Anna Farthing started her first business as a hobby, with a focus on cupcakes, but after taking some time out she realized the market landscape had changed. She is a great example of someone who experienced competition in her marketplace and adapted to meet the challenge to succeed.
Doughheads started in her home kitchen as a small, pop up market stall and has built into a well-loved brand with a tribe of over 60,000 doughnut lovers.
As the Founding Director and Head Troublemaker at Doughheads she not only developed and refined the recipes, she has driven the business to the success it sees today.
- What career path led you to where you are now?
I started in finance and worked for a small financial services firm as a client relationship manager and then I decided to go and have another child. I have always loved baking and was just doing it from home and I did some baking from home and sold it at markets for a few years and then about 2013 I just decided that I would really love to create something a bit different, something that would bring some vibrancy to Newcastle, something that would just blow people’s minds and so I started to look into what that might be and we came up with Doughheads.
- What has been your biggest learning curve in your career?
I got into small business because I love being creative and I thought if I could spend hours just being creative, making a product that people love and selling it to them, then everything would be perfect. But I soon learnt that as Doughheads grew and we got busier and busier I had to put on more staff members and so we went from one person behind a brand to now being a team of 20 people.
That has been an incredibly difficult learning curve, to manage all of those different people with their needs and their wants and Doughheads has always strived to create a workplace culture that puts people ahead of profits. So we’ve always wanted our staff to feel like they are really valued team members and so we could give them a place to come to work that they would love and have just as much fun as we have had creating the brand.
- As a younger businessowner, what advice do you have for others that may be considering branching out?
Advice, I would say do it. There will never be the perfect time to branch out on your own – you just have to take the plunge and do it. Get some really good people behind you, make sure you’ve got a great accountant, get a business advisor if that’s where you feel necessary, but just do it!
At some point you are just going to have to take that risk and step out and put everything that you’ve got into your idea. Otherwise you will never get around to it.
- Where would you like to be in 10 years?
I see myself having built a business that is long standing and is comfortable enough to keep going so that I can be the CEO and also then work on my personal brand. I would love to be travelling the world and empowering other people to take the same steps that I’ve taken in launching out on their own and beginning a business.
- Have you had any significant Hunter-based mentors during your career that inspire you?
Absolutely! So the first one that I would say was my boss at the financial planning firm. He taught me that you don’t have to go with the status quo – he was one of the first financial advisors who thought that going with a flat fee service was better for his clients and he taught me to go for a niche market. You don’t have to be everybody’s cup of tea, that is absolutely OK. Choose what you are good at and stick to your guns with it – be the best at what you do.
The second one would probably be our accountant who really took me on as a very small business when I was just baking as a hobby to sell at the markets. She does a series for small businesses called L platers and she takes them through P platers and we are now doing our black ops and she has taught me that as even as a small business owner you can either create yourself a job or you can create a business. If you are creating a business then you’re not the one there to have fun and do the creative, the baking part of it, you have to have a bigger mindset. So right from the beginning I had that mindset of how do I replace myself, how do I grow the business so that it has longevity, how do I create a brand not just a product – she really took us from a small business and has helped us to expand our mindset so that we’re not locked into being a small business, we can keep growing and expanding beyond that.
With thanks to Hunter Young Professionals who Hunter Headline collaborated with to source this interviewee.