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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Birthdays & Bursting Bubbles

Both of my girls celebrated their birthdays last week. The poor kids are my guinea pigs… if I want to try a new cupcake design or flavor I usually end up making them for one of their gatherings. The cupcakes in the photo were for a small family shin-dig.

Truth is… my girls aren't all that crazy about decorated cake. (perhaps they've O.D.ed?) They prefer a cheesecake or a plain angel food cake. I'll make the angel food cake for them today.

Other birthday traditions include choosing a special dinner. My oldest daughter chooses something different every year. My youngest always requests fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy. mmmmmmmmmm.

It's also time for peaches from the farmers market and vegetables from the garden. I'm not crazy about peaches but my family eats them and I love the way they look in my old bowls. Mom's canning tomatoes today so as soon as I get this post published, I'll head out to the garden to pick some for her.

In other news…

Have you read this article from Slate?

The Cupcake Bubble

Cupcakes are now showing every sign of going through the bubble cycle. The first-movers get buzz and revenues, gain critical mass, and start to expand rapidly. This inspires less-well-capitalized second- and third-movers, who believe there's room enough for them, and encourages established firms in a related industry to jump in.

Cupcakes are having their moment, no question, and many could make sweet profits. But remember what always happens after a sugar rush: a crash.
Does this spell doom and gloom for those of us who want to start a baking business? I don't know… here's my take on the article…

Someone started a unique, cool cupcake shop. It was successful. Others copied the idea, added their own twist and were also successful. Now everybody's jumping on the bandwagon…
And while cupcakes doubtless offer good margins, a baker has to sell a lot of them to make real money. That will surely tempt many entrepreneurs to start mass production. But the minute you start baking at a central location and trucking to the goods over long distances, the value proposition inherent in the product can grow stale, as Krispy Kreme found.
I'm not planning to jump on the cupcake bandwagon. I like making pretty little cupcakes, but my plan for Sugar and Meringue has never been all about starting a cupcake bakery. My focus is on creating artful cookies and cupcakes that can be presented as gifts. I've always thought my business model was a little more like that of a florist than a bakery. I imagine people buying my cookies as gifts for some of the same occasions they might buy flowers and using my cookies as favors and table decor (kinda like flowers).

Anyway… that's my 2¢. I think there's a place for our baking businesses as long as we offer something unique and there's some sincerity behind what we do. We'll see what happens!


Celestial Charms said...

I've always admired all your sweet creations. Your positive attitude also "takes the cake." You're trying to follow your passion, for all the right reasons. Success will always come to those who are genuine...and that is you. I'm sure your children are very proud of you...even though they would prefer plain instead of elaborate.

heather said...

i would buy your cookies and cupcakes for every celebration. they are so bright and colorful. who wouldn't want to open a edible gift that tastes good and looks pretty!

SugarBelle's said...

All I can say is AMEN!!! all that mass production stuff turns this fun into something a lot like WORK, LOL, which totally defeats the purpose of doing it. I'm with you. No bakery with mass produced carboard tasting rubbish. I was thinking small pieces of great tasting art.

PS-Glad I am not the only one who makes my family eat the experiments!!!