Camelia’s Cupcake Blog: Business advice for newcomers in Sweden with mouth-watering cupcake talk sprinkled in….
Camelia Safai moved from Canada to Sweden for love and just a few short years later she now owns and operates her own business, Camelia’s Cupcakes. In her first blog she shared her personal experiences about her move to Sweden, and gave us some helpful tips on how to start up your own business here in Stockholm. This week she let’s us in on what support she needed to start her own business in Sweden. This week she writes:
“I hope you all enjoyed my first blog post!
So as promised, here is more information about the process I went through to start my cupcake business. Once the decision had been made to go for it, I started to research the requirements for starting my own business, and also the options out there for assistance. Starting a new business is a huge undertaking at the best of times, but try doing that in a foreign country and in a different language! I quickly realized that there was no way I could do this on my own, so I had to look around me and find people whom I could utilize as resources to assist me. Luckily, I was surrounded by people, both in Stockholm and elsewhere, that have a great many talents I don’t have, but needed, in order to get this business off the ground.
- My friend Mojan Sami is a very talented graphic designer, currently living in Israel, who helped me with the logo and design concept for the website. www.mojansami.com
- My good friend Katrina Tran in Canada who is a photographer and did a photo shoot with my cupcakes when I was home taking lessons.
- My husband, who works in IT, was able to create the website for me, and my in-laws, who are accountants, took care of all the financial aspects. My husband also introduced me to people in Stockholm who have experience running their own businesses and cafes, and I spent time talking with them and picking their brains for advice and ideas.
- Once we got the café, we had friends in the community who helped us paint and clean the store in order to open, and also made our posters and store sign at cost.
You could say I got lucky, having all these people who could help me, and I definitely am very blessed to have such great family and friends. But even if you don’t know people with the skills you need to help you, network and ask around, ask if your friends know of anyone they can introduce you to, and then don’t be afraid to ask people for help. When you are trying to get a business off the ground, you need to be careful about spending, so if you can find people who are willing to help you out, take all the assistance you can get! And you can compensate them in other ways, by giving them credit on your website or promotional materials, or even paying them in cupcakes (no one will refuse this kind of currency!).
In order to start a new business, there are many steps that you need to go through, and it is all very clearly outlined in this English document from Forsakringskassan called “Starting up your Business”.
This document, Starting Up Your Business, was invaluable in the amount of information if gave me about the different kinds of companies you can start, and more importantly, what kinds of agencies are out there to help new business owners, like ALMI and Resource Centers for Women. Talk to Forsakringskassan to find out what options are best for you. For instance, my husband and I decided to have a trading partnership, as you don’t need capital to start the business. My husband already had his own IT business, so he brought me in as a partner and we registered Camelia’s Cupcakes as a subsidiary of the parent company, which made the process faster and less complicated than registering it as a separate company.
The biggest piece of advice I can give is to find an accountant to help you with the financial aspect of your business. This is by far the most complicated area, and when you don’t know the language or the system, like myself, it can get really overwhelming. If you have someone with the skills who can help you, take them up on that, but if not, it is worth the money to hire a professional to get you set up.
Once we got the company registered and the website up and running, we were open for business! We got a permit to work from home, so we were able to do some catering events for clients while we looked for a store location. Again, the value of networking and having friends help us get orders made a big difference. We got our first big order making 200 cupcakes for an event at Marc by Marc Jacobs thanks to a friend with connections. We slowly got more orders for bachelorette parties and baby showers, and all this kept us going until we found our café. Stay tuned for the next blog post about the process of finding a store location.
If you want more information about the process of starting your own business in Stockholm, or you just want to eat some yummy cupcakes, come by Camelia’s Cupcakes for a chat and some fika. Our special flavors this month are inspired by Valentine’s Day, so come try our Red Velvet and Strawberry Chocolate cupcakes! We are open Tuesday to Friday 11-18 and weekends 12-17 at Nybrogatan 40, near Östermalmstorg T-bana.
Special Deal for Your Living City readers! Looking for a fun indoor activity to do this winter? Want to learn how to bake and decorate cupcakes like a pro? We have two special deals for you!
- Sign up for a private lesson where I will customize a cupcake recipe for you and we will bake together, and you get to take home a box of one dozen large cupcakes and the recipe. You will learn all the secrets to making a perfect cupake! Available for one or two people, 2 hour private lesson in the café, regular price is 1000:-, but mention Your Living City and you get the lesson for 800:- during the month of February!
- Get a group of friends or kids together for a private cupcake decorating party! You get exclusive use of the café for 2 hours, 3 large and 3 mini cupcakes per person, 5 different kinds of frosting, 5 different kinds of sprinkles, a decorating tutorial, unlimited tea, coffee, and juice, and a box to take your treat home in (if you don’t eat them all right away!) . Minimum 6 people, maximum 12 people. Regular price is 390:- per person, but mention Your Living City and it is 300:- per person during the month of February!
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to book a session.
Baking Tip #2
Always use the finest and freshest ingredients for your baking. Your cupcakes will only taste as good as the ingredients you use to make them. Using real butter instead of margarine, fresh eggs, real instead of artificial essences, real fruit, and good quality cocoa or baking chocolate will make a world of difference to the taste and texture of your cupcakes. I have customers come in the store and tell me my cupcakes are the best they have ever tasted, even better than the ones in New York City, and I tell them this is the reason why. Everything we bake in the store uses the best ingredients, and is hand mixed in small batches, not machine made in a factory like some other large cupcake or muffin bakeries. Use the freshest and highest quality ingredients, add the secret ingredient of love, and your cupcakes will taste like magic!
In the coming months, she will write posts with more details about her process, such as how to register a business, how to find a location, finding suppliers, marketing, and hiring employees. She welcomes you to drop by the café to have a chat, eat some cupcakes and have coffee to help keep the winter blues away!
Craving a cupcake now? Pop in for a fika…
Camelia’s Cupcakes is located at Nybrogatan 40 in Östermalm, near Östermalmtorg T-bana.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday 11-18 and weekends 12-17.