Starting her business in her kitchen from something that is a secret passion of hers, Natalie has seen her business go from strength to strength.

The Cake Lady, based in Horden, creates decorated cakes for special occasions including birthdays, weddings and christenings.

Natalie relocated her business into the back of a salon in Horden where her business began to thrive, however, when Christmas came she found that she was asking family to help her with cleaning and administrative duties so she could spend time on cooking and developing her business online.

She soon realised that it was vital to take on another pair of hands to support with her running of the business, but couldn’t afford to pay someone a full wage and wasn’t sure if she could find the right person to trust.

Natalie looked online for different options and came across apprenticeships, but struggled to find the right information. She asked friends on her personal Facebook profile who told her about Profound Services.

We spoke with Natalie and guided her through the full process of hiring an apprentice. Natalie told us she was in two minds about hiring an apprentice, commenting: “I didn’t want to be let down. I’ve worked on my own with help from my Mum since setting up, so hiring an apprentice was a big step for me.

I questioned whether I was good enough to be an employer, but Profound give me all the support until I found the right person and was ready.”

Natalie found an apprentice to support her with social media activity and administration tasks.

Jemma Hare started working at The Cake Lady and has introduced two new social media channels and built a website to expand Natalie’s business and bring on new customers!

Jemma told us: “I’ve always been creative – in college, I studied Photography, English Literature, Art and Product Design. I wanted to get a job that I could develop in and use my skills.

When I was job searching, I could only find call centre or retail roles. There was nothing for people without degrees or experience. That’s when my Durham Works Advisor told me about the apprenticeship with The Cake Lady. It’s an amazing opportunity, I love working with Natalie, and I get to help out in lots of areas of the business. Last week I made my own batch of cupcakes and created toppers for them.

Designing the website has definitely been my biggest success so far, and we’re about to hit 1000 views!”

Not only does Jemma work on the social media channels, but she also helps Natalie to design and create cakes for her clients. Natalie said “Hiring Jemma has given me a huge release of pressure. She always does more than what she’s asked, and I can always trust her to do a good job.”

The Cake Lady now has new social channels, new menu options, a website and is about to move into a brand-new premises on Dene Terrace in Horden!

Natalie is due to move into her new premises in August which will be a walk-in store selling ready to eat products meaning the business will receive less pre-ordering, giving Natalie more time to focus on bigger projects. She added: “I honestly wouldn’t have been able to move into new premises if I was still working on my own. It’s been a big change for me. Jemma has helped the business to develop.”

If you’re a small employer and you want to reap in the benefits of hiring an apprentice, please get in touch with Profound Services by contacting 0191 587 4570 or email