People ask me all the time…”How did you get started in this?” I just smile and remember all of our progress…and struggles.
It’s not such a short story, but it's simple.
I’m a farmer’s daughter. I grew up in a small town with a large and wonderfully close family. We had lunch together every Sunday after church - all my family with my grandparents from both sides - and often with an aunt or an uncle in there with cousins. It was always delicious. AND, it was simple with lots of love and laughter. Those were precious days. I remember, my Grandma Brady would often bring such fancy cakes…to me. They were pound cakes with white icing and sprinkles. SPRINKLES! She put sprinkles on them herself. I was always so excited to have the cake with sprinkles, because that was so fancy, in my little girl mind. 😊
All of the women in my family were exceptional cooks and bakers…spending time, crafting their delicious confections, mixing, in small bowls, with hand mixers, adding care and love, a pinch here and a dash there, so that on our family gatherings, each member could enjoy their favorites and have a memorable experience at these special times. These times were treasures.
Fast forward to 1989. I am married and pregnant with twins. I have always been fascinated with beautiful cakes, and DELICIOUS cakes. I’m going to be a mom and I want to be that mom who continues the traditions of good, southern favorites, but with designs that are fun and creative! Fabulous cakes that WOW! I took a few classes at a local college and realized I had a knack for buttercream work. I ended up taking all their classes, working with gum paste, creating beautiful hand done, sugar flowers…delicate and stunning. Fondant was not popular back then. I loved cake decorating…and so enjoyed creating fun cakes for my children and family. It was just for fun.
Again, fast forward a few years. We moved home…back to St. Matthews from Atlanta, and I am pregnant again with my daughter. I was staying at home with my children, and for a project and a little extra money, decided to take out an add in our local newspaper for decorated cakes. My husband stated “You might as well burn that $12.00. It will be a waste of money”. That did nothing more than encourage me to do it quicker! LOL. That silly man. Well, it was not a waste, and my phone started ringing. I took orders and was making cakes all the time. These were simple little buttercream designs on simple little cakes in family favorite flavors. I continued to bake cakes for others until around 1999. At that time, we were building a home and I stopped. I wanted to focus on our project, and get us moved. No more cakes.
Once we were moved into our family farm house, and settled, I pursued another interest of mine that became a rewarding new career, graphic design. I have always been artistic, and this career gave me the opportunity to work in my husband’s web development business where I flourished. It was fun, exciting, and I loved listening to the customers ideas and taking those to create something that they loved! I could listen and visualize their wishes and create that vision into a design that was perfect for them.
Time went on, and life was sweet. My three children were growing and going off to college and all was good. In 2009, the US economy went south. By 2010, our Web business was beginning to suffer as a result. Near the end of 2010, with 2 kids in college and one heading there fast, we realized that something had to change. I could not leave my job, but I decided to take on a second, part-time job. I was starting to look and my husband one day suggested “Have you considered selling cakes again?” This is the same man who said my ad was a waste of money. LOL. Well, I immediately thought I would give it a go. I took out that same ad in the local paper…and once again, my phone started ringing. Little cakes and cupcakes. I got an order for a wow cake, my first fondant cake, and had to teach myself…but it turned out precious! One of my friends asked if I would do her daughter’s wedding cake. That was out of my comfort zone, but I needed the money, so I said yes. I practiced, and learned all I could, and her cake was BEAUTIFUL! A 4 tier, deep, fondant covered cake with hand crafted cotton bowls as adornments, and custom cupcakes for 400. It was a hit!! I had started to gain some confidence and others called. Orders were coming in. My husband and I collaborated on a website and started to promote this little venture. I was trying to learn all I could. I worked all day for him, and all night and weekends on learning, improving, and making all the cakes I could. I moved into a little room in my basement to work, because I had taken over our kitchen! My family was totally supportive throughout all of it!
In late 2011, the unthinkable happened. One of my boys was in a catastrophic car accident and the world stopped. We were living at the hospital, trying to survive, still trying to keep both businesses afloat. I would spend as much time with him in the ICU as they would allow and come home to finish orders for customers. My little cake room became my serenity. I could go down there by myself, work on cakes, pray, cry, pray some more, and try to regain my composure for the next day. It was a long 6 months of hospitals, rehab, my other son getting deployed to Kuwait in the middle of it, and my daughter’s senior year in high school. Our plates were full and overwhelming was not an adequate word to describe our lives. All the while, cake orders were coming in…and getting fulfilled. We survived. Our family was changed, but we survived because we were strong…and God was with us, carrying us, the whole time.
In 2012, exhausted beyond words, I realized that two jobs was really taking its toll on me. Our web business was rebounding, and I left my graphic design career to focus on cakes full-time. I was operating under the SC Cottage Food Law. I was growing. I hired my first part time girl in August, hesitantly. It was the BEST decision EVER! We formed an LLC in 2013, and I took all the necessary steps to convert my little cake room into a fully commercial kitchen in my basement. We got a 100 on our DHEC inspection and received the Golden Spatula from WLTX - a local TV station. We were so proud. I hired a few more girls and the business grew.
Over the years, we have participated in Bridal Expos and other marketing efforts, all the while learning new techniques and improving ourselves however we can. We are always growing and developing. It is crucial to stay on top of developing trends and learning new and interesting ways to be more efficient and productive. We focus on our customers…listening to their wishes and converting that dream into a reality of cake and sugar. We have been through a few renovations over the years in our basement, some more extensive than others, but always looking ahead. We currently occupy the entire 1700 square foot basement of my farm home, here in the middle of nowhere. It is a magical little space. I have the best team of bright, innovative, and crazy girls anywhere, and I would not trade one of them. My primary goal these days is to provide them with a safe and happy work environment where they continue to learn and grow and develop. They are my "sweet" family now. :) Our shop is full of delicious smells, laughter, and people working together to create beautiful confectionery creations.
We still spend time, crafting delicious confections, mixing in small batches with hand mixers, adding care and love, a pinch here and a dash there…remembering those that came before us... and our goal is and will always remain the same…to create memorable finishes to your special days.