In 2022, year 12 student Ebony May was spending her weekends baking and delivering cakes for her small business, Ebony May Bakes. Then in November of that year, Ebony made the life-changing decision to document her baking on TikTok.
Thirteen months and 150,000 followers later, Ebony is now planning to build a commercial-grade kitchen to keep up with demand. And she’s also looking for a supplier to manufacture her own line of aprons.
As if she wasn’t juggling enough, the Queanbeyan-based entrepreneur is studying business full-time at the University of Canberra.
Ebony first went viral when she posted a video called ‘A day in the life of a cake business owner’ to TikTok.
“I remember checking on the video before bed and it had gotten 12,000 views, and it was increasing by thousands every second.”
Within a few days, Ebony’s video had amassed 1.7 million views.
Reflecting on that time, Ebony – who wasn’t allowed a smartphone until she was 16 – says it was “definitely very surreal.”
“It was just crazy, and my family was just like ‘what is going on?'”
In addition to launching her career as an influencer, Ebony’s TikTok success saw demand for her cakes grow so much that she was able to quit her retail job in April the following year.
“The awareness that it brought to my brand and my products made it take off. I always had a pretty strong customer base, but it went crazy when I started my TikTok.”
As of 2024, Ebony posts around three TikToks a day, with each video averaging around 50,000 viewers.
While TikTok fame has served her business well, Ebony admits it can also “get a bit overwhelming”.
“Just last night I went out for dinner and I saw someone in the corner of my eye trying to sneakily take photos of my face. That’s happened before and it just makes you feel uncomfortable.”
Nonetheless, Ebony says the majority of her interactions with fans are wholesome.
“They are the reason I am where I am, so I feel like I should be grateful to them and I love when they come up and say hi.”
When asked how her family responded to her going viral, Ebony said her mum was sceptical at first.
“Mum’s never been super keen on social media, but now I think she appreciates how it’s helped my business grow and the opportunities it’s created for my future.”
While most influencers from smaller cities move to Sydney or Melbourne, Ebony says she’s not going anywhere.
“I definitely want to stay in Canberra; if I need to go to Sydney for an event or a business opportunity, I can just drive up. My manager is based there but my family is here so I would never want to leave this place.”
As for the future of her business, Ebony has big plans. In addition to having her logo redesigned professionally, she’s also looking to launch her own line of products that can be shipped across Australia.
“Obviously, you can’t ship cake inter-state, so right now, I’m looking into different manufacturers and the kind of aprons they can produce with my branding. I’m also looking at what foods can be shipped.”
With demand for her cakes increasing, Ebony is also gearing up to build a commercial kitchen in her garage this year.
“That’s gonna increase my capacity to fill orders and meet that increase in demand, so it’s definitely my biggest priority this year.”
You can purchase Ebony’s cakes online via her website or at her stall at the Queanbeyan markets.
Original Article published by Ryan Bourke on Riotact.