Saturday, September 18, 2010

Now It's Officially Official

So, even though we started Plum Crazy Cake Company in July and have been working like mad to get the business end up and running, and even though we've made several cakes for events, we had not yet made our first cake for profit.

Until this week.

For some reason, starting this particular cake with the knowledge that this one was the official first made us all the more focused -- and a little messy. You should have seen the kitchen -- our storage bins were spewing out the cake supplies and tools of the trade; there was  fine dusting of powdered sugar all over the floor; the smell of baking cake was in the air; and the KitchenAid mixers were whirring away making buttercream frosting at high speed.

Launa is the cake gal. Heather is the business gal. The original plan was that Launa would take on this cake solo and Heather would relax at home. Then Heather got a crazy idea -- "why not take the limited knowledge of cakery that I've received from Launa and bake a cake for my sister's 32nd birthday?  And, I can do it simultaneously!!"

So, we were both there early Friday morning getting things ready and then baking our respective cakes, and mixing up batches up fondant and coloring them. And then we came back that evening at 8:30 after the kids went to bed. Launa had some other things to do liking preparing the candy melts and mixing in the colors for some butterflies and flowers atop the cake. Heather cut out a bunch of tiger stripes for her sister's cake.

Midnight came and we were both there still. Heather finally packed it in, and did some dishes, before heading home to sleep for about 4.5 hours before meeting our running team for the Saturday's long run. Launa wouldn't leave for another 2 hours!

Saturday dawned and Launa was back early to prepare the cream cheese filling, work on the candy melts, and cover her cake with fondant. After checking in after getting back from her run, Heather packed up the 4 kiddos to help clean up the kitchen for the next group that had reserved it. (By the way, it's really hard to sweep a floor with a baby clinging to your leg.)

By 10:45 a.m., our client had arrived and we said goodbye to our first official labor of love. Knowing that it was going to our mutual friend, Erika's, baby shower made it even sweeter.

And later that afternoon, Heather took her first solo cake over to her sister's house. She enjoyed putting those tiger stripes on so much, that she made a mini cake for her parent's anniversary and put zebra stripes on that one -- creating an "Africa" feel to the celebration.

Heather's sister, Mindy was impressed.

A Tale of Two Sisters

And if you are impressed at all with what she created, then all credit goes to the fabulous Launa, who has taught Heather everything that she knows (and that's not much) about making and decorating cakes. (This is where I insert the plug for you to register for one of our cake decorating classes.) And Heather says that if she can do it, then anyone can.

Next up....a Minnie Mouse Cake fit for a princess!

Friday, September 10, 2010

It's Business Time

(For those of you who are Flight of the Conchords fans, you'll get that little nod.)

Ahhh...we've been able to catch our collective breaths after a furious few weeks (actually about 7) of working like mad to get Plum Crazy Cake Company up and running. While we'd say that we went into starting the business with realistic expectations as to the amount of time and energy it would take, I think we'd both admit the reality was a bit more intense that we'd imagined.

Both of us are also married to school teachers -- and that fact is probably the only way we were able to launch Plum Crazy this summer. Without their help, it could never have happened! A special thanks to both our darling spouses...thanks for your unwavering support and belief in us...we love you!

Launa has three kids (one being an infant) and Heather has 4 kids (her youngest a toddler). So, you can imagine how much we have on our plates. The driving alone for school for both of us this year is pretty crazy. And, it's taken these first few weeks of school to start getting into that rhythm again.

Thankfully, business-wise, we've been able to rest up these last couple of weeks after the initial push to locate a work space, get our website, Facebook page going, get our logo done and print up business cards, get our business licenses and permits filed, and banking set up. Many hours have been dedicated to tweaking things so that they are just right.

As some of you have experienced first-hand, there's a lot of "busy work" involved in starting a business. We had never heard of the terms "cloud pbx" until we started Plum Crazy. Fortunately, there have been many amazing new "shortcuts" that technology has brought into the business world. Instead of having to pay AT&T for another phone line and paying that monthly cost, we have been able to utilize that cloud pbx to have a phone number "in the clouds" that rings our cell phones -- also, allowing us to keep our cell phones as mostly personal and our numbers private.
We've also been enjoying being on Facebook and all the benefits of having friends and fans who are sharing us with their friends. The money we saved on ads in the phonebook and in newspapers has allowed us to invest more in the business. We even placed an ad on Facebook to let people know about our discount for couples who book their wedding cakes with us. Did you see it?

We still have more of that busy work to do (liability insurance, a possible switching of banks, etc), but now we are ready to get down to the business of just making cakes. Our first baby shower cake is next weekend and we are excited to see our client's reaction to the awesomeness we have planned. Following on that cake's heels, is a Minnie Mouse cake for a sweet little birthday girl. And, then, the cake-tastic-ness continues. We're offering our first two-part cake decorating class, Basics in Buttercream, on 9/30 and 10/2. There are still a few spaces left if you want to sign up.

We are completely booked up for October and almost booked for November and December. It's amazing to think that we are going to be very busy through the rest of 2010.

Of course, we are talking a few cakes per month due to our families taking first priority. But it's still gratifying to know that we are seemingly going to be as busy as we need/want to be. Someday in the not-so-distant future, we will consider taking on more cakes, but for now it's all good.

Stay tuned for our next post about upcoming events we're doing in October...