Often the secret to success is by helping your competitors by sharing knowledge and support. That’s what Ella of Fitbakes
did and it certainly worked in her favour. Here’s her story.
Meet Ella Rauen-Prestes
From admired baking skills to a successful international business, Ella Rauen-Prestes worked hard and found valuable alliances to make her mark.
1. Why did you start Fitbakes and what were you doing before?
I have a tech background, and had made my career in the telecom industry in global companies in different countries. I moved to London as an expat, then I met my husband here and never left. I started Fitbakes as a side business because I have the sweetest tooth, I love cakes, but I do put on weight easily, so I learned how to make healthier food from an early age, and every time I made one of my bakes, someone said “I can`t believe there is no sugar in this”.
After 20 years of telecom I was ready to do something else. So I decided to start Fitbakes in February 2017 to see what would happen. First month was me baking at night and on weekends and running to the post office to ship orders on lunch time. 17 months later we have proper bakery, trained staff, a real company, thousands of clients, and over 100k cakes delivered in the UK.
2. What were the biggest sources of inspiration and support when you were starting out?
Support was definitely my husband. He has been an entrepreneur his whole life, and he shook me out of the corporate world. Inspiration I would say it was the millions of podcasts, blogs, and interviews I read about entrepreneurs.
3. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since starting the business?
Definitely something I heard the other day, which summarizes it all: “There is one big boss in this company: the client. He/she can fire us all, from the CEO to the janitor, just by shopping somewhere else.” That is even worse if your largest sales channel is online, because good reviews go viral and help a business grow, but bad reviews can also go viral… and something will go wrong at some point. So make sure the boss (customer) is always happy, even when that happens!
4. What has been your proudest moment/biggest achievement so far?
When Fitbakes won the Healthy Food Guide Magazine Award for Best Gym Fix 2018. For a company that started 17 months ago in my kitchen, I still can’t believe it!!
5. What advice would you give to anyone starting out?
Do your homework. By that I mean that dreaming big and having faith is important, but do your research about the market to back your dream, build a proper business case, and if the numbers work, go all in! And also, find other entrepreneurs that are in the same industry as you to share knowledge and experience. I am lucky to be part of a Facebook group of over 3k food entrepreneurs, and the value of the tips, contacts and lessons I learned there is worth more than anything.
6. What piece of investment did you make in the business that was worth every penny?
The design in our packaging launched this year. It transformed our product from an amateur healthy cake to hit product receiving requests from clients even from America and Australia!
7. Which element of marketing has made the most impact on your business?
Influencers. It was a brand new world for me, but having three teenagers at home I was always hearing about it. So I did some research and we made a decision early on to go heavy on for Instagram influencer marketing instead of food shows, and traditional magazine ads, etc. It paid off: we grew 400% in one year.
8. What does 2018 look like for you?
We launched in our first big retailer this month, already in negotiations with a few others. We’re currently in our first round of raising investment to significantly scale up the production in order to be able to reach clients in all European countries and further on! We want to change the way the world eats cake: with low sugar and high protein!
Do you run a business from home? Maybe it’s time to take it to the next level and experience success like Ella and Fitbakes