Mom Entrepreneur Creates Gorgeous Custom Cupcakes
With a passion for cupcakes and a flair for art, Kati Angelini started Kati’s Kupcakes in January 2009 once her youngest child started going to school for the full day.
Kati’s gourmet cupcakery relies on delicious cupcake recipes, many of which were inspired by her mother and grandmother, as well as Kati’s background in fine arts, which lets her create mini edible masterpieces.
With designs ranging from cartoon characters for kids’ birthday parties to elegant flowers and abstract designs for weddings, each order is custom. And though she’s only been in business for a year and a half, Kati is already turning a profit, taking orders online and working with local New Jersey restaurants and offices.
Kati shares how she has built a business that feeds her creative side, uses social media to market her high-end treats, and gives back to her community with monthly charity cupcake competitions.
Mom Invented®: What were your initial goals for your business?
Kati Angelini: I wanted to show my clients that cupcakes could not only taste great but also look amazing and be beyond what is traditionally thought of as standard baked goods. I wanted to wow my customers and bring the art of cupcakes to a whole new level.
What is your background and how does it relate to your company?
I grew up in a house where baking and cooking were a mainstay. My mom, grandmother and those before her came from a long line of ancestors who baked. I always had that in my blood. My children's birthday parties were always a treat for me because I got to showcase my talents. My husband and children love helping out with the cupcakes now and I couldn't have done it without them. My children, Alexis (11), Christian (9) and Matthew (7) are my number-one taste testers and fans!
What was your 'aha' moment when it came to starting your business?
I realized that no one was doing quite what I was doing with cupcakes. Yes, there were others making them, but no one was using the cupcake as a canvas to showcase specialty themes and custom designs for people. I said, “I can do this--I can make people feel that they are really being listened to and given something specially handcrafted just for them.” I've created Harry Potter themed cupcakes for a young fan, Phillies themed ones for a baseball lover, Winnie the Pooh and Friends cupcakes, a Parisian themed tower and so many more.
How did you determine your product's marketability?
Cupcakes are very popular right now, especially in this economy. People want to indulge in a little treat, and buying a cupcake is affordable and reminds us of the happy and joyful things in life. They make us feel like a kid again.
What was the biggest learning curve in terms of starting your business?
Figuring out the pricing, ordering, and expenses. I wasn't pricing the cupcakes right at first, so I wasn’t really covering expenses. Finally I have figured that out. The baking and creating was the easy part.
Through what markets are you selling?
I sell primarily online, however I've marketed myself to local restaurants and also work with VMeals, a company that provides offices and firms with vendor services. I also do work on corporate gift orders as thank yous for clients.
What secrets have you learned in terms of publicity and marketing?
One of the biggest things I've learned is to stay active with social media. I am constantly marketing myself on sites such as Facebook (almost 1000 followers), twitter (over 1500 followers), Flickr, Tumblr and many other sites. Joining as many sites and media outlets as possible has done wonders for getting the word out about my business.
I use Flickr to upload all of my photos and join groups on there. I also write a blog on my website to keep people aware of what I'm doing. I check in on all of these sites daily and usually throughout the day to keep people aware that I'm here, I'm working and I'm making beautiful delicious cupcakes that they, too, can have at their next event.
I also host a monthly cupcake competition in my hometown and the proceeds benefit local charities. I feel great that I am helping others through cupcakes. We've raised money for organizations such as Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, the Ronald McDonald House, Haiti Relief Fund through the RedCross and FoodBank of South Jersey. We most recently had a cupcake competition on May 23 for the Animal Welfare of NJ to help our four-legged friends.
How did you finance your business?
We've invested about $7,000 from our own personal savings. We are going on the second year of being in this business and we are finally starting to see a profit. Doing what you love really helps during the times when you aren't seeing a profit.
Our turn to profitability has been due to positive press and word of mouth, a lot of work through social media, and finding the right providers for our supplies, such as cupcake packaging, cupcake towers and cupcake sprinkles. We can see that the future will be bright. The business is growing each and every day.
How have you managed to juggle the roles of business owner and mom?
It's difficult to try to manage it all. I talk with my husband often about how challenging it is to balance being a mom and a business owner. I am not very good at scheduling time for myself. I've actually gained some weight since starting because I can't find time to exercise or cook meals. It's all about eating on the run and work, work, work. We actually have family meetings from time to time about what works and what doesn't. My goal is to find a balance between doing what I love -- creating beautiful and delicious cupcakes -- and finding time to care for myself and spend time with my husband and kids.
What kind of support system do you have in place personally and professionally?
My family is my biggest support system. They are always telling me how proud they are of me! I have a great group of people around me including a great web designer, SEO guru, marketing person, wonderfully supportive friends and family, and a cupcake helper who pitches in on super big jobs.
What advice would you offer other moms developing their ideas?
Don't give up, hang in there. If you love what you do, it will all work out.
Thank you, Kati, for sharing your story! To learn more about Kati’s Kupcakes, visit KatisKupcakes.com.
If you have a great story to share about your product or business, we’d love to hear it! And if you’d like to connect with other amazing women inventors and entrepreneurs, join the Mom Invented Community!