Sweet Success!

Oct 07, 2010 6 Comments

Sugar and spice and all things nice, that’s what Anne Heap’s career dreams were made of! “My life-long love for baking led me to leave my job,” explains this Boston College graduate who had a very different path laid out in the field of advertising. With her passion to strong to be ignored, Anne began culinary school at the French Culinary Institute for a Pastry Arts program. She had an intense internship with Ron Ben-Israel Cakes, later snagged a position as head pastry chef in New Jersey, but it wasn’t long till she made her own way and started Pink Cake Box.

When asked what the first few months of Pink Cake Box were like, Anne is honest to reply, “I started the business out of a restaurant kitchen, and then moved to my mom’s kitchen. So at that point I was on my own. Of course, my mom helped out a lot. I soon hired a friend from pastry school, Indira, who helped me build the business. By the time we opened the shop in 2007, I had a few employees.”

Once opening shop, Anne had to learn the ups and downs of the baking industry. It wasn’t all buttercream and fondant making, and she was quick to learn the fundamentals of accounting, while battling with QuickBooks. “It was extremely time consuming – and one aspect I didn’t imagine doing!”  A few more expense-knocks Heap endured were in the form of production costs, payroll expenses, food costs, and maintenance fees, along with business insurance and workers compensation.

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There have been some difficult physical hurdles (like failing on her first Food Network Challenge!), as well as emotional hurdles too. Anne goes on to say, “It was extremely difficult losing some control of different aspects of my business as it has grown.  Giving up answering the phone and speaking to every customer was hard when I first hired an assistant. Since my staff has grown, I have had to let go of decorating each cake myself, or making each sugar item. I soon learned these steps were necessary for the business to thrive, but it was really difficult at first!  I learned to trust other people, and when mistakes are made, I try to concentrate on fixing them.”

This pastry chef is a self-professed perfectionist and while she admits to at times being demanding with her standards, she also hopes her staff would say she’s “very fair, generous and understanding of their needs.” Part of her perfection can be found on her outstanding website created by her hubby, it boasts pictures of all cakes and pastries created at Pink Cake Box. Along with the website, the company was fortunate enough to be featured in a few local magazines, leading to larger publications such as; InStyle Weddings, Modern Bride, People Magazine and the Food Network Cake Challenge to name a few. Word of mouth soon followed and the business steadily grew.

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Much of the company’s success, Anne contributes to her staff by realizing it’s “now a team effort, not just a one-man show.” This team effort has had the opportunity to make cakes for some well known clients including, Rachel Ray’s 40th birthday cake, Maria Sharapova’s 21st birthday cake and Bethenny Frankel’s wedding cake.

Anne’s idea of success is being able to do what she loves while still making a living. Fortunately for her she is doing just that and then some. Genuine love and enjoyment of her company is Anne’s main ingredient to success. She has a great desire to create and make her customers smile. It’s evident in her fantastic fabric-created fondant cakes or her intricate detailing. She mixes passion and financial stability, while continuously looking to better the company, “I’m always trying to improve recipes, flavor options, customer service, advertising, employee and customer satisfaction. There are so many important aspects of the business that need constant attention.”

The achievements of Pink Cake Box and its owner are to be admired. We leave you with this bit of notable advice from Anne, “Try and start your business at a time that you can truly give it your all. Whether it’s before you have children, or when your children are old enough, so being away from them isn’t detrimental. I think women face an extra hurdle since so many of us try to balance a work/family life. It’s only fair to put your whole self into a business, especially in the first few years.”

Written by: Bridgette


PINK CAKE BOX
Cities, New York, She Walks The Talk, Sweets, Top Picks!

6 Responses to “Sweet Success!”

  1. Debbie @TheHipHostess says:

    Delighted to meet you, and follow your journey to success. I can certainly relate to the difficulty of letting go and delegating. Not easy, but necessary! Best wishes on your growing business.

  2. kandice says:

    amazing work! what beautiful details!

  3. Anne Heap says:

    Great job with the article Bridgette – I’m very happy with how it turned out!

    @Debbie – thanks! I’m a fan of The Hip Hostess and I wish you all the success too!

    @kandice – thanks!

  4. Anne says:

    I love this article. Even though I am thousands of miles away Anne I love your website and simply adore your designs. You are an inspiration to many of us interested in cake decoration. x

  5. Yarah says:

    Beautiful work!

  6. make money blogging free says:

    What a great tale! Many thanks for sharing.

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