ALISON DUNLOP FROM ARD BAKERY ON CHANGING HER CAREER DIRECTION
Having my own cake business was never something I thought I’d do. I was working as an accessories designer in a fashion company, and I enjoyed it. I was able to focus fully on design and not get bogged down with the business side of things, so the fact I now own a functioning business of my own is quite a surprise to me. I’d always loved baking, but when I was pregnant with my daughter I started to experiment more with decoration, in particular print, to create quite a graphic aesthetic. It was a style which was quite familiar to me in fashion, but one that I hadn’t really seen much of in cake design. I also wanted to add a more sculptural or 3D element, so I learnt about painting and tempering chocolate to create spheres, pyramids and bonbons to decorate with. I posted the results on Instagram, and it grew entirely from there. Strangers started asking me for cakes, which was very nervewracking at first. But the more I practised, the more confident I became. I decided to give it a proper go and started ARD Bakery. I think because I come from a design, rather than a food background, it gives me a freedom in the finishing – I look for inspiration in architecture, interiors, fashion and graphics. Of course the taste is so important, and I spend a lot of time working on recipes. People come to me for the look of the cake, but they only order again if it tastes good too!
Check out www.ardbakery.com and Instagram @ard_ bakery to discover Alison’s delicious bakes.
“I come from a design, rather than a food background”