Interview With Angela Wells
Why did you start your business?
I’ve been on and off vegan since 2012. This year I made a commitment to be strict vegan which can make purchasing treats very limiting. I had some vegan cakes here in Colorado, but I didn’t really them. I felt like a lot of the bakeries were more focused on mimicking the texture of traditional dairy-filled cakes than actual flavor. I decided to make my own birthday cake in February and my family loved it. I ended up sharing a few slices with some friends. One of them, who happens to be a local chef and she loved it. She started paying me to makes cakes for her son, for herself, and just through word of mouth it took off from there. I kind of just fell into business especially during the time where my business Serein Naturals was slowing down due to Covid. It was just perfect timing and a hobby became a business.
What are your most popular products? Why do people love them?
My first popular product was the vegan vanilla cake with strawberry vanilla frosting. It’s a classic and people love the strawberry flavor. I think the butter that I use in the buttercream really brings out like a savory and a sweet mix. That cake became an instant hit. It was like I just couldn’t make enough of strawberry vanilla cakes. Since then, the red velvet with buttercream frosting and red sprinkles or red glitter over it had become very popular. Also, the vegan vanilla with strawberry vanilla frosting. Anything strawberry seems to be the craze right now. Whether it’s the buttercream, the filling, or the topping strawberry is definitely Angie’s Vegan Cakes most popular request.
What was one of the most important lessons you learned running your own business?
That you have to be firm on what you can do. At first, I never wanted to say no to a client or their ideas, but sometimes a client’s ideas can really break a cake. It could be the type of flavors they want to mix or even the size of the cake they are requesting. I’ve had people want me to make wedding style cakes, you know with the multiple tiers and layers and that is just not my style. I had to learn to be firm and know when to say no. Why say yes to something that you’re not going to be able to fulfill or know it’s not going to be what they envisioned? You just have to set your brand and let them know: “I’m in the business to make ridiculously delicious vegan cakes.” Now, my cakes going to be pretty and I’ll decorate the best of my ability but they’re not going to be these, fancy Cake Boss, really extravagant cakes that are like completely perfect. That’s not my lane, but I can guarantee that they taste good and that everybody’s going to enjoy them, and people won’t be able to tell that they’re vegan.
What is the thing that you are most proud of when it comes to your business?
The reviews are definitely what I am most proud of. Some of my reviewers have truly floored me and just been over the top with the way they describe what the cake meant to them. I had someone that just picked up the cake today that told me I’ve brought in some sunshine to a really trying year for them with Covid and everything. To know that I can offer something that everybody can enjoy and loves. Just the fact that it’s been so well-received. I just started in March and I never would have thought that I would be where I am now. This little hobby brings in enough income to pay for my son’s piano lessons and other extra things for my family. I’m proud of being able to do that. All the while bringing something enjoyable into other people’s lives. It’s amazing what reviews and word of mouth have done for my business.
What is your definition of success?
My definition of success is when your passion can become your career. I have a 9 to 5. I have been with a company for 14 years now. I haven’t been able to exactly make the leap, but being where I’m at now, it seems more realistic. I can see the crossover to becoming a full-time entrepreneur. I’ve had success and hit some milestones along the way, but I think true success is when you can live your passion full time.
What is one piece of advice you would give to your consumers? What do you want your consumers to know?
The advice I would give is this season don’t try to have the perfect holiday. This has been a trying year. I think it’s the thought that counts more now than ever. I don’t try to be perfect. My cakes aren’t perfect, but I can have an imperfect cake and still have a perfect review. I do make my cakes with love. So, I’d say just to share as much love as you can this holiday for the least amount of money. I want my customers to know my mini cakes start at $15.
What is one piece of advice? You would give the entrepreneurs like yourself?
Just do it. Even with my business Serein Naturals that came to light from another failed busines. I realized I was putting my dream in other people’s hands. I needed a manufacturer. I needed a web designer and I kept getting disappointed. It wasn’t until I decided that I would do everything that I could to make my business happen. That’s when it actually happened for me. As you put your passion or service out there it will grow from there. Then you’ll be able to fill in all the other things. I say just go for it and don’t second-guess yourself. Put the product out there and understand; you learn as you go. I made a lot of mistakes in the beginning with my cakes. People would get home with them and they would fall apart because I didn’t prep them for possibly an hour drive, or I wasn’t telling them exactly what they needed to do. Unfortunately, you just have to learn along the way. I really pride myself on great customer service so in the beginning everybody pretty much got a free cake. So yeah, put yourself out there don’t be afraid of criticism because that’s what is going to strengthen your business; just take it and grow.
Interview By Angelique Scott
Edited by Richelle Gittens