Living the Dream (Behind the Scenes)

Janell and Trent Brown One Sweet Slice


Hi.  My name is Janell Brown, and this is my crazy husband Trent.  Well, from the picture you can tell which of the two of us is more crazy.  We have been married for over 11 years and have four kids.  Now they’re the ones who are really crazy.  Don’t worry, you’ll get to see photos and learn all about them.  We were a pretty normal family, lived in the burbs, I stayed at home with the kids, Trent worked his corporate 9-5 job, dance and soccer for the kids, crafts, book clubs and play groups for me.  I also had a little hobby on the side.  I discovered the world of cake decorating when the Wilton classes became available at my local craft store.  Cake decorating instantly became something I loved and I spent the last seven years running a little cake business from my home.  This little business began to grow when Trent applied his hobby of SEO (Search Engine Optimization, it’s how you get websites to rank higher on google) and Internet marketing to my website.

Cake decorating started to take over my life.  I love it and all, but I’m the type of person who likes to do a variety of things and I need some freedom to do them.  I was contemplating cutting back on the amount of cakes I was doing from home.  I was also raising three little kids (ages 3 and under mind you) and serving in my church as the ward Relief Society President.  Life was busy, full of variety, challenging and fulfilling.  Then in December of 2010, Trent was laid off.  I didn’t panic, he has always been a good provider, is skilled at what he does, and I knew he would be able to find another job without a problem.  We just needed insurance because our fourth baby was due in six weeks.  Then he started talking about being an entrepreneur.  “Ok, I thought, I can support this.”   Then he started talking about buying a jeep rental business in Escalante and I thought, “Ok…….we need a plan.”  Even though I was eight months pregnant I decided that I would take on more cake orders and participate in my first ever bridal show with the hope that the income would support us through the next few months while Trent figured out what he wanted to do.  It was during this time of planning that we began to talk about opening a cake and cupcake shop together.

In my cocky naivety I assumed that with the two of us working together opening a successful cake shop would be, wait for it ,”a piece of cake.”  Little did I know.  Somedays I wish I could go back to that eight month pregnant lady take her by the shoulders and tell her, “you’re crazy, you really are, don’t do it!  Buy the jeep company!”  Well we did it.  We signed the bank loan papers while I was in the hospital after delivering Becca, our fourth child.  Now usually when I tell this part of the story people say, “Wow, that’s amazing!”  and then make some comment like, “look at you now, just living the dream!”  I always smile and nod in agreement, but in the back of my mind I’m thinking something else.

Let me back up and give you a little insight into the type of person you’re going to be reading about here. . . . .I grew up in a little town here in Utah called Monticello.  Alright, I know I lost a few of you already so I’ll make this brief.  Coming from a high school in a small town requires all of the students to participate in numerous activities to keep them going.  For example, if you are remotely athletic you don’t play a “sport” you play sports, all of them.  If you can run and do something with a ball at the same time with out falling down, you’re on the team.  If you’re interested in being a member of a club, you are instantly the President or VP of two others. Now this is an exaggeration, and not everyone does this, but being a part of a small school gives you the opportunity to be a part of and experience everything!  When I realized this my Sophomore year, I signed up for everything.  I played varsity volleyball, basketball, and ran track.  I danced on the drill team for a year, acted in the school play, was a member of the Governor’s Youth Council, and National Honor Society, was the Junior Prom Queen, ran for Student Body President, was first attendant in the Homecoming Royalty and yes, I even competed in the State Make-it-with-Wool sewing competition.  I graduated with a 3.8 GPA and started my first job when I was 14 to pay for school, clothes, and all of the little things that your parents wont buy for you.  I am the oldest of six kids, four sisters and one brother and have felt the weight and responsibility of being an example, leader, and support for my family.  (You know what I’m talking about eldest siblings!)

My purpose in sharing all of this is not to say “look at everything I’ve done, and what I”m doing now, isn’t it great!”  My purpose in starting this blog is  to give you a glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes.  Every success has a price.  This is a little insight to the crazy person you’re about to learn about.  I love to learn, try new things, take on new challenges, succeed at what I do, and dream big, but behind the scenes I cannot say no when people ask me to do or be a part of something because I feel like I will let them down, I dive into and take things on when I have no idea what I”m doing (Sorry to all the brides I made cakes for during my first year of decorating, I can now see that I had no idea what I was doing), if I am not playing with the best I don’t want to play, I rarely have realistic expectations of what can be done in a reasonable amount of time (this is why I am always late) and if someone tells me I can’t or wont do something I become stubborn until I figure out how to do it.

Anyway, back to the point of all of this.  There is always another side of the story to living the dream and this is the story I want to tell in its fullness.  My hope is that in sharing the experiences and insights from my life will not only help dreams become reality, but to see the reality behind the dream.

2 Comments on Living the Dream (Behind the Scenes)

  1. Kelly Butler
    November 18, 2013 at 10:42 AM (3 years ago)

    I loved my cake you made for my wedding in 2007 haha:) Look forward to reading your blog!

  2. Valerie Phillips
    January 20, 2014 at 2:56 PM (3 years ago)

    Hi, Janell. I have a copy of your book, “One Sweet Slice,” and I want to do an interview with you for a Valentine’s Day-themed column for the Standard-Examiner. Can you please email me back with a phone number or email address for you? I think I interviewed you a year or so ago when you won “Cupcake Wars.” I was working for the Deseret News at the time.
    Thanks, Valerie Phillips


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