Women Crush Wednesday
I am excited to share that De L’or Cakery will be hosting weekly Women Crush Wednesdays the Sugar Edition! We are bringing you weekly advice from some of the most fabulous and creative women in the food and event planning industry. I took on this project after reading an article published by Rachel of Deluxe Wedding Cakes and I thought to myself how can we attempt to help others in an effort to prevent this repeat. A master wedding cake artist closing her business due to overhead costs. Spirit directed me to provide quality insight from the women in the field. We hope that you will learn how to maneuver our hiccups and fine tune your niche. With that said, I bring you the first installment of our Women Crush Wednesday Sugar Edition Mimi Hood!
My name is Mimi Hood & I am the Owner & Creative Director of Mimi’s Mocha Treats, LLC. Mimi’s Mocha Treats is a licensed, inspected and insured home-based custom cake studio serving the Greater Washington DC area. I am located in good ol’ Woodbridge, VA which is approximately 20 miles south of the Nation’s capital
Mimi’s Mocha Treats started completely by accident way back in 2009. I am a lover of books, so I used to frequent bookstores pretty regularly. One day I saw the book ‘Hello Cupcake’ and purchased it out of pure curiosity. I flipped thru the book a few times and decided to recreate the sunflower cupcakes in actual cake for a childhood friend’s birthday. Hahahahaha – I don’t know what the heck I was thinking about. But, I got out a Dunkin Hines mix, a container of icing and a container of Oreos. I covered a plate in aluminum foil, ‘stacked’ the cake with no supports or boards between the layers (yikes), used a knife to spread the icing over the cake and then placed a few Oreos on it. Goodness… the memories…geesh! I THEN placed some yellow icing in a Ziploc bag and ‘piped’ yellow petals on the cookies.
I’ve never looked back since then. I dream & breathe all things cake.
BTW – she loved her cake (aaawww… I have some great friends)
The most challenging thing about running my business is balancing it with a full-time job. Yep… I still work a ‘Just Over Broke’ (aka… a job) and it can be extremely exhausting. I am up at 5:30 am and don’t get home typically until around 5:30/6:00 pm. I then jump right into my cakes; whether it’s making flowers or figurines or making batches of buttercream & ganache for my stockpile. I have had to teach myself to divorce ‘procrastination’ (ha) and create a weekly schedule to complete projects. The worse thing ever is having to do all-nighters right before a cake delivery. It can completely throw you off your game. Then there is the issue of being a home-based business. You have to work within your limitations. A few examples are not having a commercial oven to bake numerous batches of cake for an order, not having a commercial refrigerator to house large cakes and constantly having to measure cakes to make sure they will fit thru your front door for deliveries! But, even within these challenges, you find ways to creatively work within your limitations.
The most rewarding thing about running my business is it is mine! I can do what I want, how I want and when I want to. I am in control of how my business is run, my brand, my marketing, my goals. I don’t have to answer to a ‘boss’ or ‘manager’ (unless you count my fiancé – lol….who often tells me I am working too hard & need to rest). In addition, I get to see my client’s reactions to their cakes….which is the center of their gathering, and see ‘their’ vision come to life.
For all the future entrepreneurs out there, I would advise the following:
- Research your industry as much as you possibly can. Get to know the ins/outs of it and think of ways YOU can make a statement and possibly innovatively solve any issues that exists in that industry.
- Learn as MUCH as you can about general business ownership. We ALL want to run our own businesses and be creative, but many go in and have no clue about what the ‘non-creative’ part of business ownership means & requires.
- Read the book ‘E-Myth Revisited’ by Michael E. Gerber. Just trust me and do it. You will not regret it! It’s only $17.31 on Amazon and it will be your BEST investment as you start this journey.
Being an entrepreneur has actually affected my family in a positive way. They are my BIGGEST cheerleaders and they support me in everything I do. Watching me run a business has motivated younger family members to look more into entrepreneurship and I think that is pretty amazing.
Hhhhhmmmm….. what motivates me? I would have to say seeing the cakes I design on paper come to life and then seeing clients react to them. I studied Architecture in college, and after 3.5 years, I had to drop out, due to finances and enter good ol’ corporate America. I have worked in the fields of Architecture & Construction for the past 20 years. I always felt some kind of way about not completing my degree, but I also knew that school wasn’t the best option for me. With that, I have never seen any spaces or buildings created from all the sketches I did in my past. Being a cake artist has given me that opportunity to use my sketching and designing skills to create an actual 3D item that is sweet and consumable. Cake has given me a purpose and I can’t imagine NOT being able to express myself in a creative fashion. I see nearly everything in cake; whether it’s a piece of art, actual Architecture or colors.
In five years I hope to be on this same caking journey, but instead becoming more of a mentor to the future cakers of the world. I also see myself caking full time, creating content that inspires others. I aspire to become a household name in the Washington, DC area; someone whom people describe as a local industry leader. Oh… and I see myself taking two to three annual trips on somebody’s beach…. Hahahaha. Why? Because I run my OWN schedule and plans.
Thank you Mimi for taking the time out to share your knowledge. You can contact Mimi at:
Mimi’s Mocha Treats, LLC