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Enterprise is nice for Montgomery cake designer who turned pastime into profitable enterprise

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Dee Dee Crenshaw, proprietor of Cakeology cake store in Montgomery, Ala., is seen on the store on Friday October 16, 2020. (Picture: Mickey Welsh / Advertiser)

Accelerators: This month-to-month sequence spotlights native individuals of colour chasing their enterprise desires and paving the best way for others. These are the tales of the entrepreneurs, trailblazers and threat takers who’re main the best way to the brand new Montgomery.

Fedelia “Dee Dee” Crenshaw remembers the massive, fancy desserts her mom ready when she was somewhat woman. Crenshaw cherished to take a seat within the kitchen and watch her, mesmerized as she slathered the desserts with frosting, spinning them like tops whereas she scraped the edges to kind a clean coat. That was so far as it went. Mama’s little helper was clear on her phrases: fingers off the desserts.  

“She would possibly allow us to wash the dishes after she completed,” she stated above a stifled chuckle.  

She doesn’t blame her. Crenshaw opened Cakeology, a small bake store on Atlanta Freeway in June of 2018. And because the proprietor of her personal cake enterprise, she gained’t let anybody put fingers to them both — no less than, not previous the preparation stage. Is she a perfectionist?  

“Completely. You possibly can’t, I can’t,” she stammers on the thought. “I can’t even delegate that,” she stated.  

There’s simply an excessive amount of at stake. Give it some thought, Crenshaw explains, at marriage ceremony receptions the cake is the very first thing attendees need to see. At birthday events, everybody passes eyes over it. It’s one of the crucial essential options of an occasion, and to her, it’s as private as a promise.  

“It’s my duty to make it possible for what I current for the client is as excellent as I might probably make it.” 

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Dee Dee Crenshaw, proprietor of Cakeology cake store in Montgomery, Ala., decorates a cake on the store on Friday October 16, 2020. (Picture: Mickey Welsh / Advertiser)

Working as sole designer, Crenshaw’s enterprise requires a eager sense of judgement and strict time administration, which is why she’s at all times pondering forward. It’s midweek, however her thoughts is already on the weekend. Saturdays are her busiest, which implies Fridays are her longest. Generally she stumbles out of the store as late as midnight.  

“My children have gotten used to not seeing me on these days.” 

For a July marriage ceremony, a pair commissioned a cake impressed by the 1980s film “Harlem Nights.” Wedding ceremony desserts are her favourite to design due to the element and creativeness they require. From conception to cake, it took Crenshaw 4 hours to finish the multilayered design adorned with delicate white roses and gold beading.  

“I don’t prefer to rush once I’m working. I’ve to put aside loads of time to offer it these particular touches, as a result of the little particulars are what provides as much as make a wonderful cake. All of the small belongings you won’t even discover, however as soon as you set them collectively it provides a particular impact,” she stated.  

Final Wednesday she had three occasion desserts lined up for the weekend. In a typical week she makes at least ten customized orders.  When she recollects how she obtained into enterprise, she cracks a smile. It wasn’t her plan to observe in her mom’s footsteps.

Extra: This black-woman owned enterprise had a brand new method to an outdated drawback. That wasn’t straightforward

The small enterprise proprietor graduated from Auburn College at Montgomery with a enterprise diploma targeting data programs. Cake adorning was only a pastime. She’d browse blogs and YouTube movies, some made my amateurs, some by professionals. 

“I might simply sit and take a look at desserts for hours I used to be so fascinated by it,” Crenshaw stated. Three years in the past, she took a cake design class at native craft retailer for the enjoyable of it. It modified the course of her profession. 

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Dee Dee Crenshaw, proprietor of Cakeology cake store in Montgomery, Ala., is seen on the store on Friday October 16, 2020. (Picture: Mickey Welsh / Advertiser)

“Turned out I used to be fairly good at it,” she stated. From there she started making desserts for family and friends, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations. “Just about something you’ll be able to give you. All people wished me to do desserts. It simply sort of took off.” 

Crenshaw’s enterprise administration courses have come in useful as she’s needed to discover ways to handle the challenges of entrepreneurship, significantly learn how to method advertising and finance.  

“Everybody sees fairly desserts however there’s extra to working a enterprise. Calculating and submitting taxes, all of the totally different permits. You need to keep on high of what must be renewed. Well being inspections, ordering provides and sourcing. I’m at all times searching for extra economical choices.” 

Among the many most essential classes she’s discovered is the significance of fine assist. Her accountant, for instance, has stored her enterprise above board. “He has put out so many fires for me. The issues I get into, he will get me out of.” 

Staffing can be paramount as hiring and retention generally is a large hurdle when beginning out.  

“It’s the toughest piece. Scheduling, availability, payroll prices. It’s gonna take probably the most of your cash and it’s gonna provide the most grey hairs,” she stated. Crenshaw counts herself as lucky to have developed a dependable workforce made up of principally younger black feminine school college students. She has to work round class schedules and the inevitable undeniable fact that they’ll probably transfer on as soon as they’ve graduated, however she will be able to rely upon them, they usually typically lead her to her subsequent hires.  

When COVID-19 hit, the whole lot was up within the air. On the one hand, Crenshaw wanted the time without work. She gave delivery to a boy in June, so she had deliberate to take maternity go away. On the opposite, she was fearful her enterprise won’t survive the pandemic. School campuses had been evacuated, occasion venues closed and weddings postponed. It seemed for some time like her providers would possibly not be in demand.  

“There was no want for desserts. It scared me. I believed, ‘How are we going to make it?’” 

Extra: From pop-up to buy and Fb Dwell, this downtown boutique proprietor is not any stranger to reinvention

Then individuals obtained stir loopy. Some began internet hosting small household gatherings and Zoom occasions, others simply wished one thing candy to brighten their spirts. The orders picked again up. The shop has now transitioned from curbside to masked walk-in service with restricted hours from 10 a.m. to four p.m. Tuesday by Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, probably till 12 months finish.  

From time to time, on significantly laborious or inventive tasks, Crenshaw will persuade her mom to drive an hour north up from Evergreen to Montgomery to assist her out within the kitchen. She loves this time. Her mom is not within the cake adorning enterprise, however she will get an actual kick out of it, Crenshaw stated, seeing her as soon as small and keen observer now main her by her personal designs. Fingers on cake and all. 

Contact Montgomery Advertiser reporter Safiya Charles at (334) 240-0121 or SCharles@gannett.com

Learn or Share this story: https://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/story/information/2020/10/22/business-sweet-montgomery-al-cake-designer-turned-hobby-into-successful-enterprise/3657527001/

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