Tell us the story behind CakeLove In A Jar?
It’s all based on customer feedback. In early 2013 we revised our cake recipes and held focus groups to get feedback on their taste and texture. But we were surprised to learn that customers aired concerns and angst over cupcake packaging and handling more than anything else. Cupcakes, we were told, were awkward to carry, usually too big, messy, and just generally difficult to deal with. Added to that, many people said they want the cupcake just to have the frosting, and almost all preferred cream cheese frosting. No one asked for cake in a jar, but when we started to understand our customers’ concerns, it became clear that the solution was a jar.
Where does your passions from baking come from? Where do you pull your inspiration?
I love the intersection of flavor and texture that pleases and satisfies the senses. Not just a brain dump of sugar—that’s boring. I want taste, I search for a clean after-bite, I need it to feel pleasing but light on the tummy, I want my brain to know I indulged but not crudely with empty, tasteless calories. This is my personal standard for baking.
Do you have a favorite cooking show? If so, which one?
I don’t get much time to watch cooking shows, especially with two young daughters, a growing business, and an active family life. Prior to having kids, I did enjoy watching Alton Brown because he gets into the technical details of things, which I like.
Do you have any new dessert tastes in the works that you would want to share?
Our future at CakeLove is focused on portable desserts. We’re excited to experiment more with products focused on frosting. Letting the “cake” ride shotgun to frosting in product development makes you think differently about dessert and packaging, so we’re having some fun with that and eager to let our minds wander.
Do you any advice for local startups or entrepreneurs who are looking to launch their businesses?
Listen to what the market asks for and pair that with what it needs. People won’t necessarily ask for the next breakthrough gadget or item, but their needs exist. Start simply with asking questions, but you have to be astute about what you’re watching for.
Why the change in career paths?
I mean, you know, a life as a lawyer…
Was there ever a point where you wanted to go back to practicing law?
I think what you’re really asking is, “are there times you don’t want to do what you’re doing?” To that the answer is yes, for sure. When I have to mop up water leaking from a broken water heater, when the HVAC unit breaks and a brand new one is required at a rate of 3x the monthly rent, when I knicked my knuckles on the storage rack unloading bags of sugar…there are plenty of times when I have wanted to just walk away and find a job at a desk that requires me only to think, type and talk. Not deal with the daily challenges of operating a manufacturing business. But, you know, life as a lawyer…
What’s your favorite part about working in the small business world?
The depth of possibilities in every aspect of the job. I’ve always enjoyed working with people and, if you do it right, business is one great conversation after another. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t think to myself at how much I feel my life has prepared for the moment I’m facing right then and there. I think that being in business for myself is good for me. I think it gives me the chance to max out on my potential.