Ira L. Black
Bakery owner Miriam Milord on how she runs a beloved and busy NYC cake shop and keeps her cool.
After creating one of New York City’s supreme bakeries nearly a decade ago, Miriam Milord has whipped up tasty treats for celebrity clients like Rihanna, Jay Z and Taraji P. Henson. Find out how she combined her passion for artistic design and baking and built a business from the ground up, all while staying fabulous in the kitchen!
Full Name: Miriam Milord
Occupation: Owner, BCakeNY
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Hometown: Düsseldorf, Germany
The Gig: BCakeNY is a custom cake design studio dedicated to creating specialty cakes with a mission to combine beauty and creativity with the scrumptious taste of homemade cake.
The Journey: I made a cake for fun because I couldn’t afford a cake and I was planning a baby shower. After the party, everyone kept saying we’d like one of those. I just kind of jumped into this and luckily it worked out.
The power of creativity: I always tell my interns that baking is something we can teach you but you need to have that creativity and talent. Knowing where to place things, how to design and make things pleasing for the eye comes with artistic talent.
Her lesson learned: I was always confident that I had a great product but the business grew a little faster than I expected so I had to learn with the challenges very quickly. A lot of people plan to grow their clientele but it was the other way around where the business just grew. I was running behind to try and catch it because there was no proper structure.
Her proudest moment: I definitely was proud when I wrote myself my first paycheck. I sometimes thought that would never happen so that was an accomplishment where I could say I can actually start living off this plan. It’s also nice to see when your kid is proud and in school he says ‘My mom makes the best cakes ever’—that’s amazing.
Her style approach: I try to always keep my nails nice and go to a hairdresser but there’s no way to have a face full of make-up when you’re around mixers that splash butter, flour and grease. With entrepreneurship, you have to represent your brand and be ready for your best client to walk in the door. I suggest always having something under your apron or your chef’s coat.
Balancing a professional and personal life: As a business owner, you can basically work 24-7. You have to self-regulate and figure out when you can totally parent and when it’s time to focus on work instead of being at the playground with the phone on your ear. It was hard to find that balance but you’re a lot more productive when you just focus on one at a time.
Advice for aspiring bakers: Speak to people who ownss a bakery, find mentors and listen to people who speak on panels to get a real-life experience. A lot of people imagine that the business is just celebrities hanging around and we’re all in beautiful pink aprons and it’s super glamorous; but in reality you may work on a cake for a few hours but then there’s a lot of dish washing and a lot of other things we don’t put on social media.
Her stress relievers: I love traveling, going to the gym and spending time with my family.
Her superpower: I don’t panic. It’s very important that I remain calm because if something goes wrong in the shop everyone’s looking at me so I can’t be the one who starts panicking. I’ve developed that calm leadership.
Her theme song: “Formation” by Beyoncé. Out of 20 people at the shop, we only have three guys. We have women leading.
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