Tag-Archive for » cakes «

Around the bakery with Lily these days

 

Lily has been such a trooper coming to work with me as much as she does. On paper it’s super adorable that she gets to grow up in a cake shop, but in practice it’s different every single day. Some days are great and she’s happy, cheerful, well-napped and content to play with her toys. Other days (usually Fridays, our busiest day of the week) she’s overtired and refuses to let me put her down anywhere, which makes it extremely difficult (and stressful) to decorate cakes on a deadline. I’ve learned to do a lot of things one handed!

 

It’s definitely a big challenge, but I love that I get to spend so much time with her, even on the cranky days. It’s such a blessing to watch her be social, explore the shop and interact with our customers.

 

Munching on our baking tools. She also enjoys banging cake tins, scrunching pastry bags, and pulling apart cupcake cases. Someday we’ll figure out how to turn all of this into useful labor ;)

 

bakerybabe2Mommy’s little “helper” during photoshoots.

 

Enjoying a playtime break in her playpen.

 

bakerybabe

 

Slikkepotten hat and Harry Potter shirt. This girl is definitely MY daughter :)

 

On particularly busy days Chris will come hang out with Lily after he gets off of work so that I can have an extra hour of Lily-free time to finish up projects. This is Lily’s “Daddy is tickling me!” face and it melts my heart every time I look at it!

 

I just love my little bakery buddy!
We made it an entire year! The cake shop turns 1!

Slikkepotten kakebutikk turned 1 in March!

We officially made it through the dreaded first year of business. It was a ridiculously hard year, between the many challenges of starting up a brand new business, the steep learning curve we endured, the frequent 80+ hour work weeks and oh yeah…having a baby(!), but we made it! We’ve been told over and over again how statistically most businesses fail within the first year, so we’re pretty proud of ourselves for managing to cross that threshold!

In April we had a little birthday party to celebrate with free cupcakes, discounts in the store, raffles for fun prizes and a little kids cake competition. You can see we’ve come a long way since opening last year!

(Cultural point of interest: You’ll see a lot of flags in the following pictures. It’s common to fly the Norwegian flag on special occasions like birthdays.)
Some highlights from this year:
  • Actually opening on time!
  • Getting a pretty good customer following
  • Being featured in the newspaper and local magazines multiple times
  • Hiring an employee
  • Taking on an intern
  • Installing an industrial dishwasher (we cried when we finally installed it! No more daily 2-hour dish routine!)
  • Installing an industrial oven (We also cried when we installed this one! No more 12 hour+ baking days using one home-size oven!)
  • Taking a Business of Baking course which was amazing and set us on a much better trajectory than we were on previously
  • Trip to the Cake International trade show in Birmingham to find new suppliers and be inspired by new trends
  • Surviving our first wedding cake season
  • Teaching lots of great classes

 

Now our little baby is growing up and entering puberty. We’re working on filling in the gaps in our brand, restructuring our internal systems to increase efficiency, adjusting to working with our new employees, and of course, figuring out how to handle everything with a new baby in tow. While I can’t say things have mellowed out or gotten any easier, we are working on hitting our stride. Hopefully good things are in store for the future!

 

Sugary Business Trip to London and Birmingham

While Chris was in Naples, I took a little trip of my own to England with my Slikkepotten partner, Katrine, for my first ever business trip! I tell you, there was something surreal about flying to London on a business trip for a company that I own. Life takes you to crazy places, that’s for sure.

The purpose of the trip was two-fold: 1. Take a 2-day cake-specific business class from The Business of Baking and 2: Go to the Cake International convention in Birmingham.

The Business of Baking class was probably the best thing we’ve done for our business all year. By this point Slikkepotten had been open 9 months and we were both completely exhausted and very burned out. I was personally at the point where if I never made another cake again it would be too soon and just the smell of chocolate cake would make my stomach curl (although the latter was probably primarily due to pregnancy…) The class was run by Michelle Green, who is a former bakery owner in Australia who now runs a popular cake industry blog by the same name and Sharon Wee of Sharon Wee Creations, who is a pretty famous cake decorator in the cake world.

In contrast to most cake blogs that focus on tutorials and techniques for decorating cakes, Michelle strictly writes about how to run the business side of making cakes. Katrine and I had been following her posts for a year at this point and her advice proved to be essential to the successful start-up of our company! By this point though, we desperately needed further help  because clearly how things were going weren’t sustainable for us or our families (multiple 80 hour work weeks in a row, anyone?). So, when we found out Michelle and Sharon were coming to London to host their very first international class we jumped on the opportunity.

It was an amazing two days! We learned loads about how to truly run a successful baking business including things like pricing our cakes correctly, managing schedules, dealing with customers, marketing ourselves, getting good systems in place, etc. It was fantastic to interact with other bakers who were all in the same boat as we were and to realize that the problems we were dealing with as a company were pretty universal to the industry. We found out we were actually doing pretty ok for ourselves :) We were able to take what we learned in the class and make some important and much-needed changes in how we run our company. It is definitely still a work in progress and I can’t say it’s even close to where we want it to be yet, but things have been set in motion that will hopefully help us be able to work better hours, have better customer service, spend more time with our families and run a more efficient company. Oh, and to pay ourselves a salary. That will hopefully happen soon :) Thanks so much Michelle and Sharon!

 

We spent two full days in London doing the class and then hopped a train to Birmingham for the Cake International convention. No time for sightseeing!

Cake International was awesome. We went specifically to find new vendors and new products to stock in our shop and get a heads up on upcoming trends (Norway is about 5-10 years behind the rest of the world when it comes to cake trends), but we also watched plenty of demonstrations (some were pretty meh, but some were useful) and ended up getting majorly inspired by the competition cakes. It felt pretty legit to get schmoozed by the vendors who wanted us to stock their products, especially since Norway is such an up and coming market in the cake world and a lot of brands want to expand into it. I felt like such a business owner!

Me the entire 3 days we were there. I had to exercise some serious restraint. Sooooo many cake toys!
^^All made out of sugar!^^
This was one of the coolest cakes in the show! Made by Queen of Hearts Couture Cakes, 8 feet tall, 100% decorated with buttercream. Check out the details of the piping below! 
^^Made out of sprinkles. No joke.^^
The details! The baker in me still geeking out.
Peony demonstration. Time to step up my sugar flower game!
The lovely Sharon Wee signing some books for us for our shop.
I wasn’t very good at taking photos of the progress of my growing baby bump, but here’s one at about 25 weeks that I took for Chris so he could see his baby growing while we were apart. And yes… that was a kissy-face elevator selfie. Don’t judge me.
Buzzfeed famous Katniss Everdeen Mockingjay cake.

 

People are seriously so talented.



Overall, the trip was inspiring and encouraging and made Katrine and I both feel like we might actually be able to pull this off. Thanks Michelle and Sharon and Cake International!

Slikkepotten Grand Opening
On March 22nd we opened Slikkepotten kakebutikk’s doors to the public for the first time! It was such an exciting event! Loads of people turned up, we had hundreds of free cupcakes in our favorite flavors, there were raffles and giveaways, and overall just a ton of love and support! We are so grateful for all of you who came to celebrate with us that day!
Doing the official welcome speeches and ribbon cutting. We had to do it inside since it was POURING rain outside (in typical Stavanger fashion)
And we’re open for business!!

The hard work definitely hasn’t ended, but after such a successful grand opening day, we have high hopes for what the future of Slikkepotten kakebutikk has in store! Thank you again for all of you who offer us your continuing love and support!

 

Slikkepotten Picnic
Katrine and I got the keys to our brand new shop on March 1st. We celebrated by having a little picnic in the new place with our families.
Keys!

It’s not much right now, but we hope to turn it into something fantastic!

Here’s to Slikkepotten kakebutikk!