May has been such an incredible and busy month for me.
To begin with there was the launch of my blog redesign, which I’d been planning for months. In around that event, several other things happened to me this month that I’ve been so eager to share with you.
Just before the launch, I got to spend a week in Florida, enjoying the sun and the water in Fort Myers and Miami South Beach. And prior to that, I had two very exciting experiences. Earlier this month, I had the honour of having lunch with Dorie Greenspan, one of my baking idols. While I have a separate post planned for that, I wanted to write about what happened at the very beginning of the month that was truly a first for me.
I was offered and accepted my very first baking job! I’ve baked for friends and family before, but for the first time someone hired me to bake for an event.
The event in question was a bridal shower being held by a close friend of my mother’s, L. This friend was hosting a shower for her sister who is to be a June bride. When my mother worked with this friend, I would often make my coconut cupcakes, based on a recipe from Ina Garten. L loved the cupcakes so much that she asked if I’d make 30 for her sister’s shower.
While I was happy to make the cupcakes, initially I was very reluctant to ask for money. For a long time now I’ve been mulling over the idea of how to start a baking business at home. Somehow, though, charging someone that I consider to be a friend just didn’t feel right. But L insisted that she pay me so, without much thought, I threw out a figure that I thought was fair and she agreed.
The night before the shower, I baked the cupcakes in plain white liners. On the morning of the shower I dressed up the cupcakes by putting them in a second, prettier liner. After icing the cupcakes, I tinted some of the leftover icing a dark pink colour and decorated half the cupcakes with rosettes. On the other half, I sprinkled edible pink glitter.
While I’m sure a professional would have been able to do something far more elaborate, I thought my cupcakes were pretty and they were fresh and made with the fresh ingredients. That’s very important to me.
I delivered the cupcakes and L was very happy with them. She e-mailed me later to tell me that they were a hit. But this brought up an issue, which I’d been thinking about for awhile. L mentioned that a few people asked for a card as they might be interested in hiring me.
But I have no card.
And I have no card because I still don’t have a clear focus for my vision. As I mentioned above, I’ve been contemplating the idea of being a baking caterer of sorts. But my ideas are still unfocussed. I don’t really have a plan. Part of the reason I wanted to redesign the blog is that I wanted to begin developing an image identifiable with Cream Puffs in Venice. Something that one day, I could use as a business identity.
But this particular experience raised so many questions. And it brought to light the fact that as far as the “business” side of it goes, there’s a lot to think about.
While I was happy to be paid, in actual fact I probably spent double what I received. The cost of ingredients, the cost of the cupcake liners and the items I used for decoration, the cost of the boxes to store the cupcakes, the cost of gas for my shopping trips and for delivering the cupcakes, and of course the cost of my time — these were all factors that I didn’t really think about.
And of course, there’s the card. I’d love to have a business card, but I don’t have a business yet. And I still don’t know how I’d like my card to look.
All of these questions and all of this wondering is both exciting and a bit scary. As fun and thrilling as it was to bake for an event and be paid for it, I also feel like I lost an opportunity by not having cards to promote myself.
And now that I’ve gotten a taste of being paid to bake, I want to do it more.
As I relive this experience, I’ve decided to not worry so much about all the questions. This tends to be a habit of mine. I get so worked up about the unknown that I eventually convince myself not to take that first or second step.
I’m going to enjoy the experience for what it was: my very first baking job.
Let the cupcakes fall where they may!