What were you doing (careerwise) when you decided to create
your own business?
I worked in the fashion industry as an accessories buyer for 10 years. Though my profession satisfied my love of shopping, it did not fulfill me and definitely was not my passion.
When did you start your business?
I started my business in 2010, shortly after throwing my daughter’s third-birthday party. I had always loved planning parties and decorating cupcakes. However, despite family, friends, and coworkers constantly urging me to start my own business, I was very apprehensive. I had been intimidated and afraid of approaching the world of fondant! Last year I decided to face my fears and teach myself how to utilize fondant to make little horses for my daughter’s cowgirl-themed party, and I never turned back.
When did you know that you could really make a go of
When my passion grew stronger, the more parties I planned and the more cupcakes I decorated!
How did you turn your dream into a business plan?
I had a vision of where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do with the business, but the key was (and still is) to ensure I constantly review this plan and be flexible. I often have to improvise and learn as I go!
What inspired you to do this?
I began to realize that time was not about to wait for anyone, much less little ol’ me, and I did not want to turn around and look back at the life I wish I had lived.
What was your start-up cost? How did you get the money, and
what did you use it for?
I invested the little money that I had to purchase baking and decorating supplies and a logo design. There are countless things still on my wish list, but I had to prioritize and decide what was necessary.
What was the biggest obstacle?
Finance and time management. It’s not easy when you are first starting out and lack a steady flow of income as you build up a clientele base. Planning and prioritization became key in maintaining a balance among all my orders and jobs -- and my most important job of being a mother.
Did your friends and family support your dream?
My family and friends have never been anything but supportive of me my entire life and this endeavor has been no exception. Even when I told my parents I wanted to major in dramatic arts in college and my mother asked me, “Don’t you like computers?!” they continued to support me, and though my mother is not a crafts and baking enthusiast, she is the first to offer help! I truly would not nor could not be doing this if I did not have all their support and encouragement.
How did you maintain your confidence when doors were closed
in your face, when people didn’t get it or said “No”?
It can definitely be disheartening and, though it’s much easier said than done, I try to maintain confidence by reminding myself I’m doing what I love, which is certainly worth fighting for and crucial to my happiness.
How long did it take you to get everything off the
It’s still a continuous process! Since I do not have a retail location, I began by creating a Facebook page and a blog and am currently working toward opening an Etsy shop to expand my exposure.
How long did it take for your business to become
Because of low overhead and low variable expenses, my cupcake and party planning have been quite lucrative. Of course, because my business is still relatively new, most of those earnings are reinvested into supplies and crossing items off of my wish list.
What’s the hardest part of what you do?
Pacing myself, staying on schedule, and having realistic expectations. I think we could all use more time in the day!
What's the most fun part of what you do?
Researching, designing, and creating! I love witnessing customers’ reactions to the end result of all my hard work, making it all worthwhile!
Where do you work from?
I currently work from home, but hopefully as business grows I can move into a commercial kitchen and studio.
Do you have employees?
I do not have any permanent employees but everyone needs a little help sometimes, so I enlist the help of my family whenever necessary. My father is a retired banker and has been most helpful with basic business functions. I am extremely lucky to have them and so grateful for their assistance!
How have you been using social media to grow your
Social media has been vital in launching my business! It has provided me a means of advertising and reaching a wider audience on a low budget. Facebook has been an amazing vehicle to connect with customers and network within the party industry. I have spent countless hours online to absorb and learn as much as I could and it has definitely paid off, as it has pointed me toward communities with immensely supportive members, such as Dreamers into Doers. I also maintain a blog to share my work, upload photos to Flickr, and will soon start Twitter. Social media has allowed me to expand my business from local to national -- and even international!
Do you have entrepreneurial role models? What’s so inspiring
Most definitely! The long list includes women, such as the one and only Martha Stewart, who believed in themselves to utilize their creativity, passion, and drive to make it their career. I marvel everyday at the awe-inspiring work these women create, and it urges me to work harder to follow in their footsteps.
How did you learn and acquire the skills you use to make your
business successful? How do you continue to grow and learn?
I am self-taught in the art of cupcake/cake decorating and party planning, and have oodles still to learn! I grew up being inspired by the creativity of my father, who made my fabulous childhood birthday cakes, and my talented sister-in-law, who passed away and with whom I wish I could share my achievements. I make use of their creativity to constantly learn, develop, and adapt.
What's the best piece of business advice you ever
It does not pertain just to business, but my father always told me to have fun whether I was going to school, going on a trip, or going to work … and that’s what I finally decided to do in my career.
If you had it to do over again, what, if anything, would you
I would have believed that I could take the plunge a lot sooner … and done it!
What is your favorite service that you offer?
My favorite aspect of the services I offer is the personalization I apply to my cupcakes and parties. I especially love when a customer provides me with a theme or inspiration and gives me the freedom to create designs according to my vision. Each order is a fun challenge; I have done my job when my customers feel that the final product has been custom-tailored to their needs.
What advice would you give to Dreamers who haven’t become
Be happy. If you are not happy with your job, reevaluate your priorities and what fulfills you, and determine how you can make it your career. Of course, it is not so cut-and-dried, and everyone has obligations they cannot ignore. But if you are truly passionate about your dream, believe in yourself enough to take the initial steps and you will make it into a reality.