How James Willis created The Mason Baker, scored a partnership with Maggie Beer, and won over sharks Naomi Simson and Andrew Banks

Eloise Keating - SmartCompany - 11 July 2018

For entrepreneur James Willis, success has come from making the most of the opportunities he’s been presented with, however unexpected.

Willis is the founder of The Mason Baker, a unique gift company that allows shoppers to order and send gourmet cupcakes in jars to anywhere in Australia, and which received a deal on last night’s episode of Shark Tank.

He founded the company in 2016, having worked as a development manager for Nirvac and in site acquisitions and retail leasing for Coles.

The idea for The Mason Baker products came from a sense of personal frustration; Willis had ordered cupcakes as a gift for his sister but when the treats arrived in the mail, they didn’t resemble anything like a cupcake. It was a problem he wanted to solve and he’d seen other companies in the US tackle the same segment of the gift market.

But Willis tells SmartCompany the opportunity to learn how to do that solving came from his day job; while working in the retail leasing team at Coles he was required to spend time working on the shop floor. He chose to spend that time in the bakery department. Read more

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