[Long post alert but a good read in mindset & philosophy]
It was interesting being a vegan cake business and shortlisted for a prestigious Birmingham business award.
I haven’t really been able to speak about this until very recently. I’ve not posted on social media neither have I blogged about it until now.
.So, I’m very proud and honoured to announce that Blooming Lovely Cake was nominated and shortlisted by the prestigious Birmingham Post Business Awards 2018 in two categories this year for:
Entrepreneur of the Year 2018
New Business of the Year 2018
My then 3 month old vegan cake art business (now just over 5 months old) was selected and whittled down to the last 7 entries in both categories, plucked from tens of applications.
And when I heard the news, to say I was gobsmacked is an understatement! I’d seriously thought absolutely nothing of it when I put my application in. I wasn’t covetous of an award at all; I’d simply wondered what just might happen if I send off an application as a sapling of business. And also, as a vegan food and creative business. Maybe I should have entered a food award but that wasn’t on my radar at that time. We don’t really see many arts based creative businesses winning prestigious business based regional and national awards do we? There’s usually more of the everyday technical and corporate type consulting business on the blocks, those business with more of a linear feel to them. Yet it’s art that we live for, don’t we, that brings us joy in its many guises: be it music, dance, books, poetry, paintings and art itself, and, in my case, cake artistry.
Coming back to putting my application in: yes I did nominate myself and put my own application forward through no one’s persuasion apart from my own piqued curiosity, like a kitten peering up a tree to see how far it could get. Well why not? If you’re not going to put yourself forward in life, then who is? You have to go out to life, life doesn’t come to you (but, may I add, there is something to be said about the ‘law of attraction’ and manifesting one’s life – but that is another blog altogether on another website). And besides, no one knows me, my business, my values and beliefs better than I do so why wait to be nominated?
Chances are that without putting yourself forward, and having the self assurance to say “ I deserve to be recognised”, you’ll get left behind; often you have to ‘sing your own praises’ regardless of being seen as ‘too full of oneself’ . The best brands in the world, the best gurus, the best companies, I believe aren’t necessarily the best; you may find someone out there who is unbelievably talented at what they do but completely oblivious or rubbish or both about marketing themselves. I believe the businesses we see as the best are the ones who are good at marketing themselves and putting themselves forward. And the one’s who are the best at marketing and putting themselves under your noses telling you that they are the best are usually the ones you’ll end up following, using and buying from.
Is that to say that I don’t believe that Blooming Lovely Cake IS genuinely the best? Of course I do. What I do in terms of vegan cake making and my vegan cake art is very unique. It’s my USP. There’s no other vegan cake maker in Birmingham (that I’m aware of) who makes vegan & gluten free cake art in the way I do. There are no vegan floral cake makers whom I’ve met (unless they are unbelievably talented and hiding from the World). So as far as I’m concerned, I am the best at what I do. And it’s unique. And there’s no one else who is doing vegan cake art like me.
Although Blooming Lovely Cake didn’t make it as a finalist, I’m not dismayed in the slightest. Far from it. I’m pleased to have come this far. Does it matter that I wasn’t picked as a finalist? Well the answer to that is a resounding NO. Why should it matter? Why shouldn’t my confidence soar anyway, regardless of what someone may or may not think of my business? Why should my self esteem be a notch higher (or conversely a notch lower) whether I’ve progressed or not.
There’s an ‘out there’ and there’s an ‘in here’ and the ‘in here’ is not going to be affected by the ‘out there’. That’s a sure fire way to destroy one’s well being and happiness. There’s no way I’m going to think that “I’m not good enough” simply because I wasn’t the ‘chosen one’ to go any further. I live by own adage that whatever someone thinks of you is none of your business. Someone sees you through their own set of filters and beliefs and standards and those filters aren’t yours. It shouldn’t take an award to help you feel better about yourself. That should come anyway through inner confidence and inner confidence is not a masquerade ball or a personality trait like ego-based outer confidence is.
The fact is I had the inner confidence to put myself and the business forward at time when most others would have cowered away because they didn’t necessarily want to be competing with ‘heavy weights’, more established businesses or businesses that were much more mature than just 3 months old. Why shouldn’t my sales soar anyway? And why shouldn’t I feel like the best anyway? Just like no two pieces of art can be pitted against each other and compared neither can two businesses.
Winning an award won’t change me (it might change the way others perceive me) and not being put forward for an award won’t change me either. But I’m here to tell it to you like it is. I’m not the type to sugar coat the truth and the way things are. The only thing I ever sugar coat are my cakes…