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'I would love a small bakery one day'

Laura Boland's business actually came about thanks to the smoking ban.

"I was working in a nightclub and things started to slow down due to the smoking ban so my hours were cut," explains the 36-year-old.

"I started to spend time baking -- I'd always been interested in it but now I had a lot more time on my hands. I got to the stage where I was baking more than my daughter and I could eat so I started to think about getting a stall on a market.

"That didn't happen so instead I found a local deli in Limerick called Ivan's that was interested in taking some muffins and cupcakes.

"The cupcakes proved to be really popular -- at the time, Sex and the City was featuring cupcakes made at the Magnolia Bakery in New York. And a lot of people were using tiers of cupcakes instead of a traditional wedding cake."

Laura gradually built the business up while still working at night. She is now at the stage where she is baking five or six days a week.

"A lot of the business is down to word of mouth and I get calls from people who've tasted the cupcakes at someone's wedding and want to get the same for their big day. I also supply cupcakes for some corporate events.

"I would say it's really in the past two years that I've been able to make a living from the business.

"Even during the recession, people want to be able to treat themselves and cupcakes don't cost too much.

"I work from my kitchen at home and baking involves getting up early in the morning -- 4.30 or 5am -- but it means I can get a lot of work done before my daughter gets up for school.

"The fact that my commute to work is a 10-foot walk from the bedroom is a huge bonus too.

"I'm happy working from home -- it's easier to keep costs down, as hiring a unit would be expensive. But I would love to get a small bakery one day -- that would be my ultimate goal."

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