I started doing cakes about 16 years ago just before my oldest child was ready to turn a year old. I wasn't even interested in decorating, but I was very "crafty" and loved doing things with my hands. I fell in love with cake decorating and it's been a passion ever since!
Shortly after completing my first 4-week Wilton Course, I started teaching cake decorating - first as a teacher sub, then as a full-time instructor. I taught for a number of years as a Michael's Wilton Method Instructor in Greenville, SC. I enjoyed teaching very much, but as my "hobby" grew, my time with my family started to suffer.
After some serious discussion with my husband and family, and some time in prayer, we finally decided it was time to open a bakery and put the teaching aside. My parents had a ceramic business in the lower part of their home that was more of a hobby than a money-making business. So, they worked with us and allowed us to renovate and bring in the equipment to set up a health department approved specialty bakery. That was the beginning of "A Taste of Heaven, Specialty Cakes".
God blessed the business and it grew rapidly over the next few years. Pretty soon we were working 7 days a week doing 6-10 weddings weekly, plus countless other birthday and special occasion cakes. Business was great, but unfortunately "life" was hard. Our children were growing up and my family was suffering. I was working at the shop around the clock. We kept our camper nearby and there were some nights that I would just run out to the camper to get a few hours of sleep before coming back in to start the next day.
God was convicting us that something needed to change. That's difficult to do. When you own a small business it becomes hard to turn down an order. But it's a vicious cycle. If you take too many orders, you either need to work more hours or hire more help. If you hire more help, you need to take more orders to pay the help.
I would raise prices and feel guilty about it. But I wasn't over-charging for anything! The time and effort put into each cake - not counting actual expenses - was far more than most customers paid for.
As I became more tired and frustrated, I began to feel that the business was a "job" more than a passion. I was beginning to get angry with customers who would give me a hard time about price! I wanted to tell them to go bake and decorate their own cakes and see how easy it was! Most people don't understand how much it costs to run a business, let alone how much goes into each cake. I wasn't doing cookie-cutter cakes. They were special orders. I would sit down with a family that all drove up in shiny new cars, were having their wedding at the most expensive location in town, were having an open bar, and had invited 400 guests and then would balk at a price of $900 for a wedding cake! They'd usually say something to one another like, "I guess I'm in the wrong business!"
Fortunately, I also had AWESOME customers who would be wonderful to work with AND have reasonable expectations!!
But, all good things must come to an end... My husband was transferred with his job to Matamoros, Mexico. With sadness, longing, regret and relief, I turned the business over to my parents and we moved to Harlingen, Texas in the fall of 2005. We had prayed for an answer... be careful what you pray for!
I promised my wonderful husband, Marc, and my two beautiful children, Devyn and Sawyer, that I would not do cakes for a living. I said I'd do a few here and there, but I would NOT start a business. I kept that promise. I was soon back to a place where I enjoyed decorating again. I only do cakes when I feel like it, and when it doesn't put a strain on anything we're doing as a family.
We had a lot going on in the 7 years that we lived in Texas. In January of 2008, my Mother had a stroke. The kids and I drove up for a month to help out with the business and to either pack it up or sell it. Unfortunately, they had about 40 wedding cakes on the books for April, May and June. They couldn't afford to give the down-payment money back, plus we didn't want to have to cancel on these brides who would find it very difficult, if even possible, to find another decorator at this late day. So, after speaking to my husband, we made arrangements to come back for those three months to take care of the cakes.
I had just started homeschooling my children, so this ended up being a huge insight to God's planning and foreknowledge! He knew I wouldn't be able to leave my kids and go to SC to help my parents for months, so he had guided us to a position where I was able to take my children, homeschool them while they were with me and still be able to help with my parents! God is awesome!
By the end of our time in SC, we had finished up the bulk of the cakes on the books and were selling off equipment and supplies. Everything that didn't sell we ended up taking home with us to Texas, where we filled the garage full of all the bakery "stuff"!
Also during that time, I became active in the cake decorating events throughout the state, attending, participating and being asked to demonstrate at different venues, conferences and Days of Sharing. I was also pleased to help start another cake club, The Sugar Belles of South Texas. In the last few years before we moved, I was teaching classes out of my home, as well as teaching 2-3 days a week in the after-school program in the middleschools and highschools throughout Harlingen.
In April 2012, my husband Marc, was transferred once again. This time to Moundhouse, Nevada - a tiny community about 10 miles East of Carson City. We bought a home in Dayton and got ready to settle in. Shortly after relocating, I contacted the Continuing Education Director at Western Nevada College about the possibility of teaching classes there. By January 2013, I had started my first set of classes - with many more to come. In addition, I also started teaching classes for our homeschool group. One week into classes, I was contacted by a Wilton Marketing Manager regarding an opening at a Michaels store for an instructor position. Still working on the paperwork for that - but I'm excited about the possibilities coming my way!
The remainder of the page is "under construction" as my history is unfolding every day!