I have been looking forward to sharing Cake-Pop Cuties with my readers for some time now – I met Sandie when she was the associate editor for South Asian Woman magazine this past summer. After our initial connection we became friends on Facebook and that’s when I discovered that this woman’s talents went waaaaay beyond editing! I have watched Cake-Pop Cuties just explode all over the place (can you picture cake batter on all the walls and ceiling? Haha!) and am so glad that they have visited us today!
So, Sandie, the first thing I want to know is how was Cake-Pop Cuties born?
The funny thing is that it seems the Cake-Pop Cuties was literally born over night. Since its inception late last summer, we have not had a moment’s rest! As a mother of 4, making treats and baking for my children was a common occurrence in our home. I was always on the lookout for the latest newest treats to make for them. It really began on a beautiful summer’s day when my 5 year old daughter Chhaya and I walked into a Starbucks to get ourselves refreshments. She immediately spotted these treats on a stick in the display case. Chhaya wouldn’t leave until I bought her the pretty pink cake pop sitting in the window; she was literally smitten by the cake ball. Once in our car, the now beaming child proceeded to eat the cake pop and as I proceeded to secure her in her seat she reluctantly asked me if I would like to have a taste, and so I did….Well, I can honestly tell you that it was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
That first bite sent me on a whirlwind of sorts as I began trying to learn how to make my own cake pops. The one I purchased had left me thinking I could make them better. I could make it a little more palatable with fewer preservatives and prettier too. I was yearning to be creative in a way I had never been before, but I knew that I needed to enlist the help from another very creative gal, and low and behold it was my best friend Shannon that would be dragged kicking and screaming into my world of confectionary madness.
I called her up one morning and told her that I had been thinking about venturing out into the world of business, or rather self employment and that I wanted to start a cake-pop company that would allow us to work from our homes and make these scrumptious treats for birthdays, showers and other local events. I told her it would be a small home-based company, you know like the ones that make a few dozen a month or so. It’s quite naïve and laughable now come to think of it, but quite frankly both of us had no idea what was about to hit us. Within a few weeks we were being asked to provide cake pops for hundreds of guests at local events, private parties and even fashion shows. It was absolute chaos in our kitchen and we could scarcely keep up, but we just made our way through it, and today we are known as the Cake-Pop Cuties.
We did our research and knew that there really weren’t many local vendors and we needed to move quickly in order to break into the market in the lower mainland. We knew our niche was the fact that we can custom make any cake pop in any flavour, shape, colour and even characters. We were able to offer our clients a variety to choose from and that made us desirable. We worked our butts off in the kitchen creating everything from simple cake-pops to fire hydrant themed cake-pops for the Vancouver Fire Departments Christmas party, always remembering to stop and enjoy our small successes.
That is a delicious story and one that gives me that cosmic tingle…you know, like what if you and Chhaya never ended up at Starbucks that day or you didn’t have that first bite?! I love it! So, you mentioned baking for your children – have you ever done any professional baking before?
Both Shanny and I have baked just for our family and friends. Neither of us have ever done anything like this, and I think that is what sets us apart. We are 2 moms that have taken something we love to do to a whole new level. We have not allowed ourselves to be limited or held back in any way from achieving nothing less than success. We pour our hearts and souls into our work and it shows through our creations.
It sounds like you have had to push past your comfort zones a little to achieve all of this – this isn’t just baking for loved ones! What is the most challenging part of your business?
The most challenging and yet most rewarding part of the confectionary business is without a doubt the long hours we spend on our feet working on the big orders that come in. We begin the day before baking all the cakes we need to produce hundreds of cake-pops or pop-dots. We then need to dismantle the cakes to create the cake pop dough that will be used to make them. Everything we do is by hand, aside from using the mix masters to blend our cake batters and the dismantling of the cakes.
The other thing that can be challenging is in being able to keep up with the pace of a growing business. At one point the orders were coming in so quickly that we had to turn orders away. We were heart broken to have not been able to provide them with cake-pops. We have even gone as far as to find other local cake-poppers and given them our clients, but since then we have been able to bring on board another fledgling Cake-Pop Cutie also named Shannen, just spelt with an e. So it’s Sandie, Shanny and Shannen just in case we confused you!
Shannen has taken to the kitchen and is eager to learn all we can teach her. We look forward to creating a fun and challenging environment for her and all the others that we will one day call Cake-Pop Cuties. Do you think any men would want to join our team? We’ll have to come up with a more politically correct name for the position should a guy apply. Come to think of it, I don’t think I have ever heard of a male cake popper, but who knows.
There are also days in which my fridge is full of just cake pops and my husband and kids have to order take out for dinner. It can be a bit chaotic, but none the less exciting.
Ah, are any of my readers going to venture a name for the Cake-Pop Cuties if they are lucky enough to stumble upon a male cake-popper? Haha…well, I’m glad Shannen came on board and I’m sure it would be loads of fun to create with you guys! How have you overcome other obstacles you encounter?
Shanny and I have learned to deal with everything as it comes. We also try to always work together so that the obstacles are not being faced by just one of us. In life and business there will always be difficulties, but to be able to overcome any challenges we must always employ a “never going to give up” attitude. I think this is why we have been able to keep it together through the stressful moments. Our ability to forge a path alongside one another and push through it no matter the outcome is what will get us through anything taxing that comes our way.
I think that if people began facing obstacles and challenges in life with a calm and assertive mindset, they could get through anything. It’s the people that set themselves up for failure before they have even tried that will never be able to achieve success. We can be our own worst enemies if we allow it. We are notorious for sabotaging our aspirations even before we have allowed ourselves the opportunity to see our dreams to fruition. I think it’s more important to focus on all the great things in life rather than focus on the negative.
That sounds like food for thought! What advice do you have for people who say they don’t have time for fun in their lives?
In our case, we can honestly say that we’ve made what we do the fun in our lives. Not all careers can offer this, but its great fun to present a room full of kids (or even grown-ups) with multi coloured treats on sticks. We’re almost as popular as the ice-cream man!
Good point! There doesn’t need to be a distinction between “work” and “fun”…in fact, how awesome it is to have them be one and the same! What do you do outside of Cake-Pop Cuties? Do you have other jobs?
Not anymore, Cake-Pop Cuties is our full time job now. Before we became the Domestic Goddesses, I was the Associate Editor of a women’s magazine, a writer, public speaker and the author of two published books. My life has gone from one extreme to the other, but I love every moment of it. Shannon was a stay-at-home Mom until we started this business, and now she loves the fact that she doesn’t spend endless hours watching mindless TV.
I don’t know about the T.V. part, but I do know about feeling unproductive in a different sense as a stay-at-home-mom. I mean, I was working hard and yet many days I felt I accomplished nothing. It’s different when you’re stimulating other parts of you – and being able to do both is very fortunate. (Apparently…though, some days I’m not 100% sure of this! Haha!)
What does Cake-Pop Cuties do to spread the fun around?
We teach people how to make cake-pops at the most amazing cake and supply shop called “For Cake’s Sake”. I know it sounds absurd, in fact some would call us kooky, but we love to share our passions with others. It’s incredibly rewarding and gratifying knowing we can help others learn how to create these fabulous treats.
We also love being able to give back to our community, so whether we’re donating our cake-pops for local events or collecting gifts for a toy drive, we have fun doing it.
Wow! That is passion! That’s exactly what it’s about – sharing your knowledge, enriching other people’s lives…so much is lost when people try to hoard ideas. Happiness, pleasure, passion, creativity – these things cannot be hoarded…they grow every time you share such experiences with someone else.
I’m going to have to get a few friends together and book a cake party with you guys!!
What gets you up and going in the mornings?
I think both of us would agree that our children, spouses and families are enough to get us up in the morning, as well as the fact that we look forward to all the Cake-Pop Cuties initiatives we have on the go. It’s a great feeling to know that something you are doing can create such joy and happiness for others. Whether it’s a child’s smile or just the giggles we hear when we enter a room with a basket full of their favourite cake-pops for a birthday party, it’s all more reason to be grateful for another day.
Speaking of children, what were you two like as little girls, say around 6 years or so? What did you find enjoyable?
I was such a naughty girl!! As the youngest of four girls and a daddy’s girl, I was born thinking the world was at my beck and call. I loved playing with my sisters, music and dancing. My sisters and I used to put on big musical numbers for our parents in our basement. I guess I knew back then that I loved entertaining people and being the centre of attention.
Shanny, also the youngest child of four loved being adventurous! She would even go as far as to climb out her window when her parents weren’t looking causing quite a stir in their home. Shanny and her family travelled a lot when they were children and some of her fondest memories are from these adventures.
Well, it sounds like you two are still tapping in to your fun and adventurous side in your business! Any final thoughts for readers considering starting a business of passion?
I have had people ask us how long we have been in business, and when I tell them it has only just been a few months, their jaws hit the ground. They cannot grasp how we have been able to go from the kitchen to retail sales in just a few months. That is what comes from true passion. Shanny and I have given the Cake-Pop Cuties 110% of ourselves and we wouldn’t do it any differently in hindsight.
I also think the success has come from the fact that we both love what we are doing and we work very hard at it. We take such great pride in our confections and we know that our clients will be happy with the end results. Word of mouth is a very powerful marketing tool, so by placing your clients needs first and pleasing them with your product, you are in fact representing yourself through your work.
I have always been an incredibly focussed and passionate person. This was not a trait that was used often in my younger years, but due to the fact that I had previously founded a not for profit organization and worked in the publishing industry has given me the tools and the ability to market and network very well.
Don’t do anything unless you love what you do! The day Shannon and I hate making cake-pops for our clients is the day I walk away. I always want this to be about enjoying our creations and keeping our clients happy. I don’t want it to be about stress or having to do something because we have to. Love what you do!
Thank you Cake-Pop Cuties for stopping by and spreading your passion! And also, a huge thank you for your very generous gift that is going to be popping up in the inboxes of EVERY SINGLE ONE of my subscribers.
Readers, if you haven’t subscribed yet, you can do so by entering your email address in the box under Don’t Miss A Blog Post (and then click on the link in the confirmation email that will be sent to you immediately). Current subscribers plus new subscribers over the next week will receive beautiful step-by-step instructions on how to create your own cake-pops in your very own kitchen!
Have a fabulous Friday, everyone!
* For more information on the Cake-Pop Cuties or the work they do, please feel free to visit their webpage at www.cake-pop-cuties.com or follow them on Twitter @cakepopcuties and like their Facebook Page Cake-Pop Cuties.