Graduate Feature: Claudia Montano Pt. 2
Location: Cornwall, UK
QC Courses she’s taken: Wedding & Event Planning (combined)
Websites: www.claudiamontano.co.uk, www.cupcakesncoffee.co.uk
Facebook: montanoevents / ccakesncoffee
Twitter: @montanoevents / @ccakesncoffee
Instagram: @montanoevents / @ccakesncoffee
Meet Claudia Montano. We featured her last year, but a lot can happen in 8 months. Working three full-time jobs, as the owner of two businesses and as a full time secretary, she lives quite the hectic life. Check out what’s new and exciting with Claudia since last October!
Photography: Olivia Whitbread-Roberts
What have you been up to since the last time we caught up with you?
I’ve been pretty busy since the last Graduate Feature! I launched a brand new business in April—a little home bakery called Cupcakes & Coffee. It’s very exciting, and it’s already fairly busy! I’m also still running (and loving) Claudia Montano, Weddings & Events—although the cupcakes really are taking over!
A woman of many trades! When did you decide that baking should become more than a hobby?
I’ve been baking at home for years and years. My dad was always in the background encouraging me to bake professionally, but it was something I had always seen as a hobby and had no vision of making it a business. I absolutely love baking and creating mini works of cakey-art but never had many reasons to bake!
So, with the baking itch gnawing away at me, last Christmas I went a little overboard (maybe more than a little…) with baked gifts for the family—I made boxes and boxes of cupcakes, large cakes, cookies, meringue kisses, coffee syrups, pots of salted caramel, a variety of jams, and fluffy marshmallows. They were so well received that even the odd family friend began asking for my cupcakes and cakes! I was receiving a multitude of beyond lovely remarks about how fabulous and unique my cupcakes looked… and that’s when the seed was truly planted.
What’s one thing that you wish someone had told you when you were just starting out in your event-planning business and again when you were starting your own cupcake business?
In regards to the planning, I wish someone had told me “don’t worry, it takes time to crack it”, because it really does. I live where bridal couples want the best deals possible—and that often means saying NO to a wedding planner (sometimes they don’t even reply to our quotes at all!). It takes a little time, a little hands-on experience, and a strong portfolio to really be noticed—but you’ll get there! Try styled photoshoots in the meantime or even get work experience with a Hotel or Event company.
Your website and your social media pages look amazing! Do you consider being active on social media a priority? Has it been worth the effort?
Thank you so much! I designed and created both of my websites myself, so it’s always so wonderful to hear that people enjoy them. I think having a website is always a good anchor. It has all of your important information, but it’s not the place I would start. I launched both businesses on social media first, because it definitely is a priority. Social media is how local customers/clients and fellow industry pro’s will find you immediately. You can post to relevant Facebook groups or get involved with # hours on Twitter! Being on social media is also free! A big bonus when you’re starting out.
I must admit that for the planning side of things, Twitter has been a huge gift in networking with fellow local industry professionals, whereas for the bakery business, Facebook has been a wonderful tool for customers to find me and place their orders!
How do you think QC Event School has prepared you for working in the cupcake business that, on the surface, seems to be completely unrelated?
If I hadn’t enrolled in QC, I would never have launched Claudia Montano, Weddings & Events with such confidence (or even at all). After setting up one business, a second is so much easier. QC truly did set the foundations for furthering myself and my business and with one small stepping stone after another, I moved from graduating from QC to now owning and running two wonderful businesses.
Do you find balancing the two businesses difficult? How do you do it?
I also work full time as a secretary! My social life revolves largely around work, but I actually don’t mind that in any way. I work a full time job from Monday to Friday and slot my cupcake business in once I’m home or on weekends. It’s the same for my planning business. I use my own time to run both businesses, and luckily it works for me! The wonderful benefit of having your own business is that you can pick and choose when you’re available to work, which orders/clients you’re happy to take, and how much time you want to put in!
If I feel like I need a break, I just don’t take any orders/bookings for a little while. You must always remember that you need your own time, too, and I love a good lazy day.
Photography: Olivia Whitbread-Roberts
What do you think the future holds for you and your businesses?
Cupcakes & Coffee has blossomed so well since launching in April 2016. In fact, it is quickly becoming my busier business. I feel it’s the right time to really push forward with the cupcake side of things; I have so many wonderful ideas to take my little business forward, and I’m incredibly excited about how much it could achieve. Claudia Montano, Weddings & Events will still be running as it is, but I may become a little exclusive with bookings, giving Cupcakes & Coffee plenty of room to grow!