In 2009, my wife, Christine, wanted to take a cake decorating class, so she did and, little did I know at the time, a new path for our lives began to enfold. What started out as a hobby quickly turned into arduous and long hours on the weekends after our "regular" jobs, then quickly turned again into a viable business. We opened our first storefront in June of 2011. I soon would have to quit my job to help with this burgeoning business. I LOVED my job, at that time, as campus minister, but following this new path was inevitable. I didn't know it at first, and it would take quite some time to get there, but this journey would show me that "it's more than just a cake."
From Teaching to Cakes
Before Christine and I started this cake life 11 years ago, we were both teachers - she taught elementary school in Alief ISD and I was the campus minister at St. Agnes Academy. We were good at our jobs and felt very content with the work we were doing. Teaching is a noble profession. We were doing meaningful work and making an impact on young children's lives.
But Christine's talent for creating cakes and sweets was undeniable. She had a gift and others wanted the fruits of this gift. My role at first was simple - create and sustain a business around my wife's amazing talents and figure out the incredibly numerous details that would allow this business to provide a living for our family. I had so little experience running a business that everything, early on, was something new that I had to learn, and learn quickly. I simply was just engulfed by all these business details that I had no time (or energy) to reflect on the meaning of my newfound work.
Hard Work and Passion
In a nutshell, running this small business (or any small business for that matter) is not easy. In fact, it's dang hard! We have had many ups and downs, successes and failures, highs and lows. We've been at the top of the mountain, thinking that it would be a smooth ride from here on out. And we've been in the valley of death, feeling like a complete collapse (and bankruptcy) is just around the corner.
But what has sustained me through it all was the reality that my wife was pretty darn good at this cake thing. There is something unique and special here. There has to be because people keep coming back and ordering more cakes. Some may think "It's just a cake," yes, but when done well with lots of thought, passion and hard work (I wish everyone can see how much "sweat and tears" Christine puts in - it's not uncommon for her to stay until 2 or 3 am to make sure a cake is perfect) that birthday cake becomes a tremendous source of happiness for the birthday boy, that baby shower cake for the parents expecting their first child, that wedding cake for the couple exchanging vows or that anniversary cake for the seniors celebrating 60 years of wedded bliss. In this way, it becomes more than just a cake. It becomes something filled with meaning and purpose. (In the last couple of weeks, we have received some very kind and uplifting reviews from our customers who were just thrilled by the cakes and service they received. These are the moments that confirm to us that we are on the right path.)
Not Just Sugar and Flour
What I have come to realize more and more this past year is that our work at TSB is not just sugar and flour and a dash of vanilla but something more, something that has meaning and purpose - we serve our community by creating beautiful cakes that reflect the joy and excitement of significant milestones in people's lives. Or as Christine puts it - Life is what you make it, so make it a sweet one! We all can use more moments of sweetness and joy in our lives. Here at TSB, we hope to be a source of that for many more years to come.