Insight: How Olivia Hill Turned Her Love for Baking into a Successful Nationwide Business as featured in Grazia and The Sunday Times

Having been furloughed during the pandemic, Olivia Hill decided to pursue her passion for baking under her first, namesake brand, 'Bakes By Olivia'. Most recognised for her signature 'Lambeth' style cakes, Olivia has created a successful, nationwide baking enterprise that is a testament to how creating a career out of something you love might just be the best thing you’ll ever do.
Insight: How Olivia Hill Turned Her Love for Baking into a Successful Nationwide Business as featured in Grazia and The Sunday Times - DMY BY DMY

Featuring Olivia Hill (@bakesby.olivia) in the Quin (Black)

What were you doing before you founded Bakes By Olivia?

I used to work in Marketing, specifically with influencers and social media. I always baked as a hobby and as the years went on it became a dream that one day that would be my job. I loved working with influencers and got to do some really cool campaigns but the idea of working for myself and being a baker never really went away.

What inspired the idea of Bakes By Olivia?

When Covid hit the UK it wasn't long until I was put on furlough as so many were. I am not great at doing nothing, especially when it seemed like I had infinite time on my hands and couldn't go anywhere/do anything! I had been slowly building up my baking over the years, mainly just for friends but the odd cake for a customer, and decided that now was the time to give it a real shot! It was a huge journey that led me to Bakes by Olivia and it took me a while to find my style and groove in the baking world. I love cake and I love to make people happy so that's what it is all about for me and that is where the idea was born.

How do you go about creating the designs for your cakes? Is there a particular style of cake that you're drawn to?

My cakes are predominantly lambeth style cakes but I have recently branched out into doing shaggy cakes amongst other slightly different designs. Usually I am led with what the customer wants but secretly my favourite customers are the ones who give me free reign to do exactly what I want. I am a huge fan of using lots of colour in my cakes and also just making them really fun. Unless it is a big wedding cake I usually design the piped details of the cake as I go along as it allows me a lot more freedom, but for wedding cakes I tend to do myself a little sketch so I can visualise it more.
Do you have plans to open up your own bakery one day? If so, where and what kind of space would you want to create?

I often get asked where I see myself and my business in a few years time and my dream would be to have my own little bakery. I see it as a fun and inviting space where you can come with your laptop and eat cake or just pop by for some after school goodies. I would love the space to be able to double up as a bit of a venue that people could hire out for baby showers/hen parties that have cakes provided for them and maybe even some workshops. Who knows I have lots of ideas whirring around in my brain constantly - it's nuts in there!

What does a typical day look like for you?
I am naturally quite an early riser which I quite like as especially in winter the sunrise can be insanely beautiful. I do a rough weekly plan at the start of each week so I know what orders I have going out on what days so I will check this first thing to remind myself of what I have to do in the day - I like to highlight each order as I do it because I just love the feeling of a completed list! Whilst in the kitchen I swap between podcasts, radio and Netflix as background noise but you can often find me belting out Queen songs as I bake. Most days now are split into baking in the morning and then decorating in the afternoon. I used to be really bad at stopping and taking a lunch break as I am one of those people that just likes to get everything done but I have started taking myself for a little half an hour walk in the middle of the day with a coffee to get some fresh air and relax my mind. In the evenings I am either going for dinner with friends, I am a huge foodie, or relaxing at home with my boyfriend watching a film!

What advice would you give to someone who is looking to start their own baking business?

Don't let the fear and the what ifs get the better of you, if you love baking and want to create a career out of it then it will be the best thing you ever do. Don't get me wrong it is not all plain sailing and I have plenty of downs to go with the ups but I think if you genuinely love what you do then none of that matters. Being a business owner is all a learning curve and there will be moments where you think why on earth have I done this, but that feeling never stays and the ups always outweigh the downs. 


Olivia's Round of Speed Dating with DMY

1. What is your go-to drink?
I am a post-lockdown champagne addict! Through lockdown we were treating ourselves to the off boujee bottle because let’s face it, what else was there to do! And now I have a taste for the good stuff there is no going back. Failing that I would be more than happy with a margarita in tow.

2. What was the last thing you Googled?
Iron Man 2.

3. What was the last book you read?
The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman - it was GREAT! 

4. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
New York. Every. single. day. 

5. What is your favourite TV show?
Mad Men

6. What would be your ideal date?
Cocktails followed by a comedy night.

7. What’s your guilty pleasure?
Eating teaspoons of peanut butter out of the jar (multiple times a day).

8. What’s the best and worst purchase you’ve ever made?
Best: My original kitchen aid.
Worst: A subscription to an app I never used.

9. What was your first concert?
B*Witched ! 

10.  Make a party playlist with only 3 songs:
Abba ‘Super Trooper’
Queen ‘Killer Queen’
Beyoncé ‘Love on Top’