Kellie Barclay, the visionary behind Fancy That Cake, launched her business in 2008, initially as a side hustle. Operating from the kitchen space in the basement of her Centre Wellington home, she baked everything from birthday cakes to hot chocolate bombs for her customers while working a part-time job and raising her children. By 2015, Barclay transitioned to focus solely on her cake business full-time. “It probably took about four or five years before I could say I was consistently busy every week,” says Barclay, but today, she has realized that Fancy That Cake is a financially sustainable enterprise.
Unlike many other businesses, Fancy That Cake thrived during the pandemic. “I could pivot,” says Barclay, seeing wedding orders decrease, but a demand for celebratory cakes increased since people were more inclined to spend the money they had saved during lockdown on a fancy birthday cake. As restrictions lifted and the pandemic came to a close, Barclay’s business continued to thrive. Couples who hadn’t been able to get married during the pandemic were scheduling their weddings in droves. “It was a little crazy,” notes Barclay, who had decided to focus her business strictly on creating custom, hand-crafted wedding cakes.
As Fancy That Cake grew, it became clear that Barclay needed an organized customer onboarding system to streamline the leads she was receiving. “I was flying by the seat of my pants,” she says. Her days were filled with emailing contracts and hunting down signatures instead of doing what she really loves: baking cakes. A business coach suggested that Barclay select a client management system to reclaim her time for core business activities. She decided to implement Honeybook, a client flow management platform that enables independent businesses to book clients, manage projects, and get paid all in one place. Barclay remarked that while Honeybook had helped, she knew she was not maximizing the platform to automate and optimize her workflow.
As Barclay struggled with the Honeybook platform to automate her customer onboarding flow, she was introduced to Digital Main Street’s Digital Transformation Grant (DTG) Program through a networking group. The DTG initiative provides brick-and-mortar small businesses with a digital assessment, online training, and a $2,500 grant to implement their Digital Transformation Plan.
Armed with the grant, Barclay’s focus centred on optimizing Honeybook functionalities with the help of a Honeybook Pro to refine and automate her onboarding process. Before working with the Honeybook Pro, Barclay notes she was still having to perform a number of onboarding steps manually. “My biggest challenge was: how do I make this work better? It was [somewhat] automated, but it wasn’t automated enough.” Working with a Honeybook Pro has made life a whole lot easier and her onboarding process is now significantly more streamlined. In addition, by investing in professional photography for the website and social media platforms, Barclay has advanced the brand’s online presence.
- Applied for and received a Digital Main Street DTG in August 2022
- Developed a collaboration with Honeybook Pro to enhance and automate customer flow
- Reviewed current processes to identify steps that could be automated and improved
- Mapped out improved customer flow
- Set up and launched new onboarding flow in Honeybook
- Hired photographer and videographer
- Launched new assets across digital platforms.
- Improved look and feel. Both the professional photos and the Honeybook set-up have helped Barclay present a more polished and established look to prospective clients.
- Attracting ideal clients. As a result of the work she’s put into her digital presence and onboarding experience, Barclay says she is seeing more and more inquiries from her ideal clients. “I’m getting those bigger and fancier [contracts] and heading into Toronto for deliveries.”
- Streamlined customer experience. The onboarding flow isn’t just freeing up Barclay’s time, it’s also making life easier for her customers. “I’ve had a couple of clients actually comment on my system and how nicely it runs, and how professional it is, and how easy it is from the client side,” she says.
With a surge in clients and a streamlined process in place to handle leads, Barclay is positioned for further growth. Working with a business coach to better define her target audience and hiring a lawyer to review contracts within her Honeybook system is in the works. This behind-the-scenes groundwork during the quieter months will fortify Fancy That Cake’s foundation for sustained success. Barclay is glad she applied for the grant and took the time to embrace digital transformation; “it really was helpful and enabled me to do things I could not afford to do on my own”.