Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Stonebarger.
Jennifer, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I always wanted to have my own business. My problem was that I could never decide on just one thing. Growing up, mom was always making something to sell at local craft boutiques. I would always work alongside of her, often selling my own creations as a kid, but always learning new art skills and techniques. She taught me drawing, painting, jewelry making, clay modeling, and also cake decorating. My mom even had a cake business out of our home for a while.
In 2009, I was a new mom at home with 2 small children and in an attempt to avoid going back to a “real job”, I decided to try to turn one of my many hobbies into a business. So I created a blog and listed all the projects I had done for my home, my friends and family. And I started getting calls for cakes.
I had grown up surrounded by great bakers. Both of my grandmothers and my mom were legendary dessert makers and we always had a homemade sweet on hand. So I experimented with family recipes and created a menu of cake flavors.
I started out doing cakes for kids’ birthdays; word quickly spread and I was getting multiple cake orders each weekend. My skills kept improving and I was discovering the do’s and don’ts of cakes, one mistake at a time. But what I really learned was that sugar was a boundless medium and I loved conquering each edible art project.
Throughout my cake journey, I feel like doors would open just at the exact time I needed them. When my hobby started to outgrow my house, I was at a crossroads. Do I take the chance and turn this into a real business? Then, on a tip from my father-in-law (who had a friend, who had a wife that was a caterer…really), I found a fellow entrepreneur who was willing to rent some space in her commercial kitchen. When she offered me the key, I jumped at it and said “yes!” without thinking (and without even asking the rental rate!) I felt like it was my moment and if I couldn’t cut it at this location, then I would pack it in and figure out another business.
But somehow, it began to work. The orders came, and I was covering expenses. Once I could really call it a business, get licenses and insurance and start advertising, I decided to try to make wedding cakes. I had worked as an assistant for two talented wedding coordinators in my youth and I always loved being part of a couple’s special day.
At this moment, Plumeria Cake Studio has become well known in the Orange County wedding scene. I have had the pleasure of creating hundreds of cakes for all occasions. And since every cake is different, I finally found an art that changes every week and challenges my creative brain. I have found my passion, and look forward to many more years of making special events a little sweeter.
Has it been a smooth road?
Of course not! Every one of my business policies have been created based on the same sentence: “well, I will never do THAT again!” I often say that the business is a ship and I’m just standing at the wheel. I have spent money on the wrong advertising, allowed clients to walk all over me, and I have created countless cakes that I didn’t make a dime on. But each time I do something right or choose the right path, it’s so much more fulfilling.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Plumeria Cake Studio specializes in artistic cakes that are beautiful, but also delicious. I worked at so many weddings where the cake was pretty, but just not worth eating. So taste is my top concern when it comes to my cakes. My recipes are more a kin to pound cake or bundt cake, so they are moist and flavorful. I make 20 different cake flavors and keep the frostings and fillings simple so that you focus on the cake itself. My champagne orange cake has become my signature flavor and my best seller.
I am also proud of the overall experience of selecting a Plumeria Cake. Clients are invited to my private studio where they have a complimentary one-on-one meeting with me, the owner/baker/decorator herself. We talk about their event, the cake design, what they envision for their dessert as they sample full slices of our cakes. I also offer all of my wedding clients a fresh 6″ cake for free on their first anniversary.
I think my artistic background really sets Plumeria Cake Studio apart. I hand-make all of my sugar flowers and custom artwork in house. I also offer brides my design services: just bring me photos of your dress, bouquet, decor, etc. and I can sketch an original cake design just for you.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
The wedding industry in Los Angeles and Orange Counties is booming. Special occasion cakes are almost recession-proof, and since California adopted the “cottage laws” allowing bakers to start their businesses at home, I think this is the perfect place to start out in custom cakes.
- Buttercream cakes start at $6 per slice
- Fondant cakes start at $7 per slice
- We also offer mini desserts, cupcakes, and supplemental sheet cake
- Delivery and rentals also available for an additional charge
- $300 minimum for all orders
- Website: www.plumeriacakes.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @plumeriacakestudio
- Facebook: facebook.com/plumeriacakes
Kelly Waterman Photography