There is nothing more wonderful than doing what you love to do and earning income from doing it. When a business owner takes the steps to realize their passion they are then free to live and create a sustaining business. For Ebony Holmes, a cake artist/baker, she realized how much she missed baking when she was asked to do a cake for a friend in late 2011. From there she has been working and baking diligently to start her first cake artistry business. This Small Business Spotlight is for Ebony Holmes.
When did you start your business and why did you start your business? I think the prospect or idea of starting a baking business came to fruition November 2011 after making a birthday cake for a friend. I was an avid baker while in junior high school and working on this project just reminded me of a passion that I hadn’t indulged in for quite some time. I decided to begin baking as a business because I enjoy it so much and I’m confident in my ability to provide unique, creative products of excellent quality.
What does your business offer and what is your target market? I offer everything from cookies to cupcakes to specialty cakes. I target customers seeking custom products that aren’t found at bakeries or grocery stores.
How is your business different from others in your industry? I have an active imagination which I think aids a lot in my creativity process. I also have a natural affinity for the sort of work I do, so I’ve been able to turn out some pretty neat products without having any formal training, which surprises many people. I don’t take my natural ability for granted though and plan to enroll in classes to sharpen my skill. I also think that my artistic background allows me more creative freedom. I’m always testing and researching different recipes and I’m not afraid to try unusual designs and/or flavors.
How are you meeting the needs of your clients in today’s economy? I try to offer reasonably priced goods while still providing quality products. I also offer reduced prices for loyal customers. In unique situations worked pro bono. This may not be the wisest business decision but with the economy being the way it is I understand that some of my clients just may not be able afford my products. However, I don’t feel that financial hardship should stand in the way of a customer having their dream cake.
How is your business model benefiting your overall business plan? I’m still in the very early stages so I’m still drafting a business plan while trying to incorporate the perfect model into that plan.
How do you market and advertise your business? Most of my advertising is personal referrals from current customers. I recently had the pleasure of networking with another baker in this area and we’ve collaborated on our first wedding cake, which exposed my work to a new audience. But for the most part I will have a website, business cards and a portfolio of my work.
Where do you see your business in the next 2-5 years? I hope to have a successful business with a larger client base. Right now I plan on having an internet based business but in the next 5 years I’d love a storefront. Also in the next 2-5 years I see my skills being perfected because I plan on honing my skills and understanding through various training opportunities.
What advice do you have for other small business owners? My advice would be threefold: 1) Invest in your craft and hone your skill, whatever it may be. There’s always room for improvement. 2) Brush up the laws that relate to your business to avoid unwittingly doing something illegal. If at all possible have an attorney available for consultation to make sure you remain in compliance with state and/or federal laws. 3) Last but not least, use your skill to give back to the community whether it’s donating products/services or volunteering.