Baker by Night - Home Based Business Profile
The butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker are all examples of people that had a special talent and turned that talent into small business ideas that worked. Why not you?
Do you have a special talent or interest that others might benefit from? Most of us do.
Are you ready to turn that personal passion into some additional income or possibly a thriving business? It’s all up to you. Let’s meet someone who has done just that.
Vicki Welke is a pastry artist, cake decorator and creator of sugar eggs. She is a specialty chef and artist who creates incredible cakes, eggs and specialty decorations for all occasions. Her creations are both beautiful and edible.
Yummy! Let’s get started already!
Baker by Night in Cheyenne is a sole proprietorship operated on a part time basis. The enterprise is focused on making custom decorated cakes and other edible delights. Vicki is always working on a wide range of decorated sugar cubes, sugar eggs, butterflies, ladybugs, roses, flowers and just about anything you can imagine.
If you have a sweet tooth and an eye for beauty, this is the woman to see. She can fix you right up with a fine cake or pastry from scratch with custom decorations for just about any occasion.
To the left are edible flowers that will adorn a cake set inside a small flower pot. The flowers are completely edible. Just don't eat the stems - I think they are made from stainless steel wire.
This is a home based business, so everything is baked fresh by Vicki to her customer specifications. And, from scratch.
What a great way to meet customer needs and be very creative at the same time.
When not amazing people with her edible decorations and delicious baked treats, Vicki is a nail technician at a local salon. She has served as a nail technician for more than 30 years, but I think her passion as a baker has been longer than that.
Take a look as some of these wonderful creations that our enterprising baker in Cheyenne has created.
Cornucopia on the top of a sugar cube. Look at the detail! And, how does she get all that stuff into that tiny basket?
Here is a tiny Christmas tree on a sugar cube.
Pumpkin, apples, slippers, carrot, grapes and poinsettia.
If you can't make up your mind which you would like, just imagine that this is only a small assortment of her work.
It all started when…
This is almost a "once upon a time story" because it has quite a family history. However, this story is very much real and it continues to this day.
The business started as a family tradition of making sugar eggs. It is something that Vicki learned from her mother and has been doing for more than 20 years.
Since 2004, Vicki has been involved in decorated sugar cubes and baking specialty cakes for others. Calling her a baker is really an injustice; she is an extraordinary artist.
It seems that the nudge to be a specialty baker in Cheyenne was simply the demand from people for decorated treats. Hey, it doesn’t get much better than that – the demand for a product creates the need for a business.
In Vicki's case, all she did was respond to the needs of her customers in a manner that met their expectations for a specialty baker. And, she did it in a way that provided her with time to complete regular work and constructively expand her passion as a baker and pastry artist.
Take a look at the assortment of colored sugar eggs that Vicki has created. Each with wonderful detailed figures and scenes inside the egg, and beautiful decoration on the outside.
This picture just isn't fair to her work. It doesn't show near the detail that all her efforts have created.
Here is another picture of Vicki's creations, this time it's of Christmas ornaments. Although they are a bit too heavy to hang on the tree, these Christmas sugar balls are great decorations with little scenes inside of them. It's clear that she spends a lot of time and effort to create these attractive confectionery ornaments.
How the business grows…
Vicki grows the business slow and steady by word of mouth. There is no formal advertising campaign or associations with local bakers – just Vicki and her ever expanding circle of friends and satisfied customers who keep coming back for more of her wonderfully made and beautifully decorated goodies for all occasions.
Who says you can't eat bugs? Nonsense, these are edible, just don't eat the wires they're perched on.
Vicki's business gives us a good lesson – do a great job and your business grows. It grows because you retain a loyal customer base satisfied with your work; this is your foundation.
Your business expands because of word of mouth from satisfied customers.
In terms that a baker would appreciate: if you bake it, they will come, and keep coming back.
Why take a chance on being satisfied with another service provider when you have friends and acquaintances that have a solid recommendation? It is the old saying: good work begets more work.
In my estimation, Vicki has good aptitude for her chosen enterprise as a baker, and she seems to be a natural entrepreneur. She knows to keep an eye on people that have similar offerings and try to provide improved products with a more creative and imaginative flair. It seems to be working rather well for her.
Every business grows commensurate with its efforts to create satisfied customers. Speaking of that, I just have to show you one of the more interesting cakes that our entrepreneurial baker has created. It is just fabulous.
All parts of this cake are edible, and I can assure you that none tastes anything like a hamburger with onion rings. What a creation to please anyone that is a real American hamburger fan!
Take a look at her mini cakes. She has talent in this area as well.
And, here's the place to go if you'd like to see more of her custom decorated cakes. They are quite fabulous.
Benefits of the business…
The business is a part time effort that provides a form of recreation for Vicki. You can tell that she really enjoys what she is doing.
In addition, there is that added income.
I don’t know anyone who couldn’t use with a little more of that.
Also, there is the pleasure of making a beautiful creation that others enjoy. I know from talking with Vicki that she gets lots of satisfaction from baking beautiful treats for people who really appreciate them.
Another benefit of the business is that it provides an avenue of employment for Vicki should she decide to make a change or reduce the level of effort she puts into her regular job.
Options are always a good thing. You can’t exercise an option that isn’t available to you, and Vicki has created her own option for alternative employment.
How about you? Is it your time?
Resources you’ll need…
To be successful at a business like this, you’ll need some of the standard resources that a baker would have like:
- cooking utensils
- measuring cups
- rolling pins
…and all the other common cooking and baking paraphernalia that one would expect in a well appointed kitchen. You’ll also need time and talent to make these wonderful creations.
There are many and varied tools and durable resources that must be acquired and put to use. These include: forms, molds, brushes, presses, pastry tips, shaping tools and storage containers.
There are also one time use or disposable items that represent recurring costs for such an operation. These include pastry bags, support wires and edible coloring pens for details.
This enterprise is operated at as a part time affair, with focus on passion for the work, rather than pay. When conducted as such, one might expect gross income to be in the range of $4,000 to $10,000 per year.
If operated as a full time effort with a deliberate focus on income, a home based specialty baker could be expected to gross about 5 times as much. The caution here is that a hobby can lose all of its fun if taken to an extreme. It is up to you to recognize when something is fun, and when it is becoming much more like work.
Challenges to overcome…
During my interview with Vicki, it seemed clear to me that there aren’t any insurmountable business challenges associated with this enterprise called Baker by Night. Everything seems to be a joy.
Minor challenges pop up occasionally, like how to price items and getting specialty supplies and tools, but these are relatively easy to overcome. At least there haven’t been any “show stoppers” yet.
The only substantive challenges that I could see were those associated with creating a new design or artistic rendering for a customer. Yet these types of challenges seemed almost welcomed by our artistic baker and entrepreneur. They seemed to be a very happy challenge for her.
There is no doubt that Vicki’s greatest achievements are making people happy with what she has “hand made just for them”. What more could one expect in terms of achievements?
Speaking of achievements, to the right is one of my favorites. Just look at the detail inside this sugar egg that is about the size of a junior football.
There are detailed figures, plants, colorful mushrooms and a reflection coming from the small pond. This is a very special edible work of art. But hardly something that one would order just to eat. It is just too beautiful and enchanting.
Vicki has created happy repeat customers who recommend her services to others. I know a lot of businesses that wish they could brag about such achievements.
Special message from our featured entrepreneur…
Like other entrepreneurs, Vicki wishes she had started earlier in life. That’s a common observation by many of us who are self-employed. It serves as a “heads up” to others that perhaps now is the time to seriously consider your own enterprise.
Vicki also wants you to know that you should always “do what you love, and be willing to try new things”. That’s good advice.
She also counsels us to “check out the marketplace where you live” to determine whether there is an interest in small business ideas like this.
For an enterprise that is a couple notches above a hobby, Vicki certainly has an impressive operation. For those in search of a baker in Cheyenne that makes goodies the way you want them, use the business card below to get in touch with our featured entrepreneur. I am certain she will provide you with exceptional value.
Done with Baker, take me back to Honest Home Based Businesses