A Lisburn cake decorator has turned her passion for creating beautiful baked masterpieces into her very own cake design business with the support of the Go For It programme, in association with Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council.
The Go For It programme is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth and Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) Programme.
Originally from the Bahamas, Dawn Lowe launched Sweet and Lowe Cake Design during lockdown after honing her skills baking birthday cakes for her three daughters, and then quickly building a reputation for delicious cake treat among friends and family.
Sweet and Lowe Cake Design, based in Lisburn, offers cakes for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays – anything you need a cake for, Dawn creates an edible memory for all occasions.
Dawn said: “I started baking cakes about seven years ago when I first moved to Northern Ireland. I couldn’t afford to order a cake for my daughters first birthday, so I decided to make it myself. Then my other two kids wanted their cakes made, and then family and friends started placing orders, and it sort of just went from there.
“I was actually meant to go to University this year but with everything that had happened with Covid-19 it just wasn’t realistic for me to travel that distance. I decided I had the skills I developed over the past seven years, and I thought I would give it a go – it was then that Sweet and Lowe Cake Design was born.”
Dawn sought the help of the Go For It programme to help launch her business by completing the enquiry form online. The very next day, David, her business adviser, contacted her to get an idea of what she wanted to achieve.
“As I went through the Go For It programme David really built my confidence – I definitely wouldn’t have been able to do it without him or the programme. He helped me put together a business plan, which was probably one of my favourite parts as you get to see your ideas come to life. It helped me gain a little more clarity over financial projections and the marketing side.
When the day came to opening the doors of Sweet and Lowe Cake Design, Dawn admitted she was nervous but the flexibility of owning her own business is a big benefit to her.
“I was very nervous but relieved once the day finally came and I said – it’s open, I’m officially taking orders now, but I was still very nervous.
“The flexibility of owning my own business is a huge plus for me. Working from home especially, I’m available for the kids when I have to be, and I can move things around when I have to and be flexible.”
When Dawn’s inbox started to fill up with orders, she felt a sense of relief and achievement, and knew she had made the right choice.
Dawn stated: “I have my first wedding cake booked in for next year, which is very exciting. It’s a lot of pressure but I’m really, really honoured that they have asked me.
“For anyone thinking about starting their own business – just “Go For It”. It is scary, there is a lot of responsibility, but you can get in touch with the Go For It programme and they will put you on the right path.”
The Go For It programme is delivered free of charge by a team of experienced business mentors through Northern Ireland’s wide network of enterprise agencies. It provides expert advice and help with developing a robust business plan to help turn ideas into a commercial enterprise.
David McKechnie, Business Advisor with Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council said: “We provided Dawn with support during the Covid 19 pandemic, which included meetings where we worked with her to develop her business plan and provided the necessary advice she needed to take that step to self -employment.
“I am so pleased for Dawn, the work that she puts into those cakes, the artistry, it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. So, I am really excited to see how Sweet and Lowe Cake Design progresses from here.”
Councillor and Chairperson of Lisburn and Castlereagh CC, Amanda Grehan said: “I am absolutely delighted to see another brilliant entrepreneur like Dawn take their future into their own hands by opening up her very own small business. I have no doubt that her business will go from strength to strength as she utilises the tools that the Go For It business plan provides.
“Entrepreneurs are a key element in our community and economy. It is not because they create wealth, they come up with ideas and change which are essential for the growth of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council.”
...I was very nervous but relieved once the day finally came and I said – it’s open, I’m officially taking orders now...
If you have a business idea you’d like to develop or if you are thinking about starting a business contact the Go For It team on 0800 027 0639 or visit: www.goforitni.com.