This week’s Woman 2 Watch, Amy DeGiulio, is the owner of the Sugar Flower Cake Shop where she creates unique special occasion and wedding cakes made from local and sustainable ingredients featuring realistic-looking flowers that are all handmade from sugar. Amy’s Flowers are so realistic looking and beautiful that she was featured in Martha Stewart’s Wedding Magazine. Read below to find out how Amy makes life so sweet!
FG: How did the Sugar Flower Cake Shop get started?
AD: I began Sugar Flower Cake Shop as a hobby after taking some classes to brush up on my cake decorating skills. I was working as a high school mathematics teacher at the time (after five years as an actuary) and needed something to occupy my time. I created a website in my spare time and people began finding it, including the people at Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine in my first year! From there, everything just grew. I relocated to New York City almost two years ago and I have been making amazing contacts ever since.
FG: How do you balance the actual work of baking and creating the flowers with the running of the business?
AD: It’s tough! I try to document everything that I create. Since flowers are seasonal, sometimes so are sugar flowers. When I pick up a new flower after not having done it for a long time, I don’t want to waste time trying to figure everything out again. This transfers over into the running of my business as well. I really try to document what calls I have made, where I need to focus in my marketing plan, what supplies have to be ordered, etc. so that everything is in front of me and I don’t feel so crazed!
FG: What is a common misconception people have about what you do?
AD: I have been mistaken for a florist a few times. I am very flattered for the realism of my sugar flowers, but would obviously prefer to be known as a cake baker.
FG: Who have been some of your most notable clients thus far?
AD: I have a great relationship with the editors at Martha Stewart Weddings Magazine and have collaborated with a bunch of different designers and other bakers on photo shoots for their pages.
FG: What are your most popular themes for wedding cakes?
AD: Obviously, I get a lot of requests for floral designs. Most of my clients are looking to keep things simple, yet elegant.
FG: What should couples keep in mind when selecting their wedding cake?
AD: Couples should choose a baker that they are confident in. They should sit down at a cake tasting and discuss ideas and flavor options. The baker should have prior experience in the kind of style that the couple is looking for (e.g., if you want a cake in the shape of a dragon, be sure the baker’s portfolio consists of something similar).
FG: How do you balance family life and the work you do for the foundation?
AD: Balancing work and play is definitely a difficult task. I just try to carve out a little bit of time each day where I am not immersed in work. Since I work for myself, this may come as a big break in the middle of the day and I will pick up doing wedding cake sketches in the evening.
FG: How many of your business decisions are based on know how vs. your intuition?
AD: It’s really hard to put a number on it, but I try to rely on my past experience as much as possible. If there is something that is new to me, I will reach out to colleagues, friends and family to get their input and then make a decision. It’s really nice having an advisory board of sorts!
FG: What do you consider to be some of the major highlights of your career thus far?
AD: I think each wedding cake I do is a highlight. I just love working with creative brides. A wedding coming up at the end of July is going to feature individual cakes as centerpieces for each table. It’s such a cool way to multipurpose and save a little bit of money.
FG: What is a spiritual mantra or philosophy that you live by?
AD: I believe in balance. This transfers to every detail of my life down to the recipes of my cakes. They are moist, yet not overly sweet.
FG: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
AD: To read the E-myth books.
FG: What would you tell your younger-self if you knew then what you know now?
AD: Keep doing what your doing and good things will come.
FG: If your life came with a soundtrack, what would be the top three songs?
AD: Sticky-Sweet by Erin McCarley because I think it’s an appropriate song for a baker, New Soul by Yael Naim because I love the snappiness of the tune and it was in a Mac commercial (I’m a techno-geek and love all things Mac!), The Way I Am by Ingrid Michaelson because I’m a romantic, but don’t think people should put too much pressure on themselves to be what they aren’t.
FG: What project(s) do you have coming up?
AD: I mentioned one already. Others include a cupcake tower for a cocktail party, a few simple cakes from my new Chic Cake Collection and a custom cake to replicate a giant flower one of my brides is wearing on a sash around her gown.
For more information on Amy or the Sugar Flower Shop please call 917/639-3901 or email her at email@example.com. You can also visit her website at www.sugarflowercakeshop.com. You can also follow up with the Sugar Flower Shop on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sugar-Flower-Shop/49297904970) or Twitter (http://twitter.com/sugarflowershop).