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Shout Out Telford Q & A: Crystal’s Cupcakes

Shout Out Telford Q & A: Crystal’s Cupcakes

2017-06-15 
| by Editor | Posted in Telford Business, Telford Food & Drink

We love a feel-good story and also love to collaborate with fantastic bloggers from Telford. Emma from Shout Out Telford is one such blogger and she recently visited Crystal Owen from Crystal’s Cupcakes in Dawley to find out where it all began. Huge thanks to Emma for sending this to us to publish.  

Enjoy Crystal’s story. 

I went to a hen party a few years back, and the bride’s sister in law (from Shrewsbury) bought cupcakes for us all — I took a bite into mine and was completely confused… “Where in Shrewsbury did she buy these cakes from?” I thought to myself… “These taste just like Crystal’s Cupcakes”. Turns out they were! Her local cake maker was away and after hearing rave reviews she decided to try out Crystal’s — We didn’t regret it obviously! And so it was from that moment I thought to myself that Crystal is definitely onto a real winner here… I honestly felt I could compare it to biting into a chocolate bar and knowing exactly what brand it was. I’d know a Crystal’s Cupcake anywhere and I’m yet to find one that tastes better… Believe me I’ve eaten a lot of cake! ;-)

So, who is the hair net and apron wearing single Mom who wakes up at the crack of dawn to bring us so many delicious treats every week? What was the motivation behind the business and the brand? I recently caught up with Crystal to get the lowdown…

 

Where did it all begin?

When my children were young I was home quite a lot so I spent a lot of time baking. Because I enjoyed myself, it quite quickly turned into a baking bug and I began to experiment more, mainly because I could never find a decent sponge recipe that I was happy with. Finally I developed a recipe that worked — My recipe is the secret to the moist sponge in a Crystal’s cupcake and nobody knows the recipe but me! So from then on friends started to ask me to make cakes for them, which then led to making and selling themed cakes and cupcakes from home.

The more orders that came in the more I struggled with juggling all of my jobs and before I knew it I had decided to take the plunge and give it a go because I didn’t want to look back and think why didn’t I do that?!

What did you do prior to your career in baking and what inspired you to change?

I was working as a part time youth worker, supporting teenage parent groups and various other roles within the local council. Some nights I wouldn’t finish work until 9pm and I’d rush home and bake into the early hours so I had cupcakes to sell the next day. I also worked at the local college teaching cookery classes to teenagers. Funnily enough it was my old college tutor who was still working there at the time that prompted me to make the change — He said, “Be careful… Those who can do, and those that can’t teach!” He had a point — I had a passion and yet felt like a bit of a hypocrite pushing students to reach their goals when I wasn’t quite doing that myself. So not long after I finally set up ‘Crystal’s Cupcakes’.

What do you love most about working in Telford?

I love being in the heart of Telford on Dawley High street. Everyone looks out for one another and is always there to offer a helping hand when you need it. We have a lot of loyal Telford customers, many of which have supported me since the days of baking in my kitchen at home and that’s what’s important for me. I have considered a move to Shrewsbury but I feel a genuine loyalty to the Telford community and am really grateful for their support.

What is your proudest career moment to date?

For me it’s definitely got to be the launch of the shop. When I outgrew my home kitchen I set up in a unit in a local industrial estate. My customers travelled from the other side of Telford to buy my cakes which was great but there wasn’t much room for them to sit and enjoy them and the kitchen wasn’t big enough so within less than a year I needed to expand. I had a lot of ideas of how to expand the business including offering an ‘eat in’ menu that included milkshakes and waffles and I wanted the shop to have an American diner type feel. To have achieved this is a really big deal for me.

I came across one Facebook review recently — The customer had described exactly how I wanted the shop to feel to my customers and that made me feel really proud. Every Saturday we have people come as far as Bridgnorth, Shrewsbury, Wolverhampton and Birmingham for my cakes, so that’s a pretty big compliment for me too.

What are the biggest challenges of running a local business?

Its hard getting people to understand that we are not a large chain company; there is ultimately one person with a family and a life behind the business supported by a very small team of employees. We are trying to compete in a world where almost everything is ready made and readily available at the click of a button and its hard for small businesses to keep up with that. Everything I make is made from scratch and most days I am up and baking from around 4/5am to ensure we fulfil the demand for each day. Keeping up with enquiries and managing the social media for the shop can also be time demanding.

What do you see in the Future for Crystal’s Cupcakes?

I’ve been considering ways to expand the business without having to open another shop as managing two would come with a lot more challenges! I have recently introduced a trial delivery service and would like to begin supplying other cafes and coffee shops with my cakes which means I would need bigger baking premises too. I’m keen to move Crystal’s Cupcakes forward in a way where the business can continue to be successful, but so I can also have more of a work-life balance and spend time with my two young children.

Well I for one wish Crystal all the best with her future business endeavours — I will be returning very soon to sample the freak shakes and waffles — they look awesome!

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Shout Out Telford: A local girl helping to give a shout out to Telford's great community, local businesses, leisure activities, events and more! Follow Emma from Shout Out Telford on TwitterFacebook and Instagram 

Crystals Cupcakes: Handcrafted cakes made with Crystal’s own unique recipe. A delicious selection of tray bakes, freshly made Belgium waffles, luxury milkshakes, freshly ground coffees and more, is also available from Crystal’s shop in Dawley High Street. Follow Crystal’s Cupcakes on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Pictured: Crystal Owen from Crystal’s Cupcakes

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