Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Valentine's Day Cupcake Special

Truly Custom Cakery, LLC is offering a Cupcake Special for Valentine's Day this year! 
  • Design as Shown in Photo.
  • $2.75 each for Standard Flavor
  • $3.00 each for Premium Flavor
  • Add. $.25 for filling
  • Minimum order 24 cupcakes
  • Two dozen standard flavor cupcakes decorated as shown $66.00! 
  • Order must be received by Tuesday, February 7th, 2012.
Happy Valentine's Day!!!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Current Specials at Truly Custom Cakery, LLC

As you know from recent posts, it's been an exciting two years since we opened for business and our future success is contingent on our ability to continue growing and getting the word out to the Bucks County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia areas. Our goal is to reach the entire Philadelphia area with our Delicious and Award Winning Custom Designed Cakes.

So, every now and again I like to offer a special or two in an effort to spread the word about Truly Custom Cakery, LLC.

 We currently have three specials available!! 
To view these specials in detail, VISIT OUR WEBSITE

  • We have 3 fixed price cake options for when you want a special occasion cake that stands out from the crowd, tastes AMAZING, but you don't want to pay custom cake prices.
  • We have a $25.00 coupon for your custom cake order of $200.00 or more.
  • AND most exciting, for a limited time we have reduced our minimum order to $150.00! 

To view these specials in detail, VISIT OUR WEBSITE.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Highlight Reel

When I started Truly Custom Cakery, I did it out of necessity. I was starting to get a LOT of requests from people to make custom cakes for them. But, without being licensed, I had to turn them away. So, we decided that instead of watching money walk away, it was time to take the next step. It was an easy decision because the laws of our area allow me to work right out of my home kitchen. For a very small financial investment, I was able to get my inspection, license, insurance, and file all the necessary legal paperwork.

Over time, I started getting too many requests for what my kitchen would allow me to handle. I decided that it was time to raise my minimum order amount so that I could work smarter, rather than harder. I've done that 3 times since Truly Custom Cakery, LLC opened in November of 2009. Then a year ago, we renovated the kitchen so I could have 2 ovens, move counter space, and more storage in my small 10' x 12' kitchen. Raising my minimums increased the quality of the orders I was receiving from a financial standpoint, but as a result, I've had to turn away a LOT of business. It was a decision made out of necessity. I just can't do it all. And if you could choose between a $75 cake or a $350 cake, which order would you rather have??? No brainer...

BUT... What if I could take those smaller orders too? What about all the people that were my customer when I started and can't afford me anymore? What about the people that taste my cakes and like it so much, call to order, and then walk away when they hear my price? Is it good business to turn them away? Or should I have been growing instead of shrinking my customer base? And how do I combat the feast/famine scenario? It happens all the time. You have a week with more orders than you can handle and you turn away several more. Then, the very next week, NOTHING! Not even a phone call! I'd probably have cakes those weeks too if I hadn't raised that minimum... But, like I said, I can't do it all. I'm just one person.

And therein lies the next question. Should I remain just one person? When is the right time to expand? How do you know when you should take that leap of faith and change your circumstances so that you CAN take all the orders that come your way. When do I say "YES" to all the Pastry Arts students that ask to intern with me?

And of course, if I do move forward.... HOW? I mean, the economy is pretty lousy! Do I get a business loan and take a chance at a brick and mortar shop? Isn't that a bit risky in this economy? And then I'm not a stay at home mom anymore. Which I really would miss! Do I build a garage out back for my husband and convert my existing garage into a shop? I could have displays, a workroom, a place to meet with clients, and a place for staff/interns to work! But all that takes money and a loan... When is the right time to move in that direction?

And of course, all my insecurities... Am I good enough, am I ready, would I get all the business back that I turned away, would I be able to pay the loan back, would it be worth it? WILL I FAIL?

And it is always worse when you look around. I should know better. In the last few years, Cake Shows have made the custom baking/decorating business EXPLODE! People are flying out of the woodwork to try their hand at it and succeeding! And not only that, but they have blogs, facebook and twitter accounts, pinterest, flickr, and a whole bunch of other stuff I know nothing about. And they have followers. LOTS OF THEM, thousands of them! And it's no wonder. Some of the work these people put out is phenomenal! It's breathtaking, astounding, and downright intimidating!

When I look at some of their work and see that they charged $12.00 for ONE CUPCAKE and the order included about 100 of them plus a super fancy cake and they have only been in business for 1 year, I start to doubt myself. SERIOUSLY! OH, and they do it out of their home kitchen... And they have about 10,000 followers on facebook...

And here come more doubts... am I doing things right? Why don't I have 10,000 followers? Do I engage my fans properly? Do I come across as a snot? Am I not thanking my customers and fans enough for their loyalty? Etc.. etc.... etc....

It doesn't take long to make yourself feel like you are doing everything wrong. I was chatting with a friend of mine this morning and she reminded me of something. That "when you compare yourself to others, all you are seeing is their highlight reel too". 

I needed that! People look at my work and see what I've accomplished. They don't see my insecurities, fears, doubts, and struggles. They just see the final product. And when we compare ourselves to others, we are ONLY seeing their highlight reel. We don't know what they went through, their fears, challenges, finances, or insecurities. We see the best of the best. What they want us to see. As if they'd walk around town in their underwear. There's always more going on than what you can see. And often, that more, is layers deep.

I know that the Bible tells us in II Corinthians 5:7 "that we walk by faith and not by sight". AND I do have faith in my Savior and I know my eternity. What I do not have faith in, is myself and the economy. So if you are a praying person, I covet your prayers. Somethings gonna have to give and I just don't know what or how.

And a BIG thank you Kristie, for reminding me not to compare myself to someone else's highlight reel. I love you Chickie!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Holiday Baking Projects!

The holiday's are always crazy busy at Truly Custom Cakery, LLC. Not just because of the cakes, shopping, and parties, but because of Truly Custom Crunch. It's a good busy and I certainly can't complain. I'd much rather be running in circles with too much work than to not have enough. In this economy, each and every order is a blessing from above.

Each holiday season that goes by, I say things like, "If next year is busier than this year, I don't know what I'm gonna do." And each year, I'm amazed at the volume of orders and the incredible help I receive from my staff, friends, and family. I'd be nothing without them.

This year, I made 39 batches of Truly Custom Crunch. It might not sound like much to you, but when each batch has 2lbs of brown sugar, 1lb of butter, 2 cups of popcorn, and 3 cups of nuts and 3lbs of chocolate, you KNOW that things were crazy around here!

I was amazed that I went through about 125lbs of dark chocolate! My husband liked to joke with me and tell me I needed to join a support group. ha ha I'd agree if I'd have eaten it all!

Anyway, here are some photos of what left my kitchen this holiday season. I have to admit, I was REALLY glad when it ended. BUT despite being busier than I'd ever been, things never went more smoothly!

5oz package of Truly Custom Crunch.
 Truly Custom Crunch comes in 5 sizes and I also offer custom packaging. The little bear is holding the 5oz bag. The packages below are 2.5lbs with a custom label and a special box of dark chocolate snowflake cookies for this custom order. In less than 48 hours I was able to roll, cut, bake, ice, and package more than 800 snowflake cookies. Toward the end I was so batty I was dancing around like a crazy person. It was tedious work!

Icing 800+ cookies in my mini cookie marathon.
This is a custom order of corporate gifts for a local pharmaceutical company.
66 custom packages ready for delivery. My truck never looked so pretty!
While all that Crunch making was going on, I was also filling cake orders. I was a little worried about having to shift gears but in the end, it worked out really well. The change of pace from mass production to focusing on details and "pretty" work, was good for me. Otherwise, I think I might have gone batty. Generally, I worked on Truly Custom Crunch from Sunday through Wednesday/Thursday. And then the other days, I focused on baking, filling, and decorating.

This little Snowbabies 1st Birthday Cake won 2nd place in Cake Central's Hoilday Cake Contest.

I think this little Santa is my favorite sculpted figure from the Holiday's. I don't even particularly like Santa stuff but I just LOVE how he turned out.

Baby Shower Cake in a "Nesting" theme.
There were 50 individually wrapped cupcakes for this order. Each cake got its own little box to be used as favors for the shower guests.

Candle Cakes always re-appear during the holiday's. I love this one with the "Snowballs for Sale" theme.
And a more "mature" candle cake for the adult crowd.

My Delorean Cake. I LOVE how well this car turned out. I have to admit I was a little nervous about the doors "shutting" on their own. But they held up to delivery amazingly well

And aside from the cakes and the crunch, I did a few other projects. Call me crazy....

Christmas Cookies
More Christmas Cookies

Every year for Christmas I give out special "treats". This year I made plain pound cakes and blueberry pound cakes in little ceramic loaf pans. Each gift bag included both flavors of pound cake and the Truly Custom Crunch.
Of course I HAD to make melted snowman cookies. I mean... it's tradition at this point! This year I made them on dark chocolate chip cookies.
Homemade Marshmallows! My first time making them and they turned out pretty good! I made 3 flavors. Plain, Rum, and Kahlua. The Kahlua are particularly yummy in hot chocolate!

Cranberry Apple Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes. These were sooooo yummy. I made them for our Christmas Eve Brunch. So glad the holiday's only come around once a year!