Discover how self-taught confectionery artist Nikki Symons built her baking business on Instagram.

Childhood friends turned business partners, Karmen de Reuck and Nikki Symons realised a lifelong dream of launching an online based confectionery business named Sweet LionHeart. It’s known for its delicious treats and beautiful creations, which are displayed on their popular Instagram page. 

Founder and Creative Director of Sweet Lionheart, Nikki Symons.

Nikki Symons explains the origins of their name. “The name Sweet LionHeart is derived from a song by an artist called Porter Robinson, which is titled ‘LionHearted’. The song played a large role in a turning point in my life, when I had decided to start the business,” shares the founder and creative director.

This confectionery queen is formally trained as a graphic designer but thanks to her time growing up in the kitchen with her mom and grandmother, and her experience working for a food magazine, she’s developed a deep passion for what she’s doing today. 

“I slowly started to fall in love with food photography and styling when working at an online food magazine, and I subsequently started a food blog with my mom. Then going into the pastry side of things, I found a very natural translation of my love for design into an edible world that happened to be filled with sugar,” says Nikki. 

In addition to the background that Nikki already had, much of what she learnt came from watching YouTube videos and tutorials from master bakers based around the world. 

“We like to approach what we do as a type of art. Yes, our cakes are like canvases for us, which also leads to every single cake design being unique. You’ll see that if a cake design is executed by a different person, it has a different take on it. While being the same design, same methods, same technique, everyone has their unique personality that they add to the end results.”     

Since inception in 2015, Sweet LionHeart has grown to offer a variety of mini cakes, vegan treats and a bespoke service for those looking for something unique. They also offer courses online and in Cape Town, and fun accessories to decorate your own baked goods.  

Nikki’s DIY approach extends to photography, as she’s realised the value of beautifully presenting her creations to the public.  

“I find myself in the very fortunate position that I’m photographing content that already speaks for itself. So the setup for the photographs used for our social media is a very simple setup. I really let the cake shine and speak for itself,” shares the creative inbetween sharing her styling tips and approach to Instagram. 

The Sweet LionHeart story is one where passion and hard work have created a successful business through sharing beauty and deliciousness with the world.