Young and Regional

The Daily Cupcake Co wouldn't exist without online shopping

Rachel Clark
October 23 2023 - 5:00am
WATCH: how e-commerce helped this regional business thrive

The recipe for a perfect cupcake is some flour and sugar, an egg or two, a dash of milk, a touch of vanilla - and a whole lot of love.

This belief inspired Tim and Kristy Abra to start their own small business, The Daily Cupcake Co, three years ago from their home kitchen.

"It was a typical shower thought and I was literally in the shower when it came to me," Mrs Abra said.

"COVID had started at this point, and the entire hospitality industry was quite shaky.

"We had always had a type of entrepreneurial spark within us and we wanted to craft something that would suit our lifestyle."

Tim and Kristy Abra sampling their cupcakes from The Daily Cupcake Co based in Tamworth, NSW. Picture by Gareth Gardner
Tim and Kristy Abra sampling their cupcakes from The Daily Cupcake Co based in Tamworth, NSW. Picture by Gareth Gardner

They had met years prior while working in the hospitality industry in Tamworth in the NSW New England region.

Mrs Abra had a love of baking and wanted to create a type of gender neutral present that could be sent to anyone.

"I thought, 'What if you could buy a gift, like flowers or balloons, for somebody, how about we do cakes?'," she said.

"People don't send flowers to their son or a male friend in the mail. So why should boys miss out on getting something cool?" she said

They had found a gap in the market but had no idea where to start.

"Then with COVID we had a ton of free time and thought. 'Why not give this a shot?'"

Taking some whisks

The husband-and-wife team decided to go all in on their idea.

Keeping the business model simple and realistic, they opted for an e-commerce retail space, used a portion of their savings as start-up capital, and only baked one flavour of gluten free cupcake per day - hence the business name.

Through the creation of an online store, they tapped into a growing customer base.

According to Australia Post, in 2022 Australians spent more than $63 billion through online purchases and more than 80 per cent of Aussie households made an online purchase.

"The first official sale day was a caramilk flavour cupcake," Mr Abra said.

The Daily Cupcake Co. became a runaway hit that day. Their phones rang off the hook as Mrs Abra poured love into every baking tray and her husband made deliveries late into the night.

We have to wear every hat, including accountancy, marketing, social media, graphic design, and customer service.

- Tim Abra, co-founder of The Daily Cupcake Co

Three years on from their first cupcake, the pair has learnt a lot and now offers more variety.

The couple soon found that baking was only "a small part of the business".

"We have to wear every hat, including accountancy, marketing, social media, graphic design, and customer service," Mr Abra said.

"We knew we wanted an online platform, so building a website was difficult because neither of us knew how to do that.

"Then with graphic design it was sort of throwing things out there and seeing what sticks."

But their biggest challenge has been figuring out the supply chain.

"Being in a small town has made it difficult for suppliers. There was a lot of stuff that would have really high postage costs or weren't willing to ship large quantities of product to us," Mr Abra said.

"We still struggle with that today. Being in a regional place with the supply chain is either really expensive, really long, or not possible.

"So we really have to figure out ways around it or sit on ideas as it is not possible," Mrs Abra said.

Despite all the challenges they said their local community has been supportive all the way.

The ryes of e-commerce

Since the dawn of the internet, the world of digital commerce has thrived.

In the past five years, e-commerce has grown rapidly, with starter websites such as Shopify, Wix, Etsy, and Squarespace allowing for small, niche businesses to access a larger consumer marketplace.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Australians have developed an online shopping habit. Australia Post reported on average 5.6 million households make an online purchase each month.

University of NSW information systems and technology management Professor Barney Tan said e-commerce is the way of the future for regional or rural businesses.

"A lot of the e-commerce firms today are platforms," he said.

"By platforms they are effectively lending their services to others, so small businesses within regional or rural areas can latch on and reach more national and international markets."

My story

Rachel Clark is a reporter with The Northern Daily Leader in Tamworth, NSW.
Rachel Clark is a reporter with The Northern Daily Leader in Tamworth, NSW.

Growing up in Sydney, I had a preconceived notion of what an entrepreneur looked like. I imagined Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, but Aussie.

But after moving to a regional area, I found that my idea of an "entrepreneur" was warped. From the small mum and pop shop down the road to the girl selling earrings at the local markets - entrepreneurs are all around us.

Regional businesses are typically overlooked by metropolitan areas. But what I've seen is that it never takes a big idea, it only takes a good one.

Rachel Clark

Rachel Clark

Journalist

Rachel, a former Sydney-sider turned country journalist at the Northern Daily Leader, covers education, Gunnedah and Liverpool Plains councils, and renewable energy. Be sure to say g'day: rachel.clark@austcommunitymedia.com.au