Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Brian Klassen, owner of Cakeworks Inc., located in Calgary, AB, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
We are a custom cake bakeshop specializing in cartooning and drawing in buttercream icing. Our team of talented Cake Artists has been decorating 'Life's Moments in Icing' for nearly three decades. Our clients are searching for something that is creative, unique, customizable to their personal event … be it kids birthdays, anniversaries, bridal showers, weddings, corporate functions, adult-themed birthdays, celebrating a new home, graduations, the list is endless !! Whatever milestone is worth celebrating, we hope it will be celebrated with a cake from Cakeworks!!
Tell us about yourself
We started Cakeworks in early 1993 when the economy was sputtering here in Calgary. We felt that with the uniqueness and quality, our product would compete well against what was in the market at the time. Before all the Cake Shows on TV, there really wasn't a lot of choice for birthday cakes other than your local Supermarket. We set out to change that. From those early days of providing cake designs for our friends and family to reaching a mind-blowing 300 custom cake designs in a week, ultimately it's the same motivation all along ... to put our client's ideas in icing and celebrate those moments with a delicious edible piece of Cakeworks' Cake Art !! We envision that every order we take, every cake we bake and decorate, is a chance for us to create a lasting impression.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
There have been many highs and many challenges along our Cakeworks' journey, some of our highlights that we take pride in are creating a system where we have never lost or missed a cake order (seems like something simple, but it was very important to us right from the beginning). If we have committed to taking an order from a client, we have always strived to gather the correct information, create and decorate with conviction, to provide a cake design that meets or exceeds our client's expectations. But I think our largest accomplishment is creating a platform that provides a livelihood for our talented Cakecrew. Out of our 12 team members, the latest members to join our team was seven years ago. The rest of our team is made up of three members celebrating 20 years with Cakeworks, with another three that have been with us between 10-15 years !! I take great personal pride in knowing that so many creative people choose Cakeworks every day and be a part of our Cakecrew.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
I think one of the toughest things that come with being a business owner is the feeling (at times) of being a bit isolated. Being reliant on your own skillset or network can be somewhat overwhelming. However, we have been able to build an extremely talented and committed Cakecrew around us that rises to the challenges of each day and shares in the responsibility of our 'Can Do' attitude.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Start with a product or service that no one else is doing in the market. Or like us, there has always been 'Cake,' so make it different and unique and do it better than anyone else!
- Surround yourself with people that are better than you !! Rely on others with expertise different than yours and coach them to realize your vision.
- Having the support of family and friends is paramount at the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey … for example, such as the 'Friendly Family Finance Company' will be a huge asset until you can establish a track record of your product and service before attracting attention from more traditional sources of financing.
Bonus No. 4. Don't be too hard on yourself … if you strive to create the best version of yourself, your product, or service … you will!!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email email@example.com; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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