Three years ago I was laid off from my ‘stable’ corporate job. My pride was hurt, I was one of the top sales reps in the office, handling the largest accounts in Utah and it was a couple of days after Christmas. When I went home early I didn’t tell Janell, I couldn’t break the news to her at that time. Her family was in town and I didn’t want to put a downer on the fun holiday that we had. After her family left, I told her. We were both a little stunned but at the same time knew the company I worked for was having financial issues which eventually led to them laying off about half their sales reps. To give you more of an idea of our situation: Janell was due with our fourth child 6 weeks later.
We were a little stressed, worried and wondered what would happen. I mean, three kids ages 6,4 and 3, no income, no insurance, my son’s 7th birthday just days away and Janell’s birthday also days away.
At the time I was bitter at the corporate world, they had no concern for my future or my family. It was annoying that they had that much control over my life and I could do nothing to stop them from letting me go.
I decided I wasn’t going to go work for someone else. I was going to make something work but what? At the time, One Sweet Slice was a hobby for Janell. One she was AMAZING at, few people knew that it was a hobby for me too. Not the baking or cake decorating but the marketing of the business.
It was basically ‘my playground’, after the kids were in bed I would use new techniques learned and test them on her website. Up until that point I had put in countless hours doing Search Engine Optimization, adding content to the site, uploading photos, handling Social Media, doing Internet Marketing and all the finances. Due to this work the demand was overbearing, we were turning away 20 wedding cakes a month. After all, it was a hobby for her and we didn’t rely on it for income since I had a ‘steady’ job that I was successful at.
I looked at doing some things with my own ideas but I was getting no where with them. By this time our daughter, Becca, was born. We were in the hospital, a couple of days after her birth we decided to open a custom cake and cupcake shoppe. I laugh while remembering the two of us sitting on her hospital bed while she was holding Becca and deciding that we were going for it. Looking back on it now, what were we thinking! We had so much against us, so much uncertainty but we both felt it was the right move.
We had no idea what we were doing and what we were getting into but we believed in ourselves and the talents we both had.
Then began the process of dealing with the city and their codes and securing financing and buying tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment. Luckily we partnered with Zions Bank. Not only did they guide us through the difficult process of getting an SBA loan but the Zions Bank Resource Center in Salt Lake City helped us set things up right.
After four months the doors opened at One Sweet Slice in South Jordan, Utah.
Here is a taste of what has happened since:
- Winner of the Food Network TV show Cupcake Wars,
- Winner Best of State 2013,
- Winner Best of Utah 2013,
- KUTV Ch 2 baking expert,
- South Jordan named September 9th ‘One Sweet Slice’ day,
- Winner Small Business of the Year 2012,
- Runner-up Business Woman of the Year 2012,
- Author of One Sweet Cupcake: Professional Decorating Secrets Made Easy,
- Janell is writing a second cupcake recipe book to be available Oct 2014,
- multiple magazine, newspaper, and blog articles,
- national radio interviews,
- opening a second location in Sandy,
- speaking engagements,
- 100% growth for 3 years,
- 25 employees.
Everyone only hears about the awesome and amazing things that have happened to us (listed above) but it has been the most difficult and challenging three years of our lives without a doubt but we both wouldn’t change it for anything.
So with this said, I just wanted to say thanks to Dave and Todd. I know it was a business decision but now I am making the business decisions, of course with my wife by my side. I feel I am finally in control of my life and my destiny………just selling $2.50 cupcakes instead of $500,000 computer systems.
Taking the advice received over dinner 3 years ago from Josh Lannon, author of The Social Capitalist: Passion and Profits – An Entrepreneurial Journey, Janell and I just reviewed our successes and failures of 2013 and our goals for 2014. We are doing our best to learn and grow from our mistakes, as we both feel this is critical for our success personally and on the business level.
I am excited to see what 2014 is going to bring for One Sweet Slice and our family.
Thanks to everyone for their support and the employees at our cake shoppes!