She's just celebrated eight years in business, and CharBella cakes is booming as a local small business in the Camden and Macarthur area.
I recently spent some time with Nicole during a business branding session, and we got to have a good chat over coffee about life, business and what inspires her.
"So Nicole, tell me about how CharBella came to be"
"CharBella came about after I had my second baby. Being a qualified pastry chef I knew I couldn't go back to the 5am starts. With Hubby's work and not having any family close by, we had no babysitters, so it was just natural to fall into doing cakes from home. It's something I'd always done while I was in the industry. I was in a yucky place with good old post natal depression and my psychologist at the time said to me that I'm more than just a mum and a wife and I need to get back to being me, and that's what came out of it."
"It's the one shining light that came out of a really dark black hole"
"To think back where I first started to now, it's like WOW! I have my own kitchen, a fantastic network of associates and friends, and friendships that have grown through cake"
"What about the name CharBella?"
"CharBella is a combination of the two daughters names - Charlotte and Isabella (Bella), and no, I'm not an Italian background as everyone asks!" (laughs)
"I just love seeing my customer's reactions when they see a cake, especially kids, they go WOW! I don't want to cut it!"
"Tell me what inspires you in your business"
"I love being my own boss, and the flexibility of it. That's what inspires and motivates me - that I don't want to go back to working for someone else. Challenging myself inspires me to be better, and keeping up with the latest cake trends. A bride messaging me the morning after her wedding when she should be relaxing, to say 'thank you for the cake it was beautiful'. That's what makes it all worth it!"
"What's your favourite cake you've ever done"
"Oh god, I don't think I have a favourite! I did my own wedding cake, so that was up there, but I look at it now and think how simple it was and how many skills I have developed since then. I actually do really like the drizzle cakes. They're very popular at the moment and there's lots you can do with them."
"What's one piece of advice you have for someone starting a small business?"
"Don't be afraid to ask for help. That was a big one for me eight years ago. Also, do your research, find out what's out there for your industry and what the government can do to help you. I've done some sessions with a business advisor and it was great. The other think is outsource, things that you're not good at, I'm in no way tech minded so I got someone to build my website for me and it saved me heaps of time."
"See what legal things are involved before you can actually start running your business"
Thanks so much for spending your morning with me Nicole.