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l to r:  Cllr Michael Mordey, Sunderland City Council and Helena Harford, Printcakes.

EXPANSION IS A PIECE OF CAKE FOR SUNDERLAND BUSINESS

Printcakes enjoying the sweet taste of success

An innovative Sunderland-based cake company which delivers personalised messages on its products is planning to extend its market nationwide.

Printcakes, which makes cupcakes with edible printed logos, photos and messages has been a big hit with both businesses and the public in the North East of England.

But a move to new premises at the Stanfield Centre in Sunderland means the company can now target a UK-wide customer base.

Helena Harford, director of Printcakes, says she is delighted to have the opportunity to expand and says that the company feels confident enough now not only to experiment with new products but also to contemplate exporting abroad eventually.

“On the back of the support and sales we’ve had over the past few years we’ve taken a big step in investing in large ovens and mixers and new premises which allows us to reach and cater for a national audience and increased orders," she said.

"We went to the ExCel Exhibition in London in November and had a lot of interest shown in our decorative cupcake range, so that was a good chance to get the message out there.

“But being there also allowed us to do market research on a couple of other products we have in the pipeline - personalised and decorated cookies and marshmallows - which we hope will become big sellers for us.

“The feedback we’ve had on both has been great and now we’re looking to develop them further with a view to having them on our website and on sale very soon.

“These sorts of products also have a good shelf life of at least a month and that brings into range the possibility of being able to export them abroad and hopefully into markets which don’t have these sorts of products available.”

Cllr Michael Mordey, deputy leader of Sunderland City Council, said: “We have been proud to offer support and help to Helena and her business.

“Small and inventive companies like Printcakes are vitally important to the local economy and are part of a long tradition of local people using their natural flair and resourcefulness to create their own success.”

Baking has been in the blood of former Southmoor schoolgirl Helena since she was a child, cooking up recipes with her two sisters.

Having trained as a graphic designer, Helena made the big decision to swap graphics designing for cake designing seven years ago, when she was 25.

She said: “It was a big step but baking is my passion and I decided to see if my hobby could become my livelihood.

“It started off small - as a business built in my own kitchen - but has just continued to grow to the point where the expansion into the Stanfield Centre marks a very important point for us as a company.”

Printcakes has already tasted notable successes - having worked with companies the size of Transpennine Express and Virgin Money - and is looking to grow its core business of corporate events and marketing, as well as developing its profile for personal occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries.

Helena said: “Our recent move has meant that we have started to bring other people into the business to help with baking and admin and hopefully we can create more jobs in the future and grow the business further.

“It’s an exciting time for us and we're really looking forward to the future."

You can find Printcakes’ colourful website at  www.printcakes.co.uk. Find out more about starting a business in Sunderland at www.makeitsunderland.com.