Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Kelsie Delisle, Founder and CEO of Sugar Flowers by Kelsie Cakes, located in Wesley Chapel, FL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Sugar Flowers by Kelsie Cakes is the only online Sugar Flower shop that creates a nature-inspired selection of Sugar Flowers for cake decorators and bakers, plus brides, planners, and clients looking to create the floral decor of their cakes. I make every flower by hand in my Tampa, FL, studio. Whether providing ready-to-ship flowers on my e-commerce site or creating a fully custom design, Sugar Flowers by Kelsie Cakes delivers expert guidance, sturdy packaging, and reliable shipping in addition to the beautiful, handcrafted Sugar Flowers we’re known for.
Tell us about yourself
I started my business on Etsy in 2015. I created Sugar Flowers and sold them online (and all over the world) for bakers creating wedding cakes, plus working directly with brides and clients who were DIYing their cakes. Over the years, I’ve expanded my business to my own e-commerce site and custom design orders. My motivation waxes and wanes over the years. At the heart of my motivation is knowing the challenge I’ve set out for myself: to create a business to bring financial security to my family, economic growth to my community, and to stand up fully as a role model for my children and for everyone who dreams of having their own business. Plus, I really love getting to play with sugar and color every day! It’s fun!
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Every time I step out of my comfort zone, it feels like the biggest accomplishment. In the past year, I’ve reached out to collaborate with bakeries around the country, I’ve invested in coaching and mentoring, I’ve entered competitions, and threw my hat into the ring for industry awards. No matter the outcome, the growth I’ve experienced (in the business + personally) is the best accomplishment.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
It’s vulnerable! You’re creating something from the ground up, pouring your heart, soul, and mind into it, and putting it out into the world for people to literally vote on it with their dollars. Especially at the beginning, it’s hard to separate yourself from the business. When a customer doesn’t like your ideas or your products, that has no bearing on you or your self-worth. At the same time, you’ve got to be brave enough to put your ideas out there to be critiqued and improved. It’s all such a mind game.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Find a community of supportive business owners. For years, in the beginning, I was convinced that I could do everything myself, and asking for help would set me up for ridicule and imposter syndrome. The opposite has been true: my business and confidence have grown exponentially more as I’ve grown my business network and friendships and gotten vulnerable about sharing struggles and triumphs with them.
- Done is better than perfect. I’m a perfectionist in my bones, but I never regret the times when I shake it off and do something imperfectly the first time. That’s the only way to get better!
- Question all the advice you’re given. Including mine! Run it through a gut check (no need to overthink!) because your intuition and experience matter more than anyone else’s opinions or actions.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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