Local Women in Business Series
meet Elaine Parnell
from love cake
Elaine Parnell is the owner of Love Cake. She lives in East Auckland with her husband and two teenage children.
Elaine has many years experience dealing with food allergies and intolerances, so knows what a stress and struggle it can be to cater for them when it comes to home baking. She is passionate about supporting others in who find themselves in the same situation with good quality, great tasting alternatives, that everyone wants to eat, not just has to eat because they can’t eat the alternative. She gets a kick out of knowing often non-allergy people are eating AND enjoying her products, not always realising they are gluten/dairy/soy/egg-free!
When Elaine is not sending out your orders or working behind the scenes on Love Cake, you’ll find her reading, kayaking with her family, being a Taxi Mum or supporting Rhythmic Gymnastics.
We recently caught up with Elaine to hear more about her business journey…
How long have you owned Love Cake? Since the beginning of November 2020, so it’s been just over a year now!
What led you to become the owner of Love Cake? Lucky chance! I had used Love Cake chocolate cake for my kids’ birthday parties for many years – amongst my friends it was considered the only edible gluten-free cake! Both my kids have food allergies, and we have friends who are intolerant to gluten or coeliac, so it was nice to be able to make a cake that everyone could eat. When the business came up for sale, I was super excited as I really believed in the product, and I was also looking to do something different having been a lecturer for many years. I have no regrets!
What do you love about your business? The products! I love that it is possible to make delicious baking that is safe for so many. It’s particularly hard for children to be left out at occasions so I love that my products provide an easy way to include everyone.
What is special about Love Cake? It’s delicious and so easy to make! It’s free from many common allergens, not just one or two. It’s also different from most other gluten-free mixes in that it doesn’t contain corn.
Who is your dream customer? Anyone who likes eating home-baking! Anyone that needs to avoid multiple foods for health or lifestyle reasons can feel safe eating Love Cake products.
If your business were an animal, what would it be and why? That’s fun! I’ll have to think a minute! I think it would have to be a penguin, as they work together as a community, feed and nurture others and make people smile.
Why should someone buy from Love Cake? Love Cake mixes are enjoyed by everyone, not just those on a restricted diet. The mixes are suitable for so many occasions: children’s birthday parties, taking a plate to a daycare that is nut free, treats for coeliac friends, baby showers with vegan guests, kids’ lunchboxes… I also pride myself on providing an excellent customer experience. I’m available at the other end of the phone if you’ve got any queries about our products, or your order and I always aim to get and your order out on the courier the next day.
What’s your favourite Love Cake product? Why? Chocolate cake with icing – I love that it is so easy to make up and that the texture is like a gluten cake. In fact, people often don’t know it’s gluten free unless you tell them!
Do you have a favourite recipe using Love Cake products you could share with us? I love using the mixes as a base to add extra bits and pieces like frozen berries and safe chocolate chips to the muffins or swirling caramel sauce (the Barkers one is gluten free and vegan) on top of the brownie.
What is one piece of advice (general life or business) that you can share with those reading this? My yoga teacher used to always say, “Take from it what you want and leave what you don’t.” I feel this applies so well to many aspects of life, particularly when people want to give you advice – I’m thinking of you new mums!
How can we support LOVE CAKE right NOW, this period of lockdown restrictions? Continuing to buy from us online, especially if you can’t get out to your local shops. And tell your friends about us, especially those who have to juggle food restrictions, as well as lockdown restrictions. Perhaps deliver them some LOVE CAKE baking to put a smile on their face at this time, and do a cheeky plug for us as well, when they compliment you on the taste! A batch of LOVE CAKE brownies would make a great easy teacher gift, as we head towards Christmas.
If you would like to give Love Cake a try you can order their products direct from their website: https://lovecake.co.nz/
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