Inside The Story: Cakes Made From Scratch Turn Into Multi $$$ Business

  • Photos by:
    Cake By Courtney
  • Published on:
    April 26, 2019
  • Reading time by:
    7 minutes
Cake by Courtney Rich

Courtney Rich

Back in the days there was no Youtube, Instagram, Craftsy or bloggers. In fact, there was pretty much nothing at all really, except for cake decorating books and a couple of guilds, so it was really quite a sad and lonely place. Things have really changed, though and a lot of growth has happened, since then. You can now join youtubers to learn how to bake anything! Social media star Courtney Rich, also known as “Cake by Courtney” to her mass online following, has made “all things cake,” her life motto for nearly a decade.

‘’I long ago ditched box mixes in pursuit of melt-in-your-mouth, to-die-for flavor combinations, fillings and textures.  believe cake must be decadent, life-changing and worthy of celebration! And I believe anyone should be able to bake that kind of cake – and I’m here to teach you just that!’’

Courtney Rich didn’t bake her first cake from scratch until she was 26, when her son turned one. It looked like a big brown mound with sprinkles and a candle – honestly, a train-wreck, but it tasted delicious and that’s when Rich got hooked! Over the last nine years, Rich has taught herself the dos and don’ts of baking cakes through a lot of trial and error.

‘’I’m all about, if I can do it, you can too!’’ 

Cake by Courtney is about more than just baking and decorating cakes.  Courtney Rich has dedicated her life to helping others feel pride and accomplishment in what she has found so much joy doing.  She hopes, through her online tips and tricks and through her in-person lessons that she can bring that same joy of accomplishment in the kitchen to others.

What inspired you to start Cake By Courtney?

I didn’t bake my first cake from scratch until I was 26, when my son turned one. I did it out of a bit of intimidation, actually. I was throwing my son’s birthday party and my in-laws would be in attendance. They are excellent cooks and I didn’t want to make a cake from a box or buy one from the store. So I grabbed a Bon Apetite magazine and got started on my first homemade cake. It looked like a big brown mound with sprinkles and a candle – honestly, a train-wreck, but it tasted delicious and I was hooked! It was like a fire lit inside of me and all I could think about was cake. I started looking for every excuse to make a cake so I could teach myself the ins and outs of baking. 

There are many KPI to measure the success of a company, what’s your formula to measure the success of yours?  

I think this is a little different for each part of my business. For the last three and a half years, I’ve been focused on blogging and developing recipes. I’ve measured my success by the response of my customers, as well as growth across social media. But now that I also have a physical product to sell, measuring success is certainly more focused on our earnings. 

How is Cake By Courtney different and what are the Unique Selling Points of your business?  

I started Cake by Courtney simply to share my love of baking from scratch with others. I didn’t really look at it as a business three years ago when I started, and even though it’s turned into one today, my core goals for Cake by Courtney have stayed the same since the very beginning: to create the most delicious tasting cakes, teach others how to make them just like I do, and to encourage and inspire others to simply get in the kitchen and create lasting memories with their loved ones. It’s about the experience and the new found confidence someone gains. Anyone can make a cake from a box, but there’s something far more satisfying about baking a cake from scratch. After someone creates one of my cakes, whether from my website or my cake subscription box, there’s an immediate “wow! I did that!” kind of feeling. 

What if you’re making something new – how do you decide if an idea for a recipe is viable? Do you act on all your ideas?

I’d say I act on about 99% of my ideas. I’m constantly thinking of new cake flavors and textures and have notebooks filled with my ideas. I simply bake what sounds good to me! When I start a new cake, I often have several rounds of recipe testing. I won’t ever share and post a recipe I don’t absolutely love. 

What challenges have you faced in your creative work?

I think most of my challenges center around lack of time. Being a mom of two, which is my first priority, and starting with products and my cake subscription boxes, finding time to be creative in the kitchen lately has been my biggest struggle. I always have ideas for new cakes and content, but finding the time to be in the kitchen to create can be my biggest set back. Now that our cake boxes have been going for about four months and we’re becoming more efficient in our processes there, I feel like I’m doing better at managing time between all aspects of my business.

What are you working on currently?

We’re constantly working on making sure our customers have the best experience with our cake box subscription, and we’ll be launching new cake tools throughout the year for our shop. I’m also working on spring and summer cake flavors.

Have you ever reached an impasse where you thought your creative work had become impossible? What changed your mind?  

There are times when a certain cake design doesn’t pan out the way I envisioned or my products need adjustments, but I don’t ever look at things as impossible. I think there’s always a way to achieve our goals. It just might not be in the way we originally planned. I try to stay open minded to change and alternative paths for creativity and accomplishment.

Share two words of advice for female entrepreneurs.  

Go for it! I know that may sound cheesy, but it’s the first step any entrepreneur needs to take. You have to just get out there and get started. Build your website, start your instagram, and begin creating. Our fear is our biggest hurdle. If we can get past that, we are limitless. 

Surround yourself with people who will build you up and support you – whether that’s family, friends or even joining a female entrepreneur club. It’s easy to doubt ourselves, but with the supportive voices of other women we admire and look up to in the arena with us, it’s much easier to move past the doubts and on to success.

How do you think modern women can be more fulfilled in their lives?  

Whether you’re starting a business or not, I think it’s important for all women to have something they’re passionate about in their life. Something that is theirs. Something that they can escape to and find peace in. As women, we often get caught up in helping and serving others, and we sometimes forget about ourselves. There has to be something we do for ourselves, at least on occasion, and I think fueling our passions, learning something new or developing a skill is so important to feeling fulfilled. More importantly, I think we then need to share our passions and learnings with others.

How do you help other women with your own experience?  

 I try to share everything with them! Whether it’s about making the best tasting cake or building a business. I have no secrets and love to see others grow and succeed. 

Tell us about your proudest achievement?   

I think my proudest moment was shipping out my first order of cake boxes in January. I knew building this business was going to be hard, but I really had no idea how hard it would be until I got into it. Having a ton of curveballs thrown my way before our first shipment went out was a battle to get through, but made moment of watching my first order drive away in the FedEx truck all the more sweeter.

What have been some of your failures, and what have you learned from them?  

There’s been several stumbling blocks along my journey, but I don’t really look as them as failures honestly. Without each one, I wouldn’t have learned something new that was vital to growing and improving my business. 

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