Bunny Bard creates the most amazing cakes I’ve pretty much ever seen and I was so excited to interview her to see how she has made such a successful business in such a competitive field. Bunny, owner of Bunny Bakes, gave such great, solid advice in this interview I found myself nodding along for everything she said. Honestly, her top three pieces of advice rang so true for me I had to share it with all of my fellow entrepreneurial friends. It just goes to show that so many of us experience such common feelings. Read on for what I found so inspiring.
I am 52-year-old wife, mother and grandmother. I graduated from FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) in NYC and worked in the fashion business for many years, then went on to do a bunch of different things including owning a REAL Bagel shop and importing keratin hair straightening products from Brazil. I then moved onto my current profession of creating custom cakes.
Why did you decide to start your own business, versus work for someone else?
I decided to work for myself because it was more flexible, I could choose my hours and my customers.
Can you remember when you first learned about your field of work? How did you discover what it was and how you knew it was what you wanted to do?
I first learned of my field of work, like so very many other cake decorators, when the Cake Boss came onto the Food Network. I thought ‘”hey, I can definitely do that” but then I figured there really wasn’t any money in it, so I pushed the thought aside for a few years…. but it kept popping back into my mind, so finally I decided to give it a try. Now I’m hooked, obsessed and addicted.
What was the best piece of business advice you were given when you were starting off?
Unfortunately there was really no best or even good advice given to me. It was only “don’t expect to make money” or “everybody does cakes” and on and on.
The most difficult part of starting the business was getting people to know that I was finished practicing and giving away cakes for free, and that it was time to start paying!
Can you name the biggest lesson you’ve learned in running a business?
The biggest thing I’ve learned is to be prepared, have ingredients and supplies on hand always so that I’m never stuck with last minute rushing, which cuts into the actual baking and decorating time.
I’ve also learned that not everyone wants to spend hundreds of dollars on an amazing cake, and I have to respect that. By the same token, I also have to learn to be polite and calm when they want a three tiered cake with hundreds of flowers for $45 because … “it’s JUST cake”.
Can you name a moment of failure in your business experiences that you learned from or that helped you improve your business or the way you work?
Failure? Oh yes – I decided to take a shortcut and not put proper foundation in a two-tier cake. When I went to deliver it, it collapsed. Luckily it was for my niece, but now I never take shortcuts.
If you were magically given 3 more hours per day, what would you do with them?
If I was given 3 more hours a day I’d use them to watch all of the tutorials I keep buying to improve my skills!
What has been the biggest sacrifice you’ve made in starting your business?
My biggest sacrifice is sleep. Since everything has to be as fresh as possible and there is so much last minute work. I often work through the night.
Barbie Cake made with Kim Gold and Gilles Leblanc
Can you name your greatest success (or something you’re most proud of) in your business experiences?
The cake I’m most proud of is the collaboration cake I made with two other cake decorators, Kim Gold of KimmyCakes and Gilles Leblanc of Les Gateaux de Gilles. We made a 2500 serving cake which was a runway with a 45′ tall Barbie on top for the press-only grand opening of the Fashion Barbie expo in Cours Mont Royal. It took us weeks of baking and freezing and a solid week of 18-hour days to build. Then we had to do the final assembly on site. It was amazing! You can see the cake here.
What business books/resources (if any) would you recommend to someone starting a creative business of his or her own?
Unfortunately, in my particular line of work I have not found any resource that give good business advice despite searching for it. There are just way too many opposing ideas that it’s impossible to know what to take from any of them.
Has failing at something ever lead to success for you? Walk us through that.
Failing? Sure! Every time someone asks me for a cake it’s something new and when they ask if I can do it/have done it, I say “of COURSE!!”… and then I have to try /fail/try again until I get it so that it looks like I do it every day!
In your opinion, what are the top three things someone should consider before starting their own business?
Before starting a business I think someone should consider
What’s the first app, website or thing you open/do in the morning?
First app I look at is Facebook… checking for new orders, questions etc, and then checking out what new exciting things all of my cake friends have posted.
What’s the hardest thing about being your own boss that isn’t obvious?
The hardest thing about being your own boss (in my particular case) is knowing when the cake is DONE… I have to resist the urge to put more and more time into a cake when the customer has only paid for a simple cake.
Interested in more? Check out these interviews with other great entrepreneurs.