Her stunning cakes and cupcakes are finger-licking good. But chasing her dream of sharing sweet and glamorous treats with the world required cash and a master plan. Sydney Perry of Sydney’s Sweets shares her journey of opening her own New York City bakery while juggling marriage, motherhood and a full-time accounting job.
Name: Sydney K. Perry
Title and Company: Owner and Cake Artist for Sydney’s Sweets Desserts
Location: Long Island, NY
The Gig: I create beautiful and delicious desserts! I bake all of my cakes from scratch using hand crafted recipes. I make sure all of my desserts look like a work of art but taste like Grandma’s secret recipe! I will go out to eat or see something in a magazine that will inspire new flavor combinations in my mind. I enjoy talking to my clients and understanding their vision. They challenge me to stretch. Their reactions and reviews are the icing on the cake.
The Journey: My mom would always bake desserts and I would be right by her side. As soon as I graduated college with an accounting degree, I started baking for fun and giving things away just to avoid eating it myself. Soon, people began reaching out to me asking to bake things for events and even offered to pay me! As custom cakes became popular, I tried it and realized I had real talent. That’s when I decided to go into business while still keeping my accountant job.
The Step To Success: My husband and I were baking and decorating out of our home until our business outgrew the space. One night we were on a date and saw a sign for a retail space that would be perfect for a bakery. We called on a whim. It took about seven months to move from that first phone call to hosting our grand opening. We had to gather the funding, purchase loads of equipment, renovate the store and do tons of marketing to make it happen successfully.
Juggling a Job and a Business: While owning a bakery, I also still work fulltime. While I do a good job, I may not be selected for that next promotion and that is okay with me. I know the vision I have for my life, and prioritize my entrepreneurial endeavors. My long-term goals and vision do not include the full-time spot. I also have the amazing support of my husband and parents, who help keep the balls moving in the juggling act.
Business 101: Master your craft and know what makes your product/service stand out against the competition. Be ready to dedicate at least 60% of your time to doing things not directly related to your craft, such as marketing, ordering and managing. Also, utilize and expand your network and surround yourself with people who can help you get to the next level in business.
Her Biggest Lesson Learned: I used to “feel bad” for making people pay the going rate for comparable services. I undercharged on my product and was bringing in a loss. I put my accounting skills to use and determined the perfect price point to break even and bring in an ideal profit. I also did a lot of market research to see what others charged and how my work compared. I had to know my value and stand by it.
The Balancing Act: I work, run a business and have a son, who is 2 next month. I’ve learned to give myself time off. As an entrepreneur you must schedule time for you to turn off and relax. I go on dates with my husband, have a girl’s night in with my friends, or just lay on my couch with a good novel.
Her Tech Must-Haves: I am obsessed with my Fitbit! Owning a bakery has had some collateral damage on my waistline. Wearing the Fitbit and being in challenges with friends has brought out my competitive nature and leads me to the gym!
Her Beauty Bag: I use Keihl’s Deep Pore Daily Cleanser.
Her Power Accessory: I love a statement necklace. It can jazz up an otherwise very simple outfit.
Her Best Advice Received: You are 100% responsible for everything that happens to you in your adult life. If you don’t start the business, if you do get the big job, if you gain weight, it’s all your own doing. When I let that sink in it was empowering. Nobody could stop me.
Her Superpower: Time management. In a craft that has several steps working towards the end product, this is crucial to me staying on track.
Her Theme Song: “There’s Hope” by India Arie.