By adding a personal and special touch, Cake toppers are now a ‘must-have’ accessory for all celebratory occasions. Back in 2018, Dheethika Perera was one of the first to recognise this trend by founding ‘Caketoppers.lk’, a business that, true to its name, provides customised cake toppers for all special occasions. With many established bakers as long-time clients, Dheethika’s business has grown and expanded over the years and she is now a known name in the industry. In this interview, we talk to Dheethika about her business, the personalised touch she continues to offer and the constantly growing demand for cake toppers over the years.
What was the project that first launched the idea to start Caketoppers.lk?
I started Caketoppers.lk because my cousin who is the owner of Cece’s By Che, asked me if I could cut out a topper for her. I didn’t even realise I was getting into toppers with this project! I said ‘yeah sure, why not. I will help you out’ and she insisted on paying me for it. I remember printing and tracing and cutting and not being happy with the end result and redoing this a few times. She was very happy with the end result and then about a week later, she asked me for another and this went on for a few months where I would be cutting out toppers.
At that time, my baby was about 6 months old and I was home most of the time, so I had a few hours each day to cut a few toppers by hand. And then I had the opportunity to cut these toppers more precisely with wood and acrylic, increasing my potential and with that, we started Caketoppers.lk. After Cece’s by Che, Miss Whisk was one of my other pioneer clients. A few of my clients have challenged me with various different product requirements and because of that, we have now developed a range of personalised products that are easily customised to the needs of the bakers and consumers.
What does Caketoppers.lk offer?
We offer mainly Cake Toppers made of Wood and Acrylic. But over the last year, I have been researching and developing a lot of new products as and when it's needed for the bakers as well as our clients. We now have a variety of customised cake scrapers ranging from letter and number stamps to cookie and cake stamps that can be either embossed/impressed or outbossed/expressed. I am mainly into customising so I don’t have any products available in stock. I design each and every item from the time the order is placed. Therefore, nothing is instant and I take my time to design and process each item.
As a result, I don’t take any orders with less than 3 days notice and I usually ask 5 to 7 working days to process most orders. This is mainly to maintain quality. Our clientele isn’t only limited to Colombo, it is island wide and they are not only bakers but also a lot of couples and individuals celebrating different events; from weddings, birthdays, communions, baptisms, bridal showers and baby showers as well as the corporate clients. We have celebrated quite a few corporate events and created toppers to resemble the logos.
How did you find yourself in the baking industry?
I am actually a qualified interior designer and Architect! But now I am not sure what you call my designation. When I got out of university about 8 years back, I was in the Middle East and I used to bake for family and friends and had a little home-baking business going on whilst working in the design industry. However, I developed an intolerance for gluten and I totally gave up on the whole idea of baking or anything related to it as it was so difficult to find anything gluten-free related back then and I just didn’t like the idea of baking something I couldn’t taste. How could I even know if what I baked was good? So, I stopped baking around 2015 and just 2 years later I found myself back in the industry – only this time as a supplier of cake toppers! Never in my wildest dreams, did I think I would come to this point of being able to provide bakers with accessories or tools that will help in their baking needs.
How important is quality to you when it comes to your products?
This is so very important to me. I believe for us to be a successful business; quality is more important than quantity. This is why I do not take any instant topper orders, or any orders less than 3 working days. Each and every topper, whether it is customised or a generic wording, is designed from scratch. I design every single topper and monitor as they get cut. I personally spray, assemble and ensure that every product is carefully packaged and sent to customers.
All materials are bought by myself and my husband; we go to the local outlets and get them by personally checking the quality of each and every sheet of raw material we purchase. When it comes to acrylic, it’s an imported item, but we still personally go and buy what we think is of good and supreme quality. Nothing in my little workshop is outsourced, it’s personally overseen and done by us and each and every product is completed with a lot of love. I update all my clients from the start of design to approval, and then when it is cut and ready. They get about 2 to 3 images of each and every step of our work. Most of my clients have become friends or I have gotten to know most of them on a personal level, due to the personalised service I provide.
A popular feedback that comes from most of the clients is that ‘the topper made a huge difference' or ‘the topper completed my cake!’ and that makes me very happy. Our latest product is stamps and we use a biodegradable food-safe product for this. Saying that, all our products are food safe, I don’t use glitter powder on products because it isn’t edible so I opt to use glitter sticker sheets instead.
Of all the lovely cake toppers you offer, what is the most popular and what’s your most favourite creation?
There are quite a few toppers that tested my design limits and these ones hold a special place in my heart as the whole process took a few weeks of designing. Some of my regular clients push my designing skills every time! My most popular toppers of all time are the ‘Mr and Mrs’ for which we’ve now created a few designs and the “One” topper since we celebrate a lot of first birthdays!
‘Happy Birthday’ Is comparatively my least selling topper, but customised birthday toppers is my main item. I love customising and that is what Caketoppers.lk is all about. Something small with a big impact.
How has the demand for cake toppers changed over the years and how do you see it continue into the future?
In the last 2 years since I began, there are now a lot of people who are doing a lot of toppers. It’s now a must-have cake accessory and I feel it won’t fade for a while but rather continue to evolve in its form. I see a lot of my wedding clients have included cake toppers in their list of things to have so this will only increase in the future. With Covid and lots of people not celebrating events, cakes have still been something in demand and thereby Cake Toppers have been in high demand to make that cake extra special!