Interview with Misty Walsh - Misty's Salted Caramel
I have stalked Misty's Salted Caramels Instagram for a while now. She posts the most drool-worthy dessert photos and recipes featuring her home-made salted caramels. And I cannot tell you how psyched I was to meet her at the Finder's Keepers Market in Brisbane.
Misty creates all 7 flavours of salted caramels in her kitchen in Melbourne and has turned her sweet-tooth hobby into her full-time hustle. Her caramel jars are stocked in over 30 stores across Australia, and you might even find your favourite dessert filled with Misty's signature caramels at your local Australian restaurants and bakeries.
You said on your website bio that you started making salted caramels as gifts for your friends and family. How did you begin the entrepreneurial journey that had allowed you to quit your day job?
It all happened very organically. I received a great response from my family and friends, and after thinking it over (over a couple of months), I decided to at least look into how I would start a food business.
It was all so foreign to me. I started with my council and did my research and step by step it happened. I did the hard yards; worked on the business in the evenings and weekends and at my day job during the week. I built the business up to a point where I was able to quit my day job and invest my time into Misty’s Salted Caramel.
How did you get into making salted caramel?
I made salted caramel macarons and worked on a sauce for the filling. When more people liked eating the sauce on its own rather than the macarons, I thought I would make jars for Christmas presents.
Have you always been a crafty person or a foodie?
I’d have to say yes. I’ve always been fairly creative and enjoy creative projects.
I cannot cook to save myself! But I have always loved to bake, something that was passed down from my Nanna. The rest of my family are amazing cooks, so I generally bring the dessert!
What has been the greatest challenge you’ve overcome or learning to overcome?
As a small business owner, you have to be across all aspects of your business; and until you reach a point where it’s justified to outsource you have to learn to do the things that don’t come quite so naturally (accounting, admin etc).
Research is time-consuming, so it’s vital to join up with a few networking groups who you can bounce ideas around with, e.g. “where do you get your boxes made? Which courier company do you use” etc...
What do you consider your greatest achievement so far when it comes to your craft/business?
I’m really proud where the business is today given I’ve done very little business development. Customers/stockists have found the product in their own way and have fallen in love with it.
It’s such a proud feeling when a store approaches you to stock your product. I was recently featured in Gourmet Traveller’s ‘Top Salted Caramel’ story and in the Qantas in-flight magazine, so that’s really special to think that a product I make by hand is highly regarded and that they’ve come across the product organically.
What is one piece of advice you would give someone aspiring to be where you are that they can put into action today?
Think of your product/service, research your competitors, and find a point of difference. You have to do something that stands out from the rest, be the best at what you do. And before you over capitalise, make sure you have a market that is willing to buy your goods or service.
I think a lot of small businesses invest too much too early before they know they have a product that people want.
Besides your ingredients and the tools needed to make salted caramel, what tool could you not live without in your kitchen while you’re creating? (ie. music, podcast, company… )
PODCASTS!!!!!!! It is quite the challenge going from working in a busy office space to working on your own.
Podcasts keep me sane and up to date with what’s going on in the world. Favourites include: How I Built This, Bang On, Lady Startup, No Filter, The Guilty Feminist, Chat 10 Looks 3, Australian True Crime, Conversations.
What is your favourite part of living in Melbourne?
There’s always something going on— it’s a buzz. I love how Melbournians express their creativity. I love how we embrace the food culture and appreciate unique products.
What’s the first thing you do every morning to start your day on the right foot?
Make my bed. It makes me feel organised.
If we could have a sneak peek into your schedule, what would an average day look like for you?
The alarm goes off at 7. Online orders are out ready for courier collection. Have a coffee while I respond to emails and catch up on any admin tasks. Pop a podcast on and jump into the kitchen to start a batch.
On an average day, I like to cook 3 batches which are about 6-7 hours of work. I try to organise something every day that gets me outside, whether it be coffee/lunch with a friend or mentor, a delivery to a stockist, etc just to break up the day.
Of course in the lead up to a busy event and the Christmas period (Oct-Dec) I can be cooking from 6am-2am—CRAZY!
In moments of self-doubt or adversity as an entrepreneur, how do you build yourself back up?
Surround yourself with good people, listen to interviews with really successful people and find out how many setbacks they had before they got to where they are!
What resource (books, podcast, class, mentor) has been the most helpful for you in this last year?
I take a lot from the podcast How I Built This and the saying “every overnight success has been 10 years in the making”. In the world we live in, we want instant gratification and can feel our business is not successful if it doesn’t happen quickly.
It’s good to check in and remind ourselves that it takes time, to be patient and opportunities can come from the most unpredictable sources.
What has been your favourite recipe so far on your website using your salted caramels?
I LOVE the recipe for pork belly. A lot of people don’t think of using salted caramel sauce on savoury dishes but it absolutely works to balance out the saltiness of the pork.
It’s great to chat to people at events about the versatility of Misty’s Salted Caramel and give them ideas that they wouldn’t have thought of.
What is coming up next for you and Misty’s Salted Caramel?
After a really busy trip to Brisbane, I’ve got some new stockist orders to follow up on and then it’s straight back into prepping for Melbourne Finders Keepers on July 13th-15th.
I’ll also be at the Qantas Winter Wine Event in Melbourne on the 28th July. Stay tuned for some exciting changes to packaging which I’ll be working on in the background over the next few months!
My favourite takeaway from chatting with Misty...
Misty is the real deal when it comes to building your dream job from your kitchen. There were so many genuine tips on building and growing your business that it's hard to narrow in on just one favourite takeaway.
I loved the quote she shared, "every overnight success has been 10 years in the making." It's a great reminder to step away from that habit of comparing your success to the highlights of other people's stories.
There's a lot of hard work involved in building a brand, and not every moment is Instagram worthy. What I mean is that people aren't as willing to share the struggles because they aren't always pretty, which is why it's so important to dive into your research and surround yourself with a network of people you can learn from.
Photos supplied by
Misty's Salted Caramel