So, you think you want to own a bakery?
My advice is that you have to follow your own dreams. You can't deny it. But you have to be realistic. As much as it seems like we're busy, busy, busy, our overhead is humongous. You can't be starving artists.
A lot of cake decorators will work hours on a cake, and only get a small amount of money for it. You can't do that.
I'm a business man. First and foremost, you need to make money. We'll occasionally do a cake for charity, or there are times when you mess up, but you need to cover yourself, your time, and your expenses.
I'm really not the type of guy to turn down work. There are increasing demands, but I don’t want to downgrade on quality. You pick and choose your battles. People come in, and we talk about the ideas. I have cakes with flames coming out of them. We have cakes coming up with live birds. Some of these cakes are $10,000 or $12,000 cakes. They aren't cheap.
Your time is money. Your time is important.
To me, it's all about family: nothing more important in life than family. I feel so bad when I'm driving home at 8 or 9 pm, and I feel bad that I’m not with my wife and kids, having dinner every single night.
Those things are the most important – and I appreciate and cherish them. When I was a kid, my dad always sat around the dinner table. I really miss it. Those are the things you want in life, do it. Make that important.
You know, people tell me, "Oh, I love to bake." You've got to realize, I own a bakery, I'm not at home on Christmas morning, watching my kids open presents. I’m at work. But I accept that. It’s a way of a life.
People ask me all the time if I want my kids in the bakery. I think, yea, I'd love them to carry on the tradition. But do I want them working as hard as I do? Probably not.
Every holiday we're at the bakery, and we've never known any different. It hurts me to know that I miss that with my kids, but it pays the bills.
Your equipment breaks, the mixer, the fridge... anything that happens is your problem.
As much as I love my employees, they leave at the end of the day. They don’t get the phone calls. My phone doesn’t stop ringing, until I put it on silent or turn it off at the end of the night.
And it's not just me. It's any business owner. You own a business, and you instantly become your own accountant, photographer, cleaner, painter, tax adviser...everything. It's not a job. It's a way of life.
I love it. I wouldn't do it, if I didn't.