Sunday, January 6, 2013

2012 - A Year in Review

It's hard to believe 2012 is said and done. What an amazing year it was. In January of 2012, my husband and I sat down to asses the status of Truly Custom Cakery, the cake orders I had and the number of orders we'd turned away, the volume of crunch orders, and the space limitations, etc. We determined that if something didn't change, 2012 might get even more difficult. So we researched various options, weighed pros and cons, prayed hard, and decided to move forward with a retail location.

We found a store front, I took on a partner, we got financing (It was a challenge getting financing but I'm so thankful that Entrepreneur Works approved the funding we needed to outfit the new location.), we renovated, and we opened!  If you haven't seen it and you are local, you must stop by, it's so pretty! In January I was working alone, out of my home, and wondering what my options were. By the end of June, I had a gorgeous cake shop, a business partner, some very sweet and patient children, lots of cake orders lining our wall, and was totally exhausted! I can't believe how much change we experienced in just 6 months!

This is what happens when you have 2 days to put  a new floor in. We had to get a concrete sander and sand down the kitchen floor, clean, prep, paint, dry, and seal. The kitchen is BIG so it was a challenge for a weekend job but we got it done!!! And our little man learned how to sleep on a cot at the shop. 

I'd be lying if I didn't say the transition from work at home mom to retail cake shop owner was without its own set of challenges. We opened for business the last week of June just as summer vacation was starting for my boys. So they came to work with me every day. Thankfully, there was some advance planning and the office had been outfitted with carpet, a couch, toys, a television, and a Wii. The kids were AMAZING troopers for having to spend so much of their summer at work with mom. I know it wasn't ideal and I'm really hoping we can come up with an alternative for this summer. But if not, we have added an air hockey table for them. HA!

Throughout the summer, my new business partner and I put in a LOT of hours. I was working more than 60 hours a week and Suzy was working more than 40. After about 9 weeks, she let me know that it was a lot more work than she anticipated and her family was suffering. So, we worked out a plan, hired new staff, trained them, and before Thanksgiving, she said goodbye to the cake business for good.

It was a stressful time for both of us but thankfully, the new team I hired has been amazing! I've got a very talented group of people working with me including an amazing Pastry Chef, a very talented intern turned employee, and a couple of other part-time helpers. I couldn't ask for a better team. My Dad always said that you interview for aptitude and you hire for attitude. Smart man! My team certainly has the right attitude.

With all the changes, I figured why not one more? So by the first weekend in December, we were open for Gourmet Cupcakes. Because we are first and foremost a custom cakery, we choose to only sell cupcakes on Friday's and Saturday's so we aren't interfering with our ability to fill cake orders. And since most people that want cupcakes need them for weekend events anyway... well... so far, so good.

We opted for the "gourmet" variety as opposed to your run of the mill cupcakes because we pay attention to detail and we wanted AMAZING cupcakes. Our cupcakes are more than 2x's the size of a standard cupcake and boy do we put a lot of love into them. Every week we offer a different sampling of cupcakes. Usually 4-5 flavors. And we go nuts with them! We've been creating new recipes, making lots of delicious fillings from scratch, creating new icing flavors, and learning how to do what we do even better! Most of the time the cupcake flavors are more involved and very different than our flavor/filling menu for cakes. So they are extra special. You won't find these cupcakes anywhere else! The best part, is hearing from our customers after they have tried them. We've gotten such an amazing response! It makes me so happy to read e-mails and messages on facebook from our customers after they have enjoyed our cupcakes. It makes the hours we spend preparing them and making sure they are "just right" so very worth it!

We haven't really advertised yet, but I plan to start advertising this Winter/Spring. As we get a feel for what it takes to be open on Friday's and Saturday's, we will be able to advertise more and handle more business. Slow and steady right?!?!

So, now we start 2013. We  have lots more plans for this year. We want to add more items to the showroom for sale on Friday's and Saturday's. More pre-order custom products for our customers, advertising to sort through, some events to plan, a competition to prepare for, and lots of cake orders to fill.

I hope you stick with us for another year! Thanks so much for reading, praying, sharing, cheering me on, and spreading the word about Truly Custom Cakery. Without the support of my friends, family, customers, employees, and business contacts, I'd have never gotten this far. You are all appreciated so very much.

Happy New Year!

Here are just some of the cakes from the end of 2012 for you to enjoy.

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