While searching for monkey theme items on Etsy the other day, I came across the CUTEST little fondant cupcake toppers ever – little yellow bananas with brown tips in a shop called Cakes and Kids. The bananas were so tiny, so sweet, and so perfect for a monkey party! Needless to say, I had them bookmarked in the blink of an eye!
Looking at the rest of the shop, I was thrilled to find safari animals, garden bugs, barnyard and under the sea critters, princesses, rock star guitars, even robots – all of which match themes in my shop! I thought, I must meet the person behind these wonderful little creations – we think alike! ; )
And so, I got in touch with Julie of Cakes and Kids to find out more about her, her work, and most important – what kind of cake does she like best?
Enjoy! : )
How did you get started in cake decorating? Has it always been an interest of yours?
I was actually first inspired after I had my first baby back in 2002. I wanted to make his 1st birthday cake myself to make it personal. Things took off from there and I discovered a love for fondant and all things related to cakes for kids.
How did you start your business, and how did your Etsy shop fit into your plan?
I actually started Cakes and Kids with my website CakesAndKids.com where I provided tips and ideas for Moms looking to make their own homemade kids’ cakes. Then I added party supplies to the site. Then I thought rather than just describing how to make certain items in fondant, wouldn’t it be cool if I could just make them for people myself and sell them. I had found Etsy while buying myself a really cool, cupcake apron and so I decided to open a fondant cupcake and cake topper business on Etsy.
What makes your Etsy shop special?
I think my Etsy shop is special because every product in there is made with love and I always imagine how excited a child is to see my toppers on their birthday cake or cupcakes.
What is a typical day like for you, and how do you balance running your business with the rest of your life?
My days are hectic. I do have a day job (in online marketing) and am also a wife and Mom to 3 little ones. So I spend my regular working day at my day job and then race home to visit with my little ones before settling in to an evening of making cupcake toppers. I do try to take a night off here and there and try to restrict my Etsy hours on the weekends to mornings only so I can spend time with my family too. It is getting more difficult though as my sales are growing. I have already had hubby helping with taping boxes.
How do you promote your shop?
My shop is mostly promoted on my website and via Facebook and Twitter. I haven’t done any paid advertising. I do relist items on Etsy once they have sold and I, of course, list new items as I create them. I have worked hard on my shop announcement and item titles and descriptions so that I rank well within Google’s search results and that has helped too.
How much time do you spend filling orders vs. running your website and blog?
I spend about 80% of my Etsy time filling orders and only about 20% running my site and blog.
What’s your least favorite part of your job?
There is a lot of repetition. I love creating new items so I do find it hard sometimes when I have to fill 10 different orders all for the same topper versus creating something new and different
What’s your favorite theme that you sell?
I love my owls!
What are your plans for the future?
I would love at some point to be able to quit my day job and just do Etsy along with perhaps some marketing consulting on the side. We’ll see!
Fun bonus questions!
What was your favorite birthday party theme as a child? And if you were to throw a theme party for your next birthday, what would it be?
I loved a birthday cake my Mom made me with ballerinas dancing around a maypole. If I had a themed party for my next birthday, it would have to be cupcake themed of course
What’s your favorite flavor of cake? Your LEAST favorite?
Favorite is yellow cake filled with raspberry jam and covered in almond buttercream. Least favorite is anything coffee flavored.
What is the last book you read?
I seriously can’t remember because I have absolutely no time to read…lol.
If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
I would want to be able to make my toppers at super fast speed