When we were in New York for the Martha Stewart Dreamers into Doers event, we meet some of the most amazing women! One in particular, that we had the pleasure of spending a lot of time with was Jasmine Clouser of The Couture Cakery! She is just the sweetest ray of sunshine! Jasmine has combined her knowledge of art and design with her passion for baking to create a very successful business! Her designs are whimsical, elegant, modern works of art. Her attention to detail is amazing...as you can see her heart goes into each and every confection she creates! It is so exciting to see what is coming out of her kitchen each week! We are so excited to be featuring Jamine and her beautiful work today!
Icing: Tell us a little bit about your background and how The Couture Cakery was founded.
Jasmine: Well...I've always known since I was very little that I wanted to be an artist in some way. I'm grew up in Orange County CA and attended UCLA and graduated with a degree in design. After graduating, I worked for a prominent designer and really developed the skills to be a good designer there. Developing an eye for visual balance, letter spacing and producing high quality work were things I learned that will always be with me and are an important part of my business today. I still continue to do part time consulting and art direction in addition to my cake design business just because I love it. My interest in cake design started about 2 1/2 years ago. I was working part time at my local Michael's as the event coordinator. I decided to take the Wilton 1 cake decorating class and realized I really enjoyed it. I started out by making cupcakes and selling them at a local coffeehouse. It gave me the opportunity to try out new recipes but I realized that I was working really hard to sell a small amount of cupcakes. I decided I wanted to work smarter not harder. I am a huge fan of Flickr and was always online looking at the amazing cake and cupcake tower creations from Australia and England and thought I could do it too! I did my first bridal show in Jan of 2009 and my business has just blossomed since that time. Cupcake towers for weddings are a big part of my business in addition to wedding cakes and celebration cakes.
Icing: What so far has been the most exciting project you have worked on?
Jasmine: There are a couple of things I have done which have really been amazing. First, my cakes, dessert tables and cupcake designs have been published in the last three issues of Cake Central Magazine. It's a stunning publication and I am honored they continue to ask me to to submit and publish my work. Secondly, I live in PA now near Hershey PA and there is a huge charity event each year called Chocolate Fest. I participated as a vendor last year and entered a cake in their competition. Well, I won 1st place and from that I am now do all the wedding cakes for the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center which has been amazing opportunity. It's something I didn't expect. The wedding director just happened to attend the event and saw my work and asked me to work with them. My advice is to take advantage of any opportunities to share you talents because you never know who may see your work and want to work with you.
Icing: Who are some pastry chefs that have inspired you?
Jasmine: I have two pastry chefs that come to mind right away. Ron Ben Israel is a huge inspiration to me. The work he and his team creates is stunning and the craftsmanship is unbelievable. I am really excited that I will be taking a 3 day course with him in Savannah in March. I am a huge believer that you need to continue to learn and improve to become the best in your craft. You can never know too much and take the time to invest in yourself to continue to grow as person and also your business. The other pastry chef I really admire is Anne Heap with Pink Cake Box. She is super talented, but also a very savvy business woman. She utilizes blogging and her website to continue to grow her business. I have used her as my model for my business. I have a blog I post all my work to in addition to my website and Flickr site. I totally understand the importance of the Internet and social media as marketing tools and also the best way to interact with our clients and potential clients.
Icing: Can you give our readers some advice on starting/running a business?
Jasmine: If you dream big, produce a high quality product that people want and provide exceptional service to your clients and the professionals you work with then you will be successful. Don't make excuses about why you can't start your dream business. Just start slow and work smart and don't invest a ton of money. Network with other people in your industry to create alliances and opportunities to build you business. Invest in a good camera if you want to show photos of your work on your blog or website. It's one of the best investments I have made.