Over the years I have perfected countless procedures, schedules, and skills. I use the term “perfected” loosely here, because what I have finally found to work perfectly for me, may not necessarily work perfectly for everyone. I feel as though for you to understand my madness, I need to take you back in time a bit to really get an idea of why I do things the way I do.
When I started learning to decorate cakes, I was still in high school. My love for Food Network and all things Challenge and Duff Goldman consumed every extra moment I had. Having acquired a love for art class during my senior year, I quickly realized that cake decorating could go from a hobby of mine to a business. I began making cakes with one of my family members and selling them to anyone who showed the slightest interest in our “business”. It was quite a ride. We were both so new to cake decorating and simultaneously trying to teach ourselves the “right” way to do things. During this time, I realized that the cake decorating business I thought I could create wasn’t going to be an easy ride. We endured late nights, cranky customers, cake-tastrophes, tear-filled deliveries– you name it, we encountered it! It was rough to say the least. But we both learned. With every cake, we learned something. We learned what to do and what NOT to do, and we both grew tremendously as decorators — as artists.
When it was time to choose a college, I seriously considered attending culinary school here in Louisiana. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to live in this respect. I toured several campuses, and while I loved the art of cooking, I didn’t plan on pursuing a career in the restaurant industry. Pastry school seemed a little more my style, but I still couldn’t get passed the lack of cake decorating courses in the curriculum. Sure, after graduation I would have mastered the souffle and been able to create a killer creme brulee, but let’s be honest here — when would I ever use that in a cake decorating business? After much deliberation, I decided to attend LSU and major in business. Looking back on it now, I would have probably enjoyed a minor in marketing (my new-found love) and graphic design, but that’s neither here nor there. I had entrepreneurship in my blood, and a desire to succeed – just like my parents.
I continued to make cakes even after high school graduation, and began growing a small clientele. Shortly after LSU orientation I discovered I was expecting my beautiful baby girl, and my plans quickly for LSU changed. I have to say that at the time, I was unsure of what the future may hold for me as far as my education and blossoming cake business was concerned. That little girl has been the biggest blessing I could have ever received. Not only is she my absolute world, but I didn’t attend LSU immediately after high school, and honestly, I didn’t need to.
Maybe if I had attended the LSU Business Program I would have known the “right” way to do things right off the bat. And maybe if I had attended culinary school I would have found my go-to recipes faster, but who knows — and quite frankly, who cares? I have been able to spend every moment with my daughter, which is absolutely priceless. It took a lot of legwork (and 5 years), but I am finally at a point where I feel like I have a grasp of my business. I have perfected my recipes for my clientele, I have developed schedules and procedures that work for me, and I have been able to spend time with the love of my life while doing it. It hasn’t been easy, or stress-free to say the least, but I did it — and you can too.
The purpose of this post isn’t to brag, or say that I’m super successful — because while I feel like I have made progress, I still have a LONG way to go. The purpose of this post is to inspire anyone who reads it, to show that things won’t necessarily go as planned, but if you are determined to succeed, you can and you will.
There are so many cake decorators out there, whether they are moms, dads, or just hard-working single people. Across the board, there are certain aspects of the business that are the same for everyone. My biggest struggle over the past 5 years has been time management. I would have given ANYTHING to have all of the answers handed to me at the beginning. But having been through the ringer, I look back on my experiences and see that they have molded me into the person I am today, and I am thankful for that. I am thankful that every time I wanted to quit, or asked myself “What the hell was I thinking?” there has been someone there to show me why I am doing this. I have had incredible support from amazing husband and family, and I am thankful for that. I am also thankful to be in the position where I may be able to help ease the process for some of you going through the same challenges I faced.
I have tweaked recipes to get them exactly how my clients like them.
I have written and rewritten contracts and policies and emails over and over again until I have covered every possible problem I could encounter.
I have made to do lists and business plans only to run out of hours in the day trying to complete them.
I have made schedules and timelines to manage my time for each week’s orders.
I have encountered several business endeavors, many failed — some successful.
I have come up with countless inventions to make life easier – and one day I’ll find the time to patent them.
But the most important part about this entire post, is that I have put them all into one place for YOU to use. I will have my documents, templates, tasting guides, weekly schedules, to-do lists, business plans, business endeavor tips, and more available for sale in my online store in the coming weeks.
You literally insert your business information into these forms and you are ready to go. No more forgetting emails. No more lost contracts or missed lock-out dates. No more late rentals. No more ALL NIGHTERS, and the list goes on.
If you would like to make your life a little easier this year, I would strongly suggest looking into these online templates. I will post them as soon as they are ready … so stay tuned.
I hope that I have inspired some of you today, and I thank you for taking the time to support Sweet Elizabeth. Happy New Year!
AHHHH!!! The Bridal Packet is available for purchase in our shop! I could not be more excited to share this priceless information with all of you cakers out there who are having a hard time getting all of your processes down pat. Please check out the link below to learn more about our new line of downloadable templates and documents (including contracts, checklists, tasting tips, consultation layouts, and MORE!) MORE TO COME SOON!