Sunday, August 18, 2013

That Opening Was Simply Grand!

The shop is open. I have a bakery. I have a bakery. How strange.

After years of planning, wishing and hoping... going to business school at night... taking any and every cake class I could get to... making hundreds of cakes and learning something from every single one... hitting restaurant auctions to get equipment on the world's tightest budget... I have a bakery.

The grand opening was this weekend, and it was simply grand.

We had the Opelika Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting on Friday morning. I was expecting two, maybe three people to come. But there were a LOT of Chamber friends there.

It was a little overwhelming. Lots of people, giant scissors, and it never occurred to me that I would be expected to say something to everyone. Why that never occurred to me, I can't imagine. But there we were. So I stumbled out a little speech and made sure to thank my family for their support during this whole crazy process- because that's the important part. These two were at the bakery EVERY DAY of their summer break while I cleaned, painted, organized, and built the shop:

Saturday morning was the big, Grand Opening brouhaha. With my limited, new business budget, I did everything I could think of to get the word out. We had an ad in the paper on Friday, we had an ad in the local parent magazine birthday party guide, and I'd spread the word on Facebook. I was expecting people to come, so we baked as many cupcakes as could fit onto the rack. In the end, we were left with one small box of leftovers, so it worked out pretty great!

The whole day is kind of a blur to me now. I remember seeing some people... I remember trying to mend a minor wardrobe malfunction on one of my special guests... I remember chatting with some really nice people about custom cakes...

Luckily, some of our AMAZING friends were there with cameras. Here are some of the great pictures they took. I'll do my best to caption them from the parts I remember.

OK, I remember this! We had some awesome members of the 501st come over. Love these guys!

Count Bassie, looking sharp.

Here we are, pretending we know what we're doing.

The always aawesome Alabama Ghostbusters were there too! Love all these guys. 

Setting up the display, getting ready.

I can never take pictures this good with my camera

The display case around the middle of the day

LOVE this picture. 
OK, side note from the captions. True story: One of my biggest fears in opening this shop was that other people's kids would drive me nuts. Having been a teacher for 7+ years, I know how challenging some young people (and, let's be honest, their parents) can be. Heck, my own kids drive me nuts sometimes... But then, kids like these came. Between the soft opening and this week's opening, I can honestly say that the kids who have come to the shop have been delightfully lovable.

Oh, gluten-free cupcakes. How you challenge me.

I love both of these guys.

OK, right? How much fun is this?

I love this kid. Always have. Always will. And his parents are pretty cool, too.

Who knew maple bacon cupcakes would be such a hit?

How surreal.
Story: OK, you know how Darth Vader is the bad guy? And he's really really tall and evil and he makes that creepy breathing sound? And you know how he's kind of made of nightmares and gave me many such nightmares in my childhood?
So, I was in the front kitchen while this guy was getting ready in the back kitchen. I'm standing there, working on a cake, minding my own business when I hear it. That breathing sound, coming from my precious, purple, back kitchen. I couldn't see him through the curtains, but I could hear him. Not going to lie, it kind of freaked me out. Then out he comes, 25 feet tall, just like my childhood nightmares. 
I loved it.
Story time with Summer. You know who loves Ms. Summer? We do!

Sweet Cheeks face painting! She does such a great job and is so, so nice.
I'm so glad there are these pictures to remember this whole thing.

My little display case at the beginning of the day.

I apologize that we didn't get the bushes trimmed or the grass cut before the opening. The rain! All week, the rain!

Oh, those chocolate, peanut butter things.

These guys are pro photobombers.

Rainbow cake was popular.

I wish he could be there every day. how cool would that be?

I love this bakery.

So surreal.

THIS! How great are these guys? Out by the street, bringing in the business.

So many people said, "We just came in to find out what the heck was going on with the guys on the street".

When I made the light saber/ whisk frame, I never thought there'd be a photo like this.

I wish this guy were there every day!

Choose your weapon. Mine's a fondant extruder.

Bigger on the inside.
So many people who have seen pics of the shop online were surprised by how big it is inside. I'm glad this pic was taken- it shows there are places to sit! Come in, eat a cupcake, sip some coffee, and enjoy our free wifi. 

I love this bakery. It's been so much fun so far. But I love the people who helped make it happen even more. So many family and friends have given us so much to get this place going. I love you all.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Copyright, Copywrong

Oh, bother.

I went to ICES last week, and I learned a LOT. I took classes from master sugar artists (that's really a thing) and I got to meet some of my cake idols.

But I also learned some things that aren't as fun. At the shop owners' breakfast, there was an informational session about copyrights and cake decorating. Here's the skinny:

I will NOT put any copyrighted characters on cakes. (anymore)

Apparently, the people who own copyrights have taken a new tactic in catching cake decorators who put their images on a cake: They'll call a shop or home decorator, pretending to be a customer. They'll order a cake with a copyrighted character on it. Then, at pick-up, the decorator gets hit with a copyright infringement fine.

I'll give you fifty thousand reasons I don't want to pay that fine. Fifty. Thousand. Per cake.
Either I don't make copyrighted cakes, or I REALLY have to raise my prices.

In the before times, I would draw pictures on cakes in icing, no problem. It was a skill that I needed to learn, and I appreciated the chances to practice it. And anyway, the cakes I did like that were for family and friends, not for business.

However, now I'm a shop owner. I'm trying to do my business right, and I have much more to lose.

Thus, we are at something of an impasse. I'd lose my shop if I were charged with copyright infringement. I'm not willing to risk it. So, here are our options:

1. I can design and create a cake for you that is ______ character inspired. I can use colors, shapes, decorating techniques that coordinate with your decorations.

Pooh colors, Pooh font, but not a Pooh to be seen...
Nope, no Snow White here...
2. We can use a figure (like a toy or a Deco-Pac). I'll make the cake to coordinate with the toy and then (bonus!) you have a toy to keep forever... until it gets lost or broken...

An Elmo deco-pac
Neverland toys
3. We can use edible images or toppers. is crawling with people who make custom cake toppers. You (or I) can order a topper and I'll make a cake to go with it.

Edible images Doc McStuffins

Edible images Little Einsteins

Bubble Guppies custom topper from etsy
And, of course, we can always make a theme cake without characters:

I can make a cake to match your invitations!

Princess cookies without the drama

Aargh, no lost boys required

So really... this is a good thing! Think how our creativity will flourish!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

ICES Days 3 & 4: So much stuff...

I ventured back into the cake room again to see just how outclassed I am here this year. Here are some of the cakes I saw. The pictures aren't that good, but I don't want to take the time to mess with the color right now:

I also got to see some of my cake heroes. How cool is that? I've been asking them to write me well-wishes for the new shop on little slips of paper. I'll frame them and hang them on the wall of the bakery.

Norm Davis & Zane Beg

A less fuzzy Lauren Kitchens

Apparently the picture in picture was turned on...

Cake lovin'

Joshua John Russell and James Roselle... and scary monster faces

The weird thing about being here is that I've started to shift my mindset. I'm back in that place where I'm ravenous to learn more sugar art techniques. It's easy here- there are so many people to learn from! But at home, there just aren't any cake classes for me. Looks like I'll be on Craftsy for a while... until I can get the funds to get to a real class.