Having a stroke at 32 was a real eye-opener for me. I was burning the candle at both ends – getting up at 1am each morning to do baker’s hours – and had far too much on the go at one time.
The stroke was an adversity for sure, but it led to a better outcome in my life. I learned that I had to manage my lifestyle better, and I had to be smarter about how I did business. It forced me to really focus on what I was passionate about, and pursue that niche. It proved that less is more sometimes.
All of my tattoos signify different stages of my life, I have one on my arm that says “If you’re absent during my struggle, don’t expect to be present during my success”. I think the time of my stroke was a struggle, but a few people really stuck by me. There are lots of people you meet during the journey
of life, but only a few in the circle who are there when you really need them. My wife has always been there for me, and supports me whatever my dreams are. She works just as hard as me.
My family moved to Cairns from Melbourne when I was around 10, so I reckon I’m pretty much a local now. I love the people and the laid-back life. I mean, I love the big-city life of Melbourne too, but the weather in Cairns is much better. I used to have dreams of taking on the world, but I’m happy here, and I’ve learned now the importance of keeping life small and simple.
I did my baker’s trade straight out of high school, and have been qualified for 18 years now. After working as a baker and manager at Brumby’s, I established Jackley’s Bakehouse.
We started out seven years ago as a regular bakery with breads and pastries and sausage rolls, but since my stroke, we have morphed into a cake store specialising in all kinds of cakes and cupcakes and left all the stress behind. We opted to order our bread in from other local businesses and concentrate on what our passion is.
I always did cakes for family and friends, but it was just such a passion for me, it seemed like a natural progression. It’s an interesting field to work in, because cakes are just so visually appealing and have an organic reach on social media. If you create something that people love, they will share images of
it on social media – it basically markets itself.
The cake industry is forever trending and changing with the times. Our ability to deliver many different styles is definitely a strength. We keep up to date with new techniques and styles by keeping an eye on industry trends through social media. There are so many talented cake decorators both locally and overseas and having the ability to enjoy everyone’s creative talents via Instagram is awesome.
I used to play a lot of basketball, but these days, it’s all about my family and business. I have two girls, aged 9 and 3, and any spare time I have is spent with them. My 9 year old works in the shop some weekends and has aspirations of following in the legacy myself and my wife are creating, although we are the type of parents to allow her to follow her dreams what ever they may be. We run our family owned business as an extension of our own little family so a lot of our team feel at
home and enjoy working in that environment. We are building a young team of talented cake decorators that will be able to take us into the future.
- Find your passion and stick to it. Life and success are all about following your dreams.
- Work hard. I have learned that nothing good in life comes without hard work. On the other
hand – don’t kill yourself through hard work. My stroke taught me that. Work smart.
- Surround yourself with a small circle of good people who will be there when you need them.
And never forget who helped you along the way.