Warwick cake decorators receive first Inspiration Award
SHE'S a mother, a wife, a cake decorator, a business owner and now an inspirational award holder.
Karyn Mills couldn't imagine 10 years ago the cakes she loved to bake as a hobby would be the first tiers of her own business.
Mrs Mills turned to baking after she lost her mother, whom she was caring for full time.
Suffering from anxiety and panic attacks, baking helped her cope with the loss.
"This was a way for me to busy myself and something for me to bury myself in,” Mrs Mills said.
"Once I started receiving request and was baking regular it brought me back into the world.”
Together with her husband Mark, the two have built their business up and on Saturday night they were awarded the first ever Inspirational Award, from the Warwick Business Excellence Awards.
Chamber president, Julia Keogh said the award was to acknowledge the success of turning creativity into an income.
Having built a popular base of making wedding, birthday and special event cakes, Mrs Mills noticed a number of clients were coming back just for the sake of it.
"So many clients loved the taste of the cakes, they wanted a cake just to eat on a Friday night,” she said.
This launched the idea of a packet mix range, which the couple has been selling for the past year.
The two bakers were playing around in the kitchen with recipes for months before they got the final product.
Mrs Mills said making her cake accessible and easy to whip up was the goal.
"All you need to do is add water and butter,” she said.
"We love helping out clients and giving them tips so they can make the best cakes too.”
Not only are her packets in many households across New South Wales and Queensland but Mrs Mills said cafes and restaurants were coming on board too.
"We recently introduced a larger three kilogram tub size of our packet mix for chefs to keep in their kitchens,” she said.
Mrs Mills makes more than 60 wedding cakes a year, special occasion cakes on top of that and her premixes, all while living with muscular dystrophy, a muscle wasting disease.
Taking life as it comes, Mrs Mills doesn't let her disability get in the way.
"Sure I bake cakes better than I can walk some days, but that's not what it's all about,” she said.
"I'm a mother first, a cake decorator and a business owner.
"It's important for anyone living with a disability to put those things first, because it's the other things that define you.”
Together with the support of her husband and daughter Mrs Mills said she can achieve anything.
Accepting the Inspirational Award from the Chamber of Commerce, Mrs Mills said it was humbling and unexpected.