Who’s Who: Lynlee’s Petite Cakes

Hello and Happy Who’s Who Tuesday!  Up this week…Lynlee Beckett of Lynlee’s Petite Cakes!

Lynlee Beckett of Lynlee's Petite Cakes

Sometime in mid-March, I actually featured Lynlee’s Bunny Hole Push-Up Pops in my post “Picks for a Bunny-tastic Holiday“.  I try to keep up with the party scene and really enjoy all the work that the event stylists put into their tables and parties, and when I saw that Easter Egg Hunt styled by Lynlee in the Spring Issue of The Party Dress Magazine…well I had to include it in that bunny board!

Easter Egg Hunt

Anyway, let’s back track a bit….  Remember that Dreamers into Doers event I blogged about when I first started Daily Bits?  I’ve referred back to it quite a few times because so many of the fabulous women I have spotlighted (and will be introducing in the weeks to come) are part of Martha’s Dreamers.

Well, up until that event in March, I had only really kept up with Lynlee’s work through Facebook; I know there are the other social media outlets like Twitter but I have only been able to really keep up with things through the one and typically go cross-eyed with the other (lol).  Luckily, I had the opportunity to meet Lynlee in person at the event, where we shared some giggles and photos and whatnot…and I’ve asked her to take part in Daily Bits so that you, too, can get to know this sweet lady 🙂

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was a child, I wanted to be a singer/rockstar when I grew up!  I’ve always loved to sing and annoyed my little brother all the time…whether it was in my room, the car or all throughout the house!  Though I am not pursuing this career as an adult, I have to admit…I’m sure my current neighbors might have their own complaints! 😉

Silly Old Bear - Winnie the Pooh

When did you start your business and what inspired you to do it?

I started my business back in 2010 shortly after I threw my daughter’s third birthday.  I had always loved planning parties and decorating cakes/cupcakes with frosting, but I had not tried my hand at fondant.  When we had decided on a cowgirl theme, I wanted to do something a little different for her cupcakes and started searching the internet for some ideas.  I came upon a tutorial to make three-dimensional fondant horses and decided to tackle my fear of fondant and give it a try.  I left my career as a retail buyer and ever since, I have been enthralled in this love affair with both fondant and parties and have been so fortunate to have been able to turn it into my new career!

Come Fly Away - Pan Am

What are the most important business lessons you have learned so far?

I would say the most important lesson I have learned thus far has been to be able to adapt and change my plans and goals as necessary.  Having a business plan to lay out the road map for where you want to go is indispensable…but when business and demands change, it is vital to be able to re-route and change directions to stay on track for the bigger picture. Constantly re-prioritizing is also key for not only a business, but to attempt to achieve balance with your home life as well! I also feel that social media is an invaluable tool for the modern business…be it small companies or large corporations, especially when it comes to advertising and promoting your brand, as well as networking and developing relationships with members of any industry.

Pirate Fondant Toppers

 What has been your favorite project so far and why?

Such a difficult question, as the list of favorites in terms of both fondant work and parties is long…but I would say that to date, my absolute favorite project was my daughter’s Finding Neverland party to celebrate her fourth birthday party.  I loved incorporating the decor and beauty of the Victorian era with the imaginative play of the classic Peter Pan story to allow the kids imagine and believe!!!  I have a special place in my heart for children’s themes and parties because of this notion of “believing” and the sheer happiness that comes from it.

Finding Neverland - Peter Pan

Random quirky question here….  If you were an animal, what would it be and why?

If I were an animal, I’d have to say I’d like to be a French poodle. I have an affinity for anything French and this iconic animal epitomizes elegance and intelligence and the overall “ooh la la” city girl way of life! ♥

Find out more about Lynlee’s Petite Cakes by visiting:

Who’s Who: The Hudson Cakery

Good morning!  Good morning!  This week’s spotlight for Who’s Who is none other than Jennifer Bunce of The Hudson Cakery, an upscale custom cake boutique in Hudson County.

Established in 2009, Jennifer’s passion for baking is reflected in cakes that are infused with flavor, using only the freshest ingredients.  Each cake is tailored to the needs of her clientele and taste as good as they look!  Her hard work has not gone un-noticed; she and her cakes have been featured in the New York Times, Style Me Pretty and 201 Bride Magazine…to name a few.

On a personal level, I met Jennifer at the NYC Dreamers into Doers dinner that was hosted by Dawn of Bee*s Knees Parties and Khaliah of The Party Muse.  At the time, I had plunked down on the seat beside Jennifer, exchanged our howdy-do’s, and found out that she was practically a neighbor (we both live in Jersey City).  Since then, I have enjoyed spending time with her at random girl’s breakfasts, and worked on a set of printables for a wedding she was involved in, as well as a print that adorns one of the walls in her new shop in Weehawken (I hope; I haven’t had the opportunity to pop into the new location!).

Anyway, without further ado, here’s Jennifer…a totally awesome, fun, and talented…sweets artist and friend!

Tell me about the last project that you walked away thinking, “Man, I’m good!”

I had a sports celebrity client who needed something unique and detailed in under 72 hours.  Normally, this would have taken 5 days, but because I wanted to work with this client again in the future, I was really motivated to do this project. It had to be perfect!  So, after 72 hours of baking from scratch, stacking, constructing, piping, decorating and not sleeping, I was happy with the results.  More importantly, my client was happy!

When are you completely satisfied with your work?

When a bride calls me first thing after the honeymoon to tell me that she was in love with her cake.  I seriously get teary-eyed!  That’s happened twice now in 3 years and I still cannot believe I got those phone calls….

What is your favorite flavor combination for cakes?

Definitely, my Chocolate Fudge Cake with Peanut Butter Buttercream.  Ah. Maze. Ing.

If you were a rock star, who would it be?

I’ve always loved Gwen Stefani – ever since high school.  She seems like she has it together – her music, her family, her ABS!

What do you fill your time with when you’re not working?

That one day a week where I’m not working (but still checking e-mail…*sigh*)…I love to go for a run and clear my head.  And, go to yummy restaurants with my fiance – we are complete foodies!

Keep up with Jennifer and the Hudson Cakery by visiting:

Who’s Who: Bee*s Knees Parties

In April of 2011 – a week or so after I had joined the MS Dreamers Into Doers Community – I received an invitation from Dawn Menon of Bee*s Knees Parties to join a few local Dreamers for an informal dinner in NYC, which she was co-hosting with Khaliah of The Party Muse.

As I was brand new to business ownership, I jumped at the opportunity to meet others who were in the same boat as I was – creative entrepreneurs with small businesses.  After a memorable evening of laughter and get-to-know-yous…sharing and discussion…as well as a surprise visit from Amy Atlas (surprise for us, but coordinated by Dawn and Khaliah), I left the restaurant with a spring in my step and new friends in my heart.

This week I am spotlighting Dawn and Bee*s Knees Parties in our weekly “Who’s Who” so that you, too, can get to know this fabulous woman who imbues each of her parties with incomparable style.

Dawn Menon of Bee*s Knees Parties

A Bit About Dawn

Dawn Menon has been a children’s event planner for the past seven years.  She first opened The Little Tea Company in 2005, which was an on-location birthday party company that served the NY area.  During that time, her parties were strictly dress up tea parties for little girls.  After she and her family relocated and her third son was born, Dawn took a year off from the party planning business.  During that time, she saw a change in the business and decided to refocus and re-brand.  Dawn felt it was time to offer unique parties for little boys as well, so she opened Bee*s Knees Parties in 2009.  Over the past three years, she has had the pleasure of planning events for her fantastic clients, as well as family and friends.

Barbershop Party, 2011 (photo credit: 2 girl phototique)

Do you have any mentors that have helped you along as you built your business?

Since day one, my husband has been my biggest supporter and fan.  He helped me build my little company to become what it is today.  Because he works in finance, he is my “business Yoda” and my go-to guy whenever I have a dilemma.  As far as mentors, I admire from afar…I am a big fan of women who may have taken a risk and never looked back.  For me, those women include Sara Blakely (creator of Spanx), Lilly Pulitzer (clothing designer), Rachel Stephens (photographer), and Amy Atlas (lawyer turned internationally known “Sweets Stylist”).

Minnie Mouse First Birthday, 2012 (photo courtesy of 2 girl phototique)

What are the most important business lessons you have learned so far?

After doing children’s event planning for some time, I love that I am still learning and – to me – that is one of the biggest lessons in itself.  One should not proclaim that they already know everything in their field.  Things are always changing and if you do not evolve, your business will suffer.  I believe having a strong vendor list is also key when you are in event planning.  When you trust your key vendor’s level of work, that is one less thing you have to worry about, or micromanage.  I am happy to have built a strong network of vendors, who have become my friends.  Through these vendors, I have also learned about their side of the business, which is so interesting to me.

What did you think you were going to be when you were growing up?

Definitely Wonder Woman.  By age 4, I had so many pairs of Wonder Woman Underoos because I insisted on wearing a pair everyday.  I even had gold wrist cuffs made out of aluminum foil.  I was convinced I would be called to help someone and I wanted to be ready!

French Frog First Birthday, 2011

If you were a rock star, who would it be and why?

I would have to say Tina Turner.  I admire her resilience to every obstacle that came her way, as well as her intense work ethic and drive.  In comparing that to my business reputation, I love the idea that you don’t necessarily have to be constantly talked about or in the public eye, but people know about you, and when you do surface, your talent shines because it is solid and timeless.

What do you like to do in your free time?

While raising three boys and running a small business, free time is not something that I have an abundant amount of…therefor, I need to use it wisely!  I love shutting off the world when we go upstate to the family lake house, and re-connecting with my boys, husband and nature (as well as catching up on wedding and trade magazines!)  I also enjoy visiting new restaurants, catching up with friends, going to quirky thrift shops, and exploring new towns, especially towns that have quaint Main Street shops and eateries.

Keep up with Dawn and Bee*s Knees Parties by visiting:

Who’s Who: the HopeFULL Company

Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to meet Jessica Welsch and Stephanie Williams – the ladies behind the HopeFULL Company at the Martha Stewart Dreamers Into Doers Event in New York City (if you missed the posts about the event, you can find them here and here).

Stephanie Williams and Jessica Welsch of the HopeFULL Company

After spending several hours with these two refreshingly positive women…over the course of just two and a half days, I sent them an e-mail and asked them if they would mind answering just a few questions so that I could share their story and spread the news about the HopeFULL Company.  It wasn’t long after that I happily opened my inbox to find their story…and their story is one that is so inspiring that it MUST be shared.

What made you both decide to start the HopeFULL Company?

The HopeFULL Company came to fruition in a beautiful, organic way through a dear family friend who was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia in 2009.

Like many people undergoing chemotherapy treatments, eating was no longer an enjoyable activity for our friend.  She struggled to find foods that she could tolerate and that would give her enough calories and nutrition.  Knowing we both made homemade baby food for our children, she asked us to make her meals which were small in portion, packed with nutrition and without strong flavors.  We were thrilled to help and dove enthusiastically into the project.

A week later, we delivered our frozen “whole-food pops” (now known as HopeFULLs) to our friend – each with a unique message of hope.  The HopeFULLs satisfied her pallet, soothed her mouth sores and filled her tummy with healthy fat, protein, calories and nutrients when she needed it most.  We also brought with us a message of hope and peace.

This friend of ours passed on six months later, after touching the lives of many with her grace, dignity, humor and tenacity. The HopeFULL Company happily dedicates some of its proceeds to local charities in her honor.

Twenty months after delivering our first batch of frozen HopeFULLs, we launched The HopeFULL Company. We are proud of our products and are excited to provide a way to feed those having trouble eating while delivering a message of peace, hope and love.

Who were your childhood heroes?

Jessica:  My heroes were those from television and film…Wonder Woman (who does’t want a Lasso of Truth?), Goldie Hawn (Overboard – need I say more) and Tim Burton (because he’s just downright brilliant).

Stephanie:  Neil Armstrong…I wanted to be an astronaut for most of my childhood. In my teens, I looked up to folksy musicians like Bob Dylan, Carol King and Cat Stevens for their ability to use music as a form of social protest.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Jessica:  I love theatre and film, Yoga and catching up with girlfriends over a latte.

Stephanie:  I enjoy seeing live music, reading and spending time outdoors.

Do you have any favorite stories from your work life?

Our HopeFULL Gift Pack was up for a Stevie Award for Best New Product of the Year.  In November 2011, we got to go to the red carpet awards gala in NYC!  As if that wasn’t enough, we were invited to be on The Nate Berkus Show to talk about our company while in town!  We were also styled by Hal Rubenstein of In Style Magazine and were given a make over, new dresses and accessories for the event!

When are you completely satisfied with your work?

When we get a call or email from someone who has been helped by our products…our hearts become filled with gratitude. When we hear how our products are making life easer for people…that’s when we feel successful and fullfilled.

The HopeFULL Company's newest product is the The BellyFULL Kit - a great way to introduce healthy eating to your children!

Find out more about the HopeFULL Company and their products by visiting:

Martha’s Dreamers Take Manhattan

At 7:15 in the morning on Wednesday, March 7th, I boarded the NJ PATH train from Grove Street heading towards 23rd Street; whereupon, I disembarked and made my way towards street level.  As I emerged from the station, I caught my first memorable sight of the morning…a bare bum.  Yes, that is exactly what I saw…a bare behind as only NYC can provide.  And, no, I do not have any photographs of that!

A little discombobulated, I kept on moving…destination Martha Stewart’s studio for the taping of the 10am show.  According to the instructions from the ladies in charge of the event, we were to arrive there by 8:15am to check-in and we were to wear bright, solid colors (absolutely no black!)  And – much to my relief – I arrived at the studio entrance without further disturbances.

I have never been to a live taping of a show, much less the Martha Stewart Show!  So you can imagine just how excited and awed I was to step into her studio once our groups were called in from the waiting area.  The bright lights, the perfectly laid out set…well, see for yourself!

Nicolle (Libby Lane Press) and Janet (Sweet Temptations)

I want her kitchen *lol*

...and her flower atrium...ha!

The episode (aired on March 7th) featured the following segments:

A brief Q&A session transpired once taping concluded.

Peggy Gaffney (Kanine Knits)

Once the show was over, we all gathered up in front of the studios and climbed into a bus that took us back to MSLO for the remainder of the event – a lunch sponsored by SCORE, a brief presentation with Sarah Carey (Everyday Food) and a craft demonstration with Jodi Levine (Martha Stewart Living).

Sarah Carrey (Everyday Food)

Jodi Levine (Martha Stewart Living)

The new line of home office products from Martha Stewart for Avery

And, so concluded the Martha Stewart Dreamers into Doers Event for 2012! Thank you to the staff at MSLO for taking such great care of us and organizing the event.  And, a gigantic thank you to all of the Dreamers whose talents and drive provide such wonderful inspiration!

Here are a few more shots of Dreamers!

Just me...Gemma (BrainFry Concepts)

Sachiko (Mimicafe Union) and Jodi Levine

Dreamers into Doers in the Big Apple!

Two years ago today, BrainFry was born…and eleven months ago, I joined the Martha Stewart’s Dreamers Into Doers (DiD) community – a network comprised of mostly women who dream big and do the things necessary in order to see their dreams come into fruition.

In December of 2011, there was a big rush to win a spot (or ticket) to attend the annual DiD event held at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO) in New York City.  I remember waking up early and spamming the refresh button with the fervent hope that I would win one of the 80 spots.  Weeks later, I whooped with excitement when lo and behold…there sat THE e-mail with the much hoped for invitation.

Fast-forward…the event was held over the course of the last two days (March 6th and 7th) and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to have met a few of the many talented ladies who traveled the distance to attend this Dreamers event.

Jessica and Stephanie (the HopeFULL Company)

Sarah (Dreamers Joy), Janet (Sweet Temptations) and Khaliah (The Party Muse)

Not only were we given the opportunity to share our experiences as small business owners with each other, but we were welcomed into MSLO by quite a number of Martha’s staff – Darcy Miller (Editorial Director of MS Weddings), Inbar Barak (Product Development) and Meesha Haddad (General Manager, Editorial Operations) to name a few – and we were offered the opportunity to absorb a wealth of information that related directly to how to grow our small business through social media and digital marketing.  I personally gained a lot of insight from the presentations of Terri Shapiro (Deluxe Corporation), Bryan Petroff & Douglas Quint (Big Gay Ice Cream).

Me (BrainFry) with Darcy Miller (MS Weddings/Celebrations)

Between and during presentations, the MSLO staff – excellent host and hostesses – made sure that we were fed; thereby, avoiding a stampede of hungry women *lol*.

Breakfast, Day One

Menu and Table Setting, Day One

Afternoon Snacks, Day One

Here, I will end the coverage of Day One at MSLO!  Stay tuned for more…photographs from the Martha Stewart Show taping and the second day of MS DiD 2012!