Career Focus - Creative and Crafty


Cake Decorator - Victoria Forward

Based in the Portsmouth area, Victoria runs her own business making celebration cakes - Let Them Eat Cake. The business specialises in making personalised cakes for all occasions including weddings, Christenings, anniversaries and birthdays! Novelty cakes for all ages, and formal cakes for special days. Gluten free cakes also available. You can contact Victoria on

The Interview

Name - Victoria Forward

Location - Waterlooville, Hampshire

Family - Married to Jason, Daughter; Alexandra (6), Son; Jonathan (3)

What inspired you to become a cake decorator?

It was a hobby I had for years; this was intensified when I had children and someone to make cakes for!

What is your background (previous career area?)

I started life as a Research Pharmacologist, and then moved into Business Development, selling large scale robotic research systems to Pharmaceutical companies! I left this job when I was about to have Alex, as I could not travel and have a baby at home. I then had a part-time job organizing children's parties at Windsor Leisure Centre (Where we lived at the time) when Alex was about 1 year old. We moved to the Portsmouth area in 2003, and after Jonathan was born I decided I wanted to work from home.

Did you have specialist training in cake decorating? - if so what/where was your training?

Once I decided that I was serious about this career move, I began to study at Highbury College in Portsmouth. I tool the ABC course in sugar craft, but unfortunately the Government has stopped funding such courses now, as they feel they are "not relevant". I still attend Highbury once a week on a more casual course (without exams) to expand the skills I have.

How many hours a week was your training? How did training fit round your children?


3 hours once a week, during the evening. It is the one night of the week that my husband manages to leave his work on time so that he can do bath and bed time!

Roughly, how much did your training cost?

Last year was approx £120. This year I pay £90 a term.


How did you go about setting your business up? (from a business perspective - initial funding etc) Did you have any professional help?

I had an understanding bank manager who extended my overdraft to help set my kitchen up and pay for some advertising. I attended fully funded a course called Work4Yourself - Self-employment training, which is run by the Business Link programme. 2 sessions a week for 4 weeks this covered all aspects of starting up your own business including financial and marketing. It gave me the incentive to "go for it" and register as self-employed.


Did you carry out any research you carried out to know your business would work?

I have looked at many other similar businesses in the area.

Where do you carry out your work now?

In my own kitchen at home.

Do you need lots of specialist equipment?

Yes, and you can get carried away with what you buy! I try not to buy until I need a specific item for a certain design on a cake.

Do you bake the cakes as well as decorate them?

Yes, and I'm expanding to gluten free and hopefully other cakes for special dietary requirements.

How many hours do you work a week?

What I need to, around the children. This depends on how many orders I have.

How does the job fit round your family life?

Easily, this is why I chose to do this. If I'm very busy I work in the evening when the children have gone to bed.

How do you find clients - do you advertise?

It is mainly word of mouth, but I do advertise in local party shops/florists and local community centres.

What is the earning potential?

A good month at the moment is about £300.

Is the job rewarding?

Very, it may not bring in a great pay, but nearly every client has been close to tears when they see the cake for the first time. That gives me a real buzz!

Do you think it is a job that fits in well with being a Mum?

Yes and the kids are always very interested in what I do!

Any advice for a Mum or Dad wanting to start training?

Make sure your kitchen is big enough to cope with hygiene regulations and family life!

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