Founded by experienced baker and cake decorator Shayna Lawton, Unrefined Cakery was developed from her philosophy that everyone, no matter their dietary preferences and requirements, should be able to enjoy delicious cakes and other tasty baked goods. She had found herself increasingly drawn to those that had allergies or dietary preferences that would so often prevent them from enjoying sweet treats, so she developed a way for everyone to make their own allergy-friendly, healthy baked goods at home. Her simple recipes are easy to make and her baking mixes have the added benefit of being healthier for you than standard baking mixes, with no highly refined ingredients. In fact, all of the Unrefined Cakery recipe mixes contain functional foods that have a potentially positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
I used to work as a cake decorator (think Extreme Cake Makers, but on a slightly smaller scale!) and during that time, I had many customers coming to me who struggled to make their own allergy-friendly cakes that actually tasted decent! I firmly believe that everyone should be able to enjoy healthy sweet treats easily regardless of dietary requirements, and so Unrefined Cakery was born: a way for people to make their own healthy, allergy-friendly sweet treats at home, easily, and with no fuss.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
I started out with the basic idea that I wanted to provide healthy and allergy-friendly cakes for those who just didn’t have the time or know-how to do it themselves. At the time, I was finishing my science degree and still working as a cake decorator as well as developing the business, which, at the advice of my husband, morphed into manufacturing and providing baking mixes. I did a lot of the business development and set-up myself – I remember many late nights when I would delve deep into the Food Standards Australia New Zealand legislation, working to understand and implement the many legalities that surround food businesses! After nearly two years of research, experimentation, label design, (and much, much more!), I was finally ready to launch! I made my first sale on 21st July 2020, and what an exciting feeling that was!
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
The biggest breakthrough probably happened when I realised that I couldn’t do absolutely everything all by myself! The business just wasn’t going to grow if I kept stretching myself too thin trying to manage all of the working parts. So, I started working with a distributor, which has been fantastic. I’ve also now taken on some part-time help which frees me up to focus fully on the stuff I enjoy doing!
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
This is a work in progress! I struggle with the temptation to work late into the night and get ahead on work that needs doing. However, making time for a weekly date night with my husband (we don’t have any kids) has hugely helped balance work and life – not just because of the date night itself, but also because it’s helped me remember that I also enjoy living life outside of work!