A bakery dating back to the Victorian era is mixing
technology with their cakes to help families and friends
Indi Brooks bought The Stanmore Hill Bakery in 1996 after the
previous owner, whose family had supplied bread and cakes to coffee
houses for over 100 years, retired. She rebranded the bakery London
Cakes and continued to supply shops around the city.
In 2002, Indi realised she could expand by selling cakes online
and Londoncakes.com was launched.
"The moment shoes started appearing on the internet and people
were prepared to buy them without trying them on, I knew they were
prepared to buy food stuffs," says Graham Brooks, Indi's husband
and managing director of London Cakes.
Before the internet, people had to come in to the store or call
to order a cake. This often led to spelling mistakes, other errors
and unhappy customers, but the option to order cakes online
completely changed that.
London Cakes continued to grow and in 2006, Indi and Graham
started CakesNextDay.com supplying cakes to the whole of the
"I definitely switched the business to online retailing at the
right time," says Indi. "The big supermarkets and chain bakeries
are really able to undercut on price and it was becoming
increasingly difficult for me to compete with them."
Since the launch of CakesNextDay.com the company has seen annual
growth of around 35% and Indi expects turnover of £1.2m next
"Because we make to order and deliver next day, the cakes are of
the highest quality and we get recommended as a result," she
They sell 10,000 cakes a year and have served a number of
famous customers celebrate, including Jonathan Ross, Kylie Minogue,
One Direction, Cheryl Cole and even the Royal family.
Recently, London Cakes and CakesNextDay.com started offering
customers a unique new way to personalise their cakes. They began
putting QR codes in the corner of cakes so that senders can include
a personalised touch.
Family members or friends can record a video message singing
'Happy Birthday' on their mobile phone or webcam and upload it
to YouTube. They then go onto CakesNextDay.com and include the URL
of the video when they place their order. When the cake is
delivered, the recipient can scan the QR code with their phone to
see the video message.
The QR codes can be used in a variety of ways. In May, London
Cakes made 625 cakes with QR codes for Dixon's, the electronics and
kitchen appliance shop, and sent one to every shop around the
country. The QR code linked to a feedback page where employees
could thank headquarters and tell them what they thought of the
The Brooks, who also run the business with their daughter Nikki
Georgiades, are already working on several new ways to push their
business forward, including introducing a phone app and working
with partners, such as greeting card companies.
In the future, Indi and Graham hope to become the brand leader
"It is our dream to be the same size as Interflora just for
cakes. You can order a personalised cake online and have it
delivered anywhere in the world as you would a bunch of flowers,"
Graham says. "There seems to be no reason why this business model
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