Wednesday, September 29, 2010

IBIE Day 4 - Last Day

I took my second four hour class on the last day and it was an Airbrushing class with Marsha and Roland Winbeckler. The Winbecklers are a married cake artist team that have been doing cakes for ages and have made some amazing cakes - go on and Google them.Roland is a whiz at airbrushing and he taught us four hours worth of techniques and we got to practice as well. It really made me feel more confident about using my airbrush and wanting to buy a new one (the one we used in class). Check out some of the stuff I learned how to do. I learned that having control with the airbrush is very important and we did worksheets to help us with that. He also taught us how to make stencils and how to use other tools to help in airbrushing. It was totally a worthwhile class and I am glad I took it.I spent the rest of my day finalizing a deal with Somerset about a new fondant sheeter and watching a SugarVeil Demo done by Julie Bashore (got a pic with her). I also tried to get one more look at as many booths as I could even though they started packing up to leave early. I guess not as many people stay the whole 4 days. It was totally worth it to me. It was an amazing experience. I did miss my girls though and was excited to go home to them.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

IBIE Day 3

I started Day 3 in a couple more morning seminars. Theme Based Merchandising which I don't do a lot of and after listening to the lady talk about it, I don't know if I am going to do more - it seems like a lot of work and very expensive - and the second seminar was Sculpted Cake - Pricing and Marketing Strategy. In listening to these cake artists talk about how they price their works of art, I realized that there are multiple ways of doing it and there is no wrong way. It all goes back to a basic economic principle - something is worth what someone else is willing to pay for it. Obviously, time factors in as well - the longer it takes me to make you a cake, the more expensive it will be.Day 3 was when I really go to spend a lot of time exploring the vendor and exhibit halls. It was massive. The pictures do not do it justice. I walked for miles and saw so much stuff and ate so many sweets of all kinds and breads. I never needed to buy lunch, there was always something to nibble on. I ate a fresh donut everyday, panna cotta from another vendor, cakes, chocolates, breads, you name it. Even Gelato.They had a cake competition going for the full four day event and it was fascinating to watch these cake artists do their thing while hundreds of people watched and they had to do cakes in many different categories.That evening, I decided to go to the Chef Rubber open house since I had a rental car and I could get these easy. It was fun - there was more ice cream and chocolates to taste and I bought a couple of tools I needed.
The night was young and I was in Vegas so I decided to spend some time on the strip. I found parking, walked around for a bit, did a little slot machine gambling (spent all of $2) in New York New York, drank a free juice while playing the slots and then called it a night and went home. I know what you are thinking - I am a crazy animal!

Monday, September 27, 2010

IBIE Day 2

On the second day of IBIE, I sat in seminars all morning. One was called Baking Healthy - Using Alternative Ingredients and while it was very interesting, it didn't really apply to what I do. The stuff that makes my product taste good is real butter and sugar, not substitutes. Plus, I can't change some of my ingredients because as a decorator, I need my product to be stable in a certain way so I can decorate it.The next one I sat in was called Wedding Cakes - Sales, Production and Delivery and that was a panel of three well known cake artists who answered questions about these types of issues for an hour and a half. It was very interesting because listening to the questions and answers helped me know I am doing all the right things in my business. The panelists explained a lot of things they do in their business and as I listened, I thought, "Hey! I do that too!". That made me feel good that I doing the right stuff.I spent more time in the afternoon in one the four huge exhibit halls and met Courtney Clark - another famous cake artist. She was searching for packaging for cake truffles and I happened to be doing the same thing. I met her at the Callebut Chocolate Booth (which is the fine Belgium Chocolate I use).In addition to classes, seminars and vendor booths, they also had various competitions going on during this expo and the pastry chefs making bread sculptures was amazing. I took the time and got a couple of pics.When exhausting Day 2 was done, I was in the mood to go out and get an In and Out burger so I convinced the Hopkinsons to go with me and we did and I ate, conquered and enjoyed. The double animal style burger was amazing.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Viva Las Vegas!

Somehow I managed to convince the President of 3C Corp (Lorne Campbell) that I should go on my first business trip to Las Vegas for the IBIE (International Baking Industry Exposition) which is an extremely large Conference and Expo that is only done every 3 years and encompasses all things baking and pastry.
There were to be classes and seminars that I was interested in and also I wanted to spend time in the expo halls checking out vendors and seeing what kinds of products would be beneficial to our business now that we are thinking of expansion.I signed up to take two classes and my first class was the first thing I did on the first day which was a cake sculpting class with Bronwen Weber who is a famous cake artist in the industry. It was a four hour class and she was an excellent teacher. We sculpted a Vegas showgirl cake but I think mine ended up looking like Carol Burnett as a fortune teller.Later I spent time in the exhibit hall and watched Ashley Vicos give a demo on easy sculpted cakes. I liked her demo because she tries to use as much cake as possible by baking different shapes and trying to carve less thereby wasting less cake. Brilliant - she too is very well known and has been on TV and graciously let me have my photo taken with her and we spent a lot of time talking. I could totally see me being her friend.After the day was over and I had consumed enough sugar to last me a lifetime - I went back to the Hopkinson's house - I got to stay with them to cut costs and also because I missed them and wanted to spend some time with them. Chloe and I made a craft together and I let them cut and eat the cake I had made.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Taste of Mount Vernon at Woodlawn

Having been a member of the local Chamber of Commerce for the past two years and being quite active in it, they asked me to be the chairperson of the Taste of Mount Vernon event which I participated in last year.
This year, the event was held at Woodlawn Plantation which is conveniently located across the street from my shop. We secured about 15 local vendors and sold a fair amount of tickets. We did a drawing at the shop and gave out a few sets of tickets as well.It was a very warm evening and the tent had a lot of people in it. It was a hugely successful event and I was happy that it all went so well. The food was good and the people were all in a happy mood.Our table was run by Mod and we did well and got lots of great feedback on our cupcakes as well. I do love participating in this event and hope it will continue to draw more and more people so we can boost local business sales.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

O-H I-O!

My dear friend Amy called me and told me she was going through a difficult time so we decided to drop what we were doing and go up to see her. It was also a good excuse to meet her new baby Daniel and watch some Buckeye football.
I got the family Ohio State shirts so we could be festive and we got some gifts for baby Daniel as well. It was so nice to see Amy and meet little Daniel who is about 5 months old. He is a cutie and a good little baby. I got to hold him a lot and I loved that.Jasmine had fun playing and we had fun hanging out and relaxing and watching the game which I am happy to report the Bucks won! I can think of no better way to spend an afternoon than being with people you love, watching a good Buckeye football game and eating Graeter's Ice Cream. Go Bucks!