GO magazine

Living the dream

Taking the cake

With a lot of hard work and a little slice of luck, Lynn Broderick has turned her favourite pastime into a thriving business, with This Little Cakery in Hamilton.

13 December 2023

Being an exceptional baker was always in Lynn’s blood but making it into a career took a bit more doing. There have been a few twists and turns along the way - and a lot of early starts - but she’s grateful every day that she gets to bring baked goodness and joy to people’s lives.

“It was my gran who first taught me how to bake and I have many fond memories of standing in her kitchen on a little green stool, following along with what she did… That’s when my love of baking started.

Originally I was working for another business but then my middle child got really sick and I had to leave my job. As she was becoming well again I started making cakes for friends and family just as something to do, and it kind of grew from there.

Running your own business means having to wear a lot of hats - I’m a manager of people, a part time accountant, a delivery person, a shopper…

I’ve also had to learn to decorate - which is still not my favourite part, although it is very important. I think the taste is what people will remember so that’s what matters most to me. My dream would be to just lock myself away in the kitchen and bake all day but that’s not the reality of being in business.

When I started out I was just working from home for a long time, but in 2020 I decided to give the business a real crack and see how we’d go. I began by looking at places to lease, but then I changed my mind and decided to turn our dining room at the front of our house into a little shop. It was full steam ahead, and I was the busiest I’d ever been - but then Covid hit.

I’m glad now that I didn’t find a lease because that would have been the end of the business. Instead, because I was still at home and I didn’t have any overheads, I was able to lie low and wait till things blew over. Luckily my customers were still there on the other side.

Now we've been open for two years and I share the space with someone else which is what makes it achievable.

I usually get to the shop between 3 and 4 am most days to do prepping, then someone comes in at 9am to help with decorating and someone else comes in at 10am when we open.

I don’t mind getting up early. I find it really peaceful in the mornings and then it’s all hustle and bustle after that. It does mean that I go to bed earlier than my teenagers these days. I’m usually off at about 8 or 8:30pm.

My favourite occasions to bake for are probably birthdays. It’s the one day that is just for that child. And kids are just so full of pure, raw emotion. They don’t hide stuff and I think that’s great. You actually get proper feedback. They’re so honest and I just really love it.

The wedding cakes take the longest but they’re really rewarding too. You get to take them to the venue and take lots of photos of them. The most popular flavour for those is chocolate mud - I’d say that’s what 90% of people choose.

My philosophy in business is that I favour community over competition. Cake baking is quite a solitary thing but I really believe that there’s room for everybody - you just need to find your own niche, something you offer that’s different. You can’t follow anyone else’s path or compare yourself to anyone else, you just have to find your own lane and go for it.”

You can’t follow anyone else’s path or compare yourself to anyone else, you just have to find your own lane and go for it.

"I love the CR-V Sport because I can fold the back seats down to fit everything in, but when I’m not working I’ve got room for the kids and their friends because it’s a 7 seater. It drives so nicely and it’s perfect for what I do. And it’s all stable and sturdy for everything in the back. Plus you can also open and close the boot without a key which is great when I've got my hands full!"

See Lynn's creations at thislittlecakery.co.nz.

Photography by: Emily Chalk 

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