15 August 2012

Annica van Rensburg: Living your passion

Annica van Rensburg, Annica's Designer Cakes
Many of us can bake passingly well, but it takes a special combination of talent and business savvy to create bespoke cakes for exclusive clientele. Annica van Rensburg started Annica’s Designer Cakes in 2002 with three staff. Today she’s expanded the business to include a deli and restaurant, and has 21 staff making beautiful cakes to order, to suit any occasion.

What were you doing before starting your business?
I studied interior design and decorating in London, so when I relocated to South Africa in 1998, I got involved with a small home industry that belonged to a family member. While working in the home industry, I soon discovered that specialised confectionery was undeveloped in South Africa, so I started applying my artistic skills to make creative cakes.

What kind of planning went into starting the venture?
I just found my passion and always listened to my instinct – there were no formal plans in place – and I opened my own shop in 2002.

What was your big dream for this venture?
My dream was to be able to do what I love and enjoy. And as I found that from confectionery, it also allowed me to push the limits in creativity. To have a clients who appreciate the time and effort that goes into creating a designer cake is the big reward.

If a person wants to turn a hobby into a viable business, what are some of the things they need to bear in mind?
For me, it was sacrificing most of my family time and having no social life. Thankfully I have the most understanding and supportive husband. There are also always disappointments and hardships, but you need to have patience – doing things with understanding and goodness in your heart is important. 

How has your business grown since the day you started? 
Looking back, it was me with few assistants. Now I have a talented and committed team of 20 staff members, who I credit for a lot of the growth of my business. And I recently moved to bigger premises to accommodate the growth.

In your opinion, is it ever alright to give up on a dream? 
Never! Even when we fail, at least we’ve followed our heart and learned something in the process.

What’s your life motto?
Life is too short to carry negativity in your attitude. The greatest gift to yourself and others is love and forgiveness.  

Get in touch with Annica van Rensburg from Annica’s Designer Cakes via email: annicas@mweb.co.za, visit her website: www.annicascakes.co.za, find her on Facebook or read her blog: http://annicasdesignercakes.wordpress.com

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