Being an entrepreneur requires you to be a full-time student. I love listening and learning from successful business owners as they share their paths towards achievement. Ming Lee, an ATL based beauty lifestyle guru, is one such entrepreneur I admire. Her brand, Snob Life, is EVERYTHING. I recently discovered her YouTube and sat and watch most of her videos. She has a series called Storytime which is as entertaining as it is informative. Check out how she began below:
I get my daily fill of aesthetically pleasing sweet treats on my Instagram feed. One company I have been admiring for several months is Edible Details. Brittany is the creative mastermind behind these edible fondant creations. They are sculpted and finely detailed sweet replicas of anything from toy trains to fire flames. Visit Edible Details website for online ordering of cupcake toppers, 3D characters, Fondant POPS!, cake plaque toppers, and more. Brittany was kind enough to share her journey with us. Enjoy!
Years in the Business: 4 this Fall
You’ve been in the Arts industry for many years. As a trained professional do you feel it’s a necessary requirement to have certifications or affiliations to go along with your title?
I guess you could say I would not be where I am not if it weren't for my schooling. However, my schooling had nothing to do with how I learned to work with fondant- that skill was 100% self-taught. It was the schooling that forced me to take an internship somewhere, which brought me to California. This internship brought me into the world of making cakes and from there the profession stuck for my time in CA. When I returned to the Midwest, it was then that I knew I wanted to make a job out of my favorite part of cakes (knowing cake baking was not going to fly with my area) ... FONDANT! Thankfully it worked out and I was able to find my niche and make it a success! So yes....I guess I do have my training to thank for where I am now in a round about way,
As a little girl did you envision yourself being a baker? What was your dream job back then?
No, Not at all! When I was really young I wanted to be a dolphin trainer at Sea World! While in high school I developed a passion for cooking and that was what I wanted to go to school for! When I met with someone from the culinary school I attended, it was in that meeting that I decided to switch to baking instead of cooking after realizing what a day at a bakery would look like versus a day in a busy kitchen. I still love to cook more than bake, but "Molding Fondant" is my hobby and I still love it after all these years.
What’s your current obsession?
Pinterest recipes! I'm in the kitchen for 2-3 meals a day trying new recipes pulled from Pinterest. I think I've hit the point of obsession. ;-)
What’s your must have fashion need, particularly when you are baking?
Fashion? Oh gosh . . . ZERO cute fashions when I'm baking. :) LOL! Unless you count a classic Pony Tail as a fashion statement? My only "Must Have" is a pony tail to keep my hair back. I can NOT stand to cook or bake with my hair down.
What would you like to learn to do?
Sew! I recently decided (after many Pinterest temptations for cute kids clothes patterns) that I would like to get a sewing machine and learn to sew. My mom is an insanely talented seamstress and has been sewing since she was a little girl,so I'm hoping I can tap into some of those genes and find my inner seamstress! We are moving to Alaska soon, I think that will be a good time to pick up a new hobby on those loooooooong winter days!
Do you admire anyone’s style (i.e., fellow bakers)?
Yes! So many I don't even know where to begin! I admire Arty McGoo for her insane painted cookie skills and that she always looks so darn cute! I admire Melissa from "The Baked Equation" for her skills in iced cookies and her heart that's truly as sweet as her cookies! I admire so many Party stylists for what they can think up for a child's party....too many to name! And for bakers.....I really adore Eat Cake Be Merry, Fondant Flinger, Earth & Sugar, Half Baked, and so so many more! Cake people blow me away and I love to drool over their skills on IG! :) Oh, and Lynlee's Petite Cakes and Love and Sugar Kisses. I admire both their incredible talents as well as their humble down to earth sweet spirits in their ever popular businesses! If any of you reading this have 5 minutes to look some of these gals up....they are worth a follow on FB or IG. Love them!
I am a magazine junkie and I read multiple ones each month. What are your three favorite sources for inspiration?
Instagram (IG) and watching recent posts of Pretty Cakes from all my favorite
What led you to setup shop for yourself? What was motivation?
My motivation was moving to a tiny town in North Dakota that had no options for a bakery to work at and I knew no one there would want to pay more than $50 for a cake. Doing cakes was simply not going to help support my family! I thought about taking just fondant online and trying that. I told my husband "I think I could make this part time and maybe make some money!". WELL! Little did I know that there was a huge demand for fondant toppers and with in the first month of business I was pulling all nighters, turning away orders and I literally never saw the bottom of my inbox's for the rate of emails coming in far exceeded my replies that were going out. It was crazy! I am so thankful for the online opportunities to make this business possible!
You have developed a well known brand; your name is synonymous with opulently created fondant treats. What do you think are the three most important skills needed to be successful in building a company brand?
1) Motivation! You have to just keep at it and know that its going to take a LOT of hours to get your business where you want it!
2) Never underestimate the power of social media and making life long friendships and connections with in the online world. I can honestly saw that my business would not be where it is today and my name would not be as well known if it were not for all the amazing party woman out there who connected with my work and used my toppers over and over again for their styled shoots, for their kids parties, for giveaways and promotions, interviews. These amazing woman are really the ones who got my name out there and I am forever indebted to them all for what they've helped me accomplish! So many of them I can truly call "Friend" now too....and that support alone is priceless!
3) Maintain the business once you hit a point of making it "Big" (Lol....I still in no way feel like a big name, but I think the orders and emails prove otherwise!) and learn to prioritize, organize and really make the business what you want it to be, Fine tune it, adjust it....make it something that you will really love doing for the long haul.
I've learned to simply say "No" to things I don't enjoy making, or charging what I need to for the time that some items take to make rather than charging what everyone else's charges and lose money on it! And only taking on what I can fit into so many days a week so I'm not overworked and taking too much time away from family. I'll forever be fine tuning this business, but I would say year 4 has been my most organized one yet! :)
What has been the biggest frustration in your career?
Truthfully? The pricing. I charge what I need to for how long things take me (Seriously people...I'm not making a big profit on most of my orders!) but if I look on certain sites for people doing the same thing I'll see something similar for less than HALF the cost! I can't complete with that and it frustrates me to no end that these businesses can charge SO little for their work!? Am I just that slow? Or are they just trying to make sales and they too will soon learn that that's not going to make a business in the long run?
I try to not even look anymore because I seriously just do not get it. I can't work and only make $4 - $6 an hour (I swear that must be what some of these people must be making if they did the calculations....because 12 toppers for $10 that would take 2 hours to make just does. not. add. up!) running this business. The time away from my family is worth more than that and I'm ever thankful for my loyal customers that see and understand that value. <3
On the flip side: I also frustrate myself with my lack of ability to say "No" to people. :) I am the worst (best?) at falling head over heel for making customers happy....from the endless emails that an order can take to set up to saying yes to that sweet mom who needed something fer her baby's cake like YESTERDAY!.....I just want to make people happy and its probably a fault. :P But always....always worth it once the orders are in the hands of those happy customers. Then its worth the all nighter that it took to get something to that person. :)
Brittany thank you so very much for carving out time to answer my questions. Cheers to another successful year in business. I definitely understand your passion for your work and its conveyed in your beautiful creations. Be Well. Be Encouraged.
Years in the Business: 3
You’ve been in the Arts industry for many years. As a seasoned professional do you feel it’s a necessary requirement to have certifications or affiliations to go along with your title? Yes, I believe being talented on its own its excellent but having certification is what gives you that extra confidence and its also that extra tool that allows your customers to trust that they are dealing with a professional.
As a little girl did you envision yourself being a baker? What was your dream job back then? As a little girl I never even thought about it lol!!! I was born in NYC and my mom sent me to live to Dominican Republic when I was 10 years old. At that age I remember making and enjoying all sorts of confections like taffy also known as canquiña in Dom Rep, candied fruit (dulce de toronja, dulce de naranja), flan, dulce de leche, etc. I came back to the US at the age of 16 and also found myself voluteering my desserts and cakes at every family and friend's gatherings, without realizing this was my passion. I came to that conclusion years later when I decided to attend culinary school.
What’s your current obsession? Well... I think that would be cake stands and china lol!! I have a collection of over 120 cake stands. They are just so pretty to me and add that special final touch to your finished cake.
What’s your must have fashion need, particularly when you are baking? My must have fashion need is a fabulous handbag lol!! I don't necessarily need it for baking but I can for sure bring my Chanel to the wholesale market when I buy my cake ingredients lol!!!!
What would you like to learn to do? Photography!!!! I would love to learn how to photograph. I bought a super high tech camera and have no clue how to use it lol!!! I want to be able to take a shot of a simple green pea and allow it to say a million things when someone looks at the photo.
I am a magazine junkie and I read multiple ones each month. What are your three favorite sources for inspiration? I absolutely love flowers and sugar flowers are my to go item when I want to glam up a cake. So to find inspiration I love to take a stroll sometimes at the botanical garden or page through botanical books, specially flower ones. Also, since I am a flight attendant as well, I love to travel and use the different architectural structures I see as inspiration. And last but not least, fabrics!!! I love couture, so looking at different fabrics helps me find inspiration when constructing cakes.
What lead you to setup shop for yourself? What was your motivation? My motivation was mainly the effect my creations have on people. It gives me great satisfaction to see how happy I can make people with my work and this is what motivates me every single day.
You have developed a well known brand; you name is synonymous with opulently created desserts. What do you think are the three most important skills needed to be successful in building a company brand? Perfection which is achieved by working super hard and making sure your work is flawless top to bottom even if it takes a million hours to finish. Love for what you do, since that is what motivates you to wake up every morning and create something that will make people happy. And perhaps the most important, a great team because you can't do it on your own. Your team is what keeps you running and acknowledging their hard work every single day is what makes your brand solid and successful.
What has been the biggest frustration in your career? To be quite honest... I don't have any yet because I love what I do. That's not to say I won't ever have any, but for now I am quite happy 😊