question for you is, if you had to kind of pinpoint, you know, one or two key things that have really attributed to your success, and we've touched on a few elements that have helped you along the journey. What would those one or two things be?
Lauren Oliver [00:24:42] Yeah. I had a think about this this morning, actually. I've got four things written down. It's very hard to pinpoint. And, one of those things we have touched on, which is making data-driven decisions. I think it's really important both looking at your financial numbers and your customer, your CRM, if you have one, which is a very valuable thing to have. But I think being true to my style and my unique selling point is probably one of the things that have helped me grow. And a big part of that is consistency. So, I have an Instagram page where I channel a lot of my energy into because I find that my target market is on Instagram and that's where many of my leads do convert to sales. But, being really consistent on Instagram in terms of the look and feel. I actually don't post all of my cake pictures on Instagram. I'm very selective of what I post and what I put out there because I do have a particular style. If you have a look on my Instagram page, blueandrubycakeart. It's very simplistic. It's very minimalist, very clean, very sharp. And so, I really want to attract customers that want that style. So, having said that, I have fairly recently invested quite a lot of time and money into achieving that consistency on a better level than what I was doing. So, photography is really important and I've invested money in getting a photographer to help me set up my studio here because I'm taking photos every single week. I can't afford to have a professional photographer come to my house every week. I have to do it. So, I've invested in photography equipment. I've invested in editing software, and I really have self-taught, try to upskill in that regard because it's so important. If people can't taste my cake, they really buy using their eyes. So, being true to my style, I think, has attributed to my success. I also think and I have touched on this as well, but knowing my target market is incredibly important as well. And, I'm lucky in a way because I get to meet many of my clients when they come and pick up a cake or I deliver a cake to their home. I get to see how they live. I get to see what car they drive. I get to see how they speak. So, I take all of that. I've always got my ears and my eyes are open to all of that because it's such valuable information. So, I think being aware, being aware of the unique position I have and taking that in and then using that information to help me with my product offering, my social media, my brand. It's also, you know, really helped me grow. And I do, I have such lovely customers. And, it's funny because when I deliver cakes to people's houses, they’re generally the same, the same sorts of home, same sorts of furniture. The more I look at people’s homes, the more I think, you know what, I’m right on the money with all the people I am attracting because they're all the same. [both laugh]
Flori Pyke [00:27:50] But that makes your life so much easier, right? You got your customer avatar, that ideal customer so down pat. And, I love that you're saying, you know, that you're capitalising basically like you get to do market research on your customer avatar every time you drop off a cake. [Lauren says "On the job."] Yeah. Like I mean, how powerful is it to go exactly into someone's home and soak up all this information? And exactly like you said, it enables you to really make strategic decisions about your branding, your touchpoints, your copywriting, because you know how they speak, you know everything. [Lauren agrees] And I think, too, when you can have those offline connections, and I think it's really important to emphasise this because more and more, everything is becoming online. And I mean, take the example of teenagers at the moment. I mean, I don't even know if half of them can get on a phone call, right? But when you can really forge those offline connections, how powerful those are, because it doesn't happen every day anymore, right? [Lauren says "No, it doesn't."] So, I think it's really quite smart to be able to really leverage those opportunities as it's basically market research, right? To really educate yourself about that avatar and how you can use that for the business to further propel the business. [Lauren agrees] OK. I love it. So, data-driven decisions. Number one, big learning. The other one was, you know, being consistent across your touchpoints and being true to your style. Number three was knowing your target market really intimately. And what about the fourth thing? I know you had big four takeaways.
Lauren Oliver [00:29:25] I did. Yes. So, I think it's really identifying and articulating your brand values. So, up until this year, so, in my second year of business, I DIY-ed everything, basically. And this year, I, again backed myself and had a branding review and a branding refresh with a graphic designer. So, I let go of the reins, a little bit, which was a really good process to go through. And, she helped me really articulate my brand values. So, I kind of had an idea of what I stood for, you know, what I'm here to do. But, she really honed in on wording and feelings and emotions about my brand and helped me articulate my brand values which could come down to what my brand values, customer service and personalisation, is very important in my industry and in my business being enthusiastic and happy because I am part of people's really happy occasions. So, I need to mirror that and confidence. So, I want to portray confidence in myself and in the offering that I have. But I also want my clients to be confident that they're going to get what they want, because whilst I get to meet many of my clients, I also don't get to meet all of my clients. And, bridal couples are a perfect example of that. So, I do offer consultation. So, I do have some clients come and meet me in my home and have a look at some cakes. But people are time poor and you know, they have the ability to organise their wedding all online and they do. And, I totally get that. So, I can have a bridal couple where it's e-mails and then I deliver the cake and you know and that's it. I don't get to meet them. So, for them, I want them to be confident that they're going to get the wedding cake that they dream of and be that they've paid money for. And that's you know, it's been so helpful for me to really drill down to those brand values because they drive so many decisions. And, it was a really useful exercise outsourcing that to someone who is not part of my industry. I'm so deep in what I do all the time. You can't see outside often. So, yeah, really good exercise to outsource the branding. And, I'm so happy with my branding refresh.
Flori Pyke [00:31:40] Yeah, it's interesting. I mean you have said the word brand and branding the words I should say quite a few times over the course of this episode. And, for me, it really brings to the forefront just how important it is to really nail this. And, I recently recorded an episode about the importance of branding with someone in our community, actually, Becky Hughes. And, I couldn't agree more with you. You know, your brand, it really communicates what you stand for, but it's also an opportunity to stand out to be different. And yeah, it really is the backbone basically of, you know, the visual of your business. It's emotive. There's so many different elements to it that you need to consider. And, I also really agree with the statement that sometimes you can't see the forest from the trees when you're knee deep in this. And, to get your branding right, you often, it's a worthwhile exercise once you're a bit further along in the business. And, I know we do this a lot with our mastermind clients to have a brand refresh facilitated, you know, by someone outside of your business, a professional graphic designer, so that you can really get this right. Now, I'm going to add a fifth one to your little list of four key things that you attribute to your success, too. Because I feel like for you and you said this at the beginning where you talked about what happened when you started to take yourself seriously. And the feedback that you received from your husband and how that changed things for you along the journey. And so for me, I'm going to add to your list and I'm going to say mindset, because that [Lauren agrees] sounded to me like it was a huge turning point. You know, rewind two years ago when you decided to take the plunge, invest in yourself and really go for this if I'm not mistaken.
Lauren Oliver [00:33:29] Yeah. Absolutely. And when I think back to when I joined you girls, what I thought I wanted, which at the time was more of the marketing side. I was attracted to that. When I actually dug a little deeper, the mindset stuff that you girls offer has changed the way I think about business, the way I think about life so much that really I feel like the value from the mindset point of view has been more. And I've had a few chats with Anna and you know, both in the coaching forum and one on one and even just on little topics that might be bugging me where, you know, she's really helped me understand things that I would never have understood before, which has helped me in so many ways. So, and I even, you know, now I'm three years down the track in terms of my business. And, I really reflect and think, yeah, it is the mindset side again that has really attributed to the success of the business. [Flori agrees] You know, coming really at the very start, and indeed is the first thing that you teach us is knowing your "why." And I often come back to that now even, you know, three years down the track of how important it is to know your "why" because again, it helps you make really good decisions.
Flori Pyke [00:34:43] Yeah. I totally agree. All right. Good. I'm glad we're in the clear there. I know it's jumping the gun, being a bit presumptivebut I was like, you know, I just, I do feel that that's pretty powerful with the language that you used right at the outset of this podcast where you said, you know, I just went for it and I decided to back myself and I told my husband later. Like, that's a big jump and a big deal. And that for me, you know, that's a huge turning point, right? And that comes down to your mindset and really believing in yourself and backing yourself. And from there, gosh, look at what you've achieved. [Lauren agrees] So on that note, speaking of what you have achieved, I'd love to for you to share with us a little bit around, you know, what's next for you and how you're feeling about the future?
Lauren Oliver [00:35:27] Yeah, sure. Oh, there's so much happening at the moment at Blue and Ruby. [Flori laughs] So much. So, the big, big thing and again, this decision that my husband and I have made is huge and it has come down actually, speaking of mindset, it has come down to mindset a lot is that we are actually building a mini commercial kitchen in our garage. [Flori says "Wow."] Yes. So, at the moment, I operate my business out of my kitchen, my home kitchen, which is in right smack bang in the middle of the house and it's open plan. So, if you can imagine a bench, I've every benchtop covered in cake stuff all the time. And then, you know, trying to cook lunch, trying to cook dinner. It's crazy. And, I literally have cake stuff in every room of my house, bar my bedroom. I think the bedroom is free.But, you know, the business has grown so much that it has overtaken the home, which on many levels is not sustainable for our family, our growing family. So, we made the huge decision to convert our single car garage into a commercial kitchen, a little bit of a crazy, harebrained idea at the time that I think my family just thought, you are nuts. But we, you know, we thought this really has to happen for the sanity of our family, mainly, for the sanity of our family and then for the growth of the business. We need to do something. [Flori agrees] So, we’re mid renovation at the moment. And, it has taken so many mindset shifts to get to the point of where we're at now in terms of the financial importance of this renovation. Again, taking the business seriously enough takes such a massive punt on doing this, converting a garage, you know, and just the planning that it's taken in terms of, you know, building permits, dealing with the council, dealing with the water authority and actually setting up a commercial kitchen. It's something I've never done before. Huge learning. [Flori says "That's so exciting, Lauren."] So exciting. It's really exciting. We're doing it properly, you know. So, I'm by nature, I’m a bit of a tight arse. You know, we have to get this right. So, yeah, we're doing it all properly. You know, it has to meet so many regulations. It's just going to be the best thing for me and my family and for the business.
Flori Pyke [00:37:42] What a huge achievement to be honest. I mean, wow. Like that's a massive feat.
Lauren Oliver [00:37:51] It is. It is. So, we're hoping to have it finished in the next, well, hopefully by Christmas. I will keep everyone posted on. [Flori says "I want to see some pictures."] I put some pictures up last week. So, I will keep the progress shots coming. [Flori says "Love it."] So that's a big goal. That's my big goal for this year is to get the kitchen finished. Now, the big goal I have for the coming year is automation. And, you and I have spoken about this. [Flori says "We have."] Yeah. To date, I just haven't had the capacity or I haven't been in a position to be perhaps ready to look at automating the business because I've just been such head down, bum up, just doing the work. Now, I need to look at doing the work smarter, not harder. Yeah. So, I've invested in a CRM, which I'm going to set up to automate a number of my workflows and the onboarding process of my clients. And, that will really help me stand out within my industry and within the events industry as well because I'm very aware that not many vendors do that.
Flori Pyke [00:38:54] Yeah. And also, just imagine what can happen once we start... You and I have spoken about this. But just to add some shed some light on how empowering this can be. You know, imagine when we start tagging, you know, Sally, who has the engagement party and then we tag her when she gets married and then we know when her one-year anniversary is and we can send her a reminder about that. And then she has a baby. Like how you can follow her journey and get very strategic about reminders and whatnot based on different events that she's had throughout, you know, her time as a customer with you. [Lauren agrees] And when you can start to automate some of that, where this is just ticking in the background, reminding Sally, you know. Oh, your one-year anniversary is coming up, did you want us to... Yeah. Gets exciting.
Lauren Oliver [00:39:45] It's so exciting to be able to leverage those key dates, I guess, that I have access to. But many businesses out there have access to key dates. And yeah a lot of us get, you know, emails on her birthday and things like that. But I feel like I can take it to the next level and be very conscious of automating whilst maintaining my business value of personalised service. So, it's that fine line. But again, with the growth of my business, I can't be personally emailing every single person and remembering dates and setting reminders. I need that to all happen, like you said, in the background. So, I'm really excited to get that set up. Because I think it's an opportunity that I've had. I just haven't had capacity or, you know, haven't been perhaps mature enough in my business to get there. And now I'm there. So...
Flori Pyke [00:40:36] It's so exciting. Well, there has been a bit happening to be fair. [Lauren says “Yes. It's been a lot of baking."] There's been a lot of baking in more ways than one, you know, making some money, baking some cakes, baking a new kitchen. Like it's all been happening for you. So, we'll let you off the hook on that one. But I am very excited to hear how you go with setting those up because I know that they will really move the dial for you in terms of, yeah, having to work less to get customers coming back again. It'll all work for you in the background. And I also believe that, you know, yeah, sometimes we receive a birthday email, but to receive and we can make it really personalised, a personalised email with my name saying, Hey, Flori, you know, it's your one-year anniversary coming up in 30 days. And I'm so excited thinking, you know, eleven months ago, I got to be part of your special wedding day. And you know, you're coming up to your first anniversary. What are you going to do? Can I help you in some way? Like, there's so many ways to really make this messaging authentic and in a way that it really aligns with your brand. So, here I am putting my marketing hat, getting so excited. Anyway. [laughs]
Lauren Oliver [00:41:54] I'll be coming to you for help. So, you'll be all part of this.
Flori Pyke [00:41:58] No, I'm stoked. All right, Lauren. Well, thank you so much. It's been a lot of fun connecting with you. And in terms of where people can find out more about Blue and Ruby Cake Art, can you please give us your link?
Lauren Oliver [00:42:12] Yes, absolutely. So, as I mentioned on Instagram at blueandrubycakeart. I post on there many times a week. You'll see all of my sweet creations there. My website, www blueandrubycakeart dot com dot au and I'm on Facebook as well.
Flori Pyke [00:42:30] Love it. OK. Now, to our listeners, to get your hands on the show notes and to learn more about Lauren, please head to theelevatoy.com/podcast. Lauren, parting thought for today?
Lauren Oliver [00:42:42] Yes, I am an avid podcast listener of yours. [Flori laughs] I think I have listened to every single one. And then there's a number of them I've listened to more than once. So, I'm a big fan. I knew this question is coming. But you actually mentioned it earlier. And for me, and I say this to many, many people, and I have to remind myself actually very regularly is that you get what you project. You know, what I say is that you get what you focus on. So, and it is so true to the point where a couple of weeks ago, you know, I was having a bit of a glum week. I don't know what was happening, but, you know, all I could say were negatives everywhere. But I caught myself saying thinking you're seeing all the negatives because you're seeing all the negatives kind of thing. But I try and make it work for me on the flip side, so, you know, that you're only going to see what you focus on. And, if you keep saying and if you keep reminding yourself of what you want to see, you will see it.
Flori Pyke [00:43:37] Yeah, I love it. I think that's really great advice. And, it's so true. And there's been so many examples that we've alluded to throughout today's episode that really bring that parting thought to life I believe. So, thank you so much, Lauren. It's been a pleasure. And, to our listeners, if you love the podcast, please make sure to leave us a review. And, that's a wrap. So, ladies, as always, remember to elevate your business game.
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