Your Success Story....

Business By eggsnbakin Updated 22 Jul 2010 , 1:53pm by cakesdivine

eggsnbakin Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 4:36pm
post #1 of 14

Just starting out, I would like to hear from some of you that have gone from starting at home to owning your business and how it happened.

I can't do cakes out of my home, so I am stuck doing it for family and friends. I don't want the risk of doing it out of my home, because there is a lot going on in my life right now and it just isn't worth it.

How did you start out?
Did you take the Wilton courses?
Did you do it out of your home?
How did you know it was time to open your own place?

Just some questions to get you thinking....

13 replies
indydebi Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 10:16pm
post #2 of 14

1. Went with sister in law 25 years ago to order her cake. Sat in a woman's living room and thought "This can't be hard to do!"

2. No wilton courses .... bought a book, some tips and taught myself.

3. Yes, out of my home for quite a while. To be honest, when I did it for 10 years back home, I had no idea what was required. (Health Dept License? you needed one of those? No kidding? Really?). I advertised in newspapers all the time .... I wasn't hidden or flying under the radar. But I guess back then, the HD had no interest in doing their job.

4. When I was having to turn down business due to lack of capacity. When I had to cancel a $10,000+ annual contract due to lack of capacity. But I don't think volume is really the reason. I've been working toward opening my own shop my whole life. There just comes a time when you know it's right .... and I didn't care what hubby thought, what family thought, what anyone thought. I was going to do it, so get the he** out of my way! icon_biggrin.gif

sheila06 Posted 3 Oct 2008 , 10:41pm
post #3 of 14

I started out of a building beside my home, self taught with books , I did take the wilton course about 8 years into decorating because I didn't think my roses looked good. I already knew everything else the course taught except using crisco on your fondant and mat that you roll it on, I always used powdered sugar....crisco is much easier and not so messy.
I opened a store front when a lady I knew was selling her sandwich shop ..cheap.. I bought it with the thought that if I could get in front of the public then it would take off. It has picked up alot since moving from my home. You just know when the time is right! I had to move when I did before someone else opened a bakery in our town...I'm the only one so far.

tanu Posted 21 Jul 2010 , 3:49am
post #4 of 14

wow!!! the responses which have been posted so far are amazing to read and so inspirational but only 2 success stories?.......I know there must be more people here on cc with similar stories...where are they? LOL

bakingpw Posted 21 Jul 2010 , 1:52pm
post #5 of 14

1. I started out when my mother gave me her decorating tips (I was 20) as a gift". I realized this was her way of "passing the torch". Problem was, I hadn't paid any attention to her cakes. I didn't know what to do with them, so went to the library, got books and practiced. Then, I gradually began to give away my practice cakes until people started ordering.

2. I went to a Culinary school and got a Baking & Pastry degree (when I was 40!) Have never taken a Wilton course. Have learned ooddles more here on CC than in culinary.

3. I worked out of my home in a separate licensed kitchen for years!

4. After finishing culinary, I opened a retail bakery because I finally felt ready after completing the degree. I had 3 retail bakeries. Just "retired" in January.

cakesdivine Posted 21 Jul 2010 , 2:35pm
post #6 of 14

My best friend's mom was a pastry chef, and she did cakes out of her home...yes a big no, no here in TX but this was back in the 70's so I guess the HD here didn't worry much about home cakers then either. Her mom also worked for a local bakery as well. Each weekend I would run down the street to watch her decorate. She would let her daughter & I "play" with the filled piping bags after she was done. She taught me how to do basic borders, roses, and some figure piping.

When I was 20 and on maternity leave from work my mom saw how bored I was and enrolled me in a Wilton Class. I had forgotten how much I loved cake decorating. I flew through all the courses then sought out more classes. Took a few from Sur Le Table in Houston, and William Sonoma. Took from Earlene Moore and a few other cake celebs over the years. Did cakes soley for family and friends and worked for a short while decorating cakes for an icecream shop.

I have always been an entreprenuer, owning my own dance studio since 1989. In 1999 my now ex-husband embezzled every dime I had from my studio so I signed it over to my mom, still taught classes at night but didn't receive a paycheck one for the next 2 years. I needed to feed my 3 kids because he was not helping so I took a full time day job as a cake decorator at a grocery store, there I learned how to be fast, learned shortcuts and mass production tricks of the trade. This was an invaluable experience, and one I would not trade for the world. But the break-neck pace soon took it's toll on my hand and I developed carpal tunnel. So moved into management and was again...BORED! So in 2000 the detached garage became my cake studio until 2003 when my divorce was final ahd he got the house in the settlement. I continued to work as a bakery manager all that time for the grocery store but quit in 2004 and went to work for a church that had an event hall. I used their commercial kitchen to do my cake business from until I moved to Canyon Lake, TX. My mom, fiance', and I opened a restaurant that housed my cake shop. We had to close 9 months later due to a lying landlord who told us we were on the city water/sewer system... We weren't! We were on a well and small residential septic. Well after 9 months it flooded the property behind us and the county building inspector was called in. He said he was giving the owner of the property 6 months to fix the situation but in the mean time the restaurant had to close...It put us instantly out of business. I had about $9000 worth of cake orders on the books so I had to move fast to find a place to be. I settled on renting the commercial kitchen at the church I work for.

Now that my grandfather has passed, my mom & I are now in the process of changing my grandfather's welding shop into a commercial kitchen for her catering business and my cake business. I cannot wait until it is finished because the cost of renting commercial kitchen space is KILLING my bottom line...LOL! One thing that is also on the agenda is to rent a very small space to be an order/delivery point and maybe keep some items available for purchase (ie:cupcakes, cookies, pies, etc.) as a storefront. Because there will be no rent on the kitchen itself and the build out will be minimal since we already have all the utilities there, it will only be a kitchen, the storefront will only have coolers and running water necessary to keep some items on hand and also to keep orders ready for pick-up. Really don't need anything big at all for that, and since no cooking will be taking place there will lower utility costs.

jillmakescakes Posted 21 Jul 2010 , 7:24pm
post #7 of 14

ok, so mine will be boring compared to Cakes Divine but here goes:

Mom and grandma always did cakes, so when my oldest asked for a dinosaur cake for his 3rd birthday, I made it. not hard, just lots of stars. after that, I took the wilton courses and sold to my co-workers for about a year. then and evil coworker made a nasy comment and I stopped for about 4 years. After my youngest was born and I was a SAHM, we realized we needed some extra income, so I applied to be a WMI. after a few months of classes, I got the bug again and decided I really wanted to go full throttle, so I researched and used commercial space to build my clientele while I researched and built my bakery. We've been open for just over a year and a half and we now have 3 part-timers, myself and my mom (who does the books)

not horribly exciting, but I think still a success.

cakesdivine Posted 21 Jul 2010 , 7:45pm
post #8 of 14

I thought it was exciting Jill! That is cool your mom and grandma did cakes too! I too once had a cowork on a temp job I was working say something derogatory to me about one of my cakes. I was working for a court reporting firm in DT Houston. The girl even went into the break room before the party, which was for the owner of the firm's birthday, and took a fork and dragged it through the icing, messing it up. You could sort of tell there had been roses on it. You could no longer read what it said. When the owner of the firm learned what she did, she fired her the next day.

When I first walked in the office with the cake she looked at it and said "Oh God, somebody call Foley's and order a real cake from a real baker". Foley's downtown in Houston (now a Macy's) use to have a cafe in it that sold dessert cakes. All the other court reporters looked at her like she was crazy and told me what a beautiful cake it was. It was really pretty too. A basketweave chocolate cake with a floral spray on top.

jillmakescakes Posted 21 Jul 2010 , 8:17pm
post #9 of 14

thanks cakesdivine. I was young and didn't have my cakeballs yet, or I would have told her where her cake could go, but alas, live goes on.

i think the funniest part about my grandma having done cakes is that she insists on telling me (EVERY time I see her) about all of the naughty cakes she used to do icon_eek.gif

tanu Posted 21 Jul 2010 , 8:22pm
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine

My best friend's mom was a pastry chef, and she did cakes out of her home...yes a big no, no here in TX but this was back in the 70's so I guess the HD here didn't worry much about home cakers then either. Her mom also worked for a local bakery as well. Each weekend I would run down the street to watch her decorate. She would let her daughter & I "play" with the filled piping bags after she was done. She taught me how to do basic borders, roses, and some figure piping.

When I was 20 and on maternity leave from work my mom saw how bored I was and enrolled me in a Wilton Class. I had forgotten how much I loved cake decorating. I flew through all the courses then sought out more classes. Took a few from Sur Le Table in Houston, and William Sonoma. Took from Earlene Moore and a few other cake celebs over the years. Did cakes soley for family and friends and worked for a short while decorating cakes for an icecream shop.

I have always been an entreprenuer, owning my own dance studio since 1989. In 1999 my now ex-husband embezzled every dime I had from my studio so I signed it over to my mom, still taught classes at night but didn't receive a paycheck one for the next 2 years. I needed to feed my 3 kids because he was not helping so I took a full time day job as a cake decorator at a grocery store, there I learned how to be fast, learned shortcuts and mass production tricks of the trade. This was an invaluable experience, and one I would not trade for the world. But the break-neck pace soon took it's toll on my hand and I developed carpal tunnel. So moved into management and was again...BORED! So in 2000 the detached garage became my cake studio until 2003 when my divorce was final ahd he got the house in the settlement. I continued to work as a bakery manager all that time for the grocery store but quit in 2004 and went to work for a church that had an event hall. I used their commercial kitchen to do my cake business from until I moved to Canyon Lake, TX. My mom, fiance', and I opened a restaurant that housed my cake shop. We had to close 9 months later due to a lying landlord who told us we were on the city water/sewer system... We weren't! We were on a well and small residential septic. Well after 9 months it flooded the property behind us and the county building inspector was called in. He said he was giving the owner of the property 6 months to fix the situation but in the mean time the restaurant had to close...It put us instantly out of business. I had about $9000 worth of cake orders on the books so I had to move fast to find a place to be. I settled on renting the commercial kitchen at the church I work for.

Now that my grandfather has passed, my mom & I are now in the process of changing my grandfather's welding shop into a commercial kitchen for her catering business and my cake business. I cannot wait until it is finished because the cost of renting commercial kitchen space is KILLING my bottom line...LOL! One thing that is also on the agenda is to rent a very small space to be an order/delivery point and maybe keep some items available for purchase (ie:cupcakes, cookies, pies, etc.) as a storefront. Because there will be no rent on the kitchen itself and the build out will be minimal since we already have all the utilities there, it will only be a kitchen, the storefront will only have coolers and running water necessary to keep some items on hand and also to keep orders ready for pick-up. Really don't need anything big at all for that, and since no cooking will be taking place there will lower utility costs.








I have 2 words.....STRONG AND PERSISTENT! I think there is nothing that can beat that combination. Surely and steadily you will definitely reach your goal!

jenmat Posted 21 Jul 2010 , 9:03pm
post #11 of 14

1.I got dropped into it when I took a job working at an Iowa Walmart deli. The grand opening was just 2 weeks away, and they needed another decorator. I had mentioned to someone in management that I thought it looked like fun, and since I was young and cute (or sort of- the bakery manager was kind of a pig), I got the job and decorated my first wedding cake 2 weeks later on our grand opening. I was 100% hooked. I LOVED my experience at Walmart. I know things have changed there, but I got paid really well, and I got to learn on their dime. And get really, really fast. When we moved I also took a job at a bakery in town to keep my skills up until I was ready to go on my own.

2. NEVER took a Wilton course, and never would. Their techniques are TOO slow and complicated. I wasn't going to switch tips or bags to make a rose! I taught myself and have half a library here to help. I did take a few courses at our local cake shop from a visiting cake whiz, and those were amazing.

3. I am able to get licensed from home, so we actually built our house right on top of the bakery. We needed a house anyway, so it was more cost-effective to just build than renovate.

4. I have taken baby steps throughout the whole process. I am cautious, and I never cross the street with the business without looking both ways about 20 times. I will probably one day have a storefront, but I know I need to be ready financially, physically and in my family life. It is not something to jump into, and you really have to weigh the costs. As others have said, when you have your own shop, you only touch cakes 25% of the time. I want to touch cakes all the time, so I stay at home icon_smile.gif. So right now, I'm totally happy where I am, although I do still look wistfully at the storefronts for rent around town!

cheatize Posted 22 Jul 2010 , 12:20am
post #12 of 14

Cakesdivine: you MUST write your story. As a novel. That's best seller material. I'm sure it sucks to live it, but WOW! What a story!

My story is in the very beginning stages so I really don't have anything to share. Love reading everyone else's so far, though!

sandeeb Posted 22 Jul 2010 , 3:41am
post #13 of 14

I started over 20 years ago when my neighbor,who took a wilton decorating class, gave me her decorating supplies. I had always cooked and baked a lot so cake decorating sort of came naturally. I worked for months trying to learn how to make a pretty rose and eventually I did learn
that. The rest of the baking and decorating just followed. I did work out of my house for quite a few years with no problems from the health dept.
When the two ladies that had a cake supply business decided to sell I was interested. I bought the supplies they had and my husband started right away building me a shop to sell supplies. So many customers wanted to order cakes we added on a kitchen,built according to health dept. standards, and got approval on inspection to open our bakery. Special orders only of course. It has been a very good little business and the shop is in my yard so it is very convienent. I no longer take cake orders,health reasons, but we still sell lots of supplies. We also make and sell the ''Wedding Bouquet Flavoring'' that Sugarshack uses in her icing recipe.
The whole experience has been very positive. I really enjoy meeting with and talking to all of the cake decorators that come in to shop.
sandeeb icon_smile.gif

cakesdivine Posted 22 Jul 2010 , 1:53pm
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheatize

Cakesdivine: you MUST write your story. As a novel. That's best seller material. I'm sure it sucks to live it, but WOW! What a story!

My story is in the very beginning stages so I really don't have anything to share. Love reading everyone else's so far, though!




I actually am working on that. Of course that is such a condensed summarization...LOL!

I have an extensive dance background and cakes are my other passion. At this point in my life both are equal passions for me so I am still juggling the two. Sometimes I think "Okay I am going to stop teaching dance and only judge competitions once & awhile, and go at my cake biz full steam". Then I go teach a dance class, and think "I just can't walk away from these kids, I love this, this is me". So I struggle with that on a daily basis. Then I do a bridal show or go to a cake event, or get an awesome cool order that I chomp at the bit to do, and then I only want to focus on my cakes...Add all the personal turmoil I have experienced in my life and am still experiencing and you are right...book worthy...LOL! Maybe when I am 80 I will try to get it published. It is still a work in progress icon_smile.gif

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