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:

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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:

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!