Forever crushing on our local creatives, we asked cake extraordinaire Sarah Greaves from Sage & Grace about how her business came to life, tips for success, foodie creations, and her Mount Maunganui favourites.
Tell us a bit about how you found your way towards Sage & Grace. How did you get into it, and what were your first foodie creations?
"I have always been interested in food and health, so I studied nutrition in Dunedin. On returning to Mount Maunganui I knew I wanted to start something of my own. After meeting a friend we came up with the idea to start a little cake business that would sell at the local farmer's markets. The cakes have always had the idea of being nutritionally whole and better for you. There is something special about a piece of cake, it's not an everyday food but when you do treat yourself you want it to be filled to the brim with more-ish flavour and organic ingredients.
Our first creations were some of the same recipes we use today - a few of them are the lemon blueberry cake, gingerbread and sticky date cakes, two of which we have now turned into our cake kit collection."
Shop her Sticky Date Cake Mix here.
How would you describe your brand in 3 words?
"Wholesome, inclusive, loving."
What are some things you need to have around you to feel inspired and happy at work?
"This is a great question and something I am still figuring out. My happy place is being in a clear, clean, light space with an abundance of ingredients in the garden and pantry that I can just use and start to make things with. That is where lots of ideas come from. I love being able to just see ingredients and think... 'what could I make with that?'
For me to feel inspired, it is when I get to talk to people who are in business, who are fast-paced but speak my language. I love being around ideas people but people that will also listen to my ideas (always a million flying around) and tell me what is a good idea and when I am getting off track.
This is when I gain confidence in what I am doing, and it gives me a sense of team. It makes me feel as though I have supporters right there with me."
Is there one cake mix that is your all-time favourite and why?
"Strawberries and Cream would be my favourite - It is dietary inclusive of those who are GF, DF, Vegan and Refined sugar-free without cutting corners or falling short of any other cake. It is packed with flavour and is really versatile with the ability to change the fruit to suit different seasons. It is a great cake base to have in the cupboard for any time."
Shop her Strawberries & Cream VG/GF Cake Mix here.
For someone reading this who wants to start their own business, do you have any tips on how to get started or any home truths you'd like to share?
"Is the product or service already out there? If that market has space for you go for it, but try not to just start doing your version of someone else's dream/creation. Find your own niche, own it and have a big point of difference. What are the things that you strongly stand for, this is part of your story, what people connect with and becomes your strategy? I have been working with a brand strategist to help me articulate everything in my brain. It has been incredible to have it all written down. I am not a writer and I get a bit overwhelmed by my brain so if you are not into writing get someone to help you with this.
Starting out is hard, until you have been there and started something you will never truly understand. Be prepared to work all the time at the start. Enjoy it and really embrace the season you are in, it is incredibly rewarding in so many ways. You will learn alot about yourself and most likely redefine what you believe successful means. Go out there and create something exciting the people want to see. "
At Flo we love to support local, what are some of your must go or hidden gems in your area?
"Mount Made Ice Cream - Literally the best icecream you will eat, lots of dietary friendly options which we are all about.
Be Organics - Beautiful organic store with everything you need for your weekly shop
The Tauranga Farmers Market - the best way to support local growers directly, this is where our whole venture was started and was able to be noticed and get off the ground.
Gratitude Eatery - wholesome delicious food,
Eddies and Elspeth - incredible food with both flavour and presentation.
Papamoa Hills - this is a great walk/climb and gives a different perspective of our area."