Here's the latest cupcake interview - more are coming soon and to everyone who's written, I do hope to have time to email you all with some interview questions in the coming weeks. We're, as always, at cupcakestakethecake at gmail.com if you have any questions. You can find more Sweet City Cupcakes photos in their Flickr account and follow them on Facebook and Twitter and their blog. Thanks to Susan and Franny for their patience; I was supposed to go to Kansas City last year but got thwarted by rain so am hoping to make it this year!
Name: Susan and Franny
Age: do we have to?
Location: Kansas City
Occupation: cupcake caterers
When did you get the idea for Sweet City Cupcakes, and why did you decide to focus on cupcakes (though you also offer cookies)?
We started discussing starting a business together years ago... we knew we would have fun working together we just weren't sure what it would be. Then a few years ago, after we had both moved to the Midwest, it dawned on us, Cupcakes! We were aware of the huge popularity on the coasts, and although there was already one cupcakery in Kansas City, we knew that there was room for another. So that's when decided on Sweet City Cupcakes. We have also added cookies to our menu, and we have done several orders concentrating on the more decorative royal iced cookies with the idea that we like baking for parties. Our customers tend to order for events and celebrations. We do have plans to add more cookie recipes to our menu in the future.
What makes Sweet City Cupcakes unique?
Our cupcakes are made in small batches using local and organic ingredients (when available) which doesn't make them so unique but makes them especially delicious! We bake all of our cupcakes to order- often just an hour before they are delivered and eaten, our icing is a really beautiful light whipped Italian meringue.
Another unique thing about us is that we deliver. We get a lot of calls and orders from people from out of town who want to send something special for friends- so instead of having flowers delivered for a special occasion, they have cupcakes delivered.
We can also customize the cupcakes with fondant flowers, words, names etc.
Which of your flavors are most popular?
Our most popular flavors are the classics, vanilla, chocolate and red velvet
How has your business and cupcakes evolved since you first opened?
Marketing has changed a lot! How we find our customers has evolved...so much of the promotion is done on line now...Twitter wasn't as popular 2 years ago! Who knew?
Do any of your cupcakes have a specifically Kansas City or Midwest feel to them?
No, not really. Our most popular flavors are still the classics. I'm not sure how well BBQ would transfer to a cupcake?
Do you have any plans to open a cupcake bakery?
At this time we have no plans to open up a bricks and mortar type shop.... But we do have big plans, we just can't share them yet! You will be one of the first to know ;)
You do cupcakes for weddings and special events; how far in advance should people book and do you offer additional flavors than your regular ones? Do you do setup as well?
We do quite a few weddings and other big events, and a month or so is an ideal amount of advance notice, but we have recently done a couple of weddings with less then two weeks notice. It will all depend on the customization. We have done set up but prefer to leave that to the caterers and party planners.
What’s been the most fun custom order you’ve done?
Mother’s Day this past May! A woman from Chicago called us, she had a big surprise for her mother-in-law . She wanted to make Mother's Day really special and flowers just wouldn't do. So she asked us if we could customize two dozen cupcakes to announce that she was having a baby this December! So we did custom fondant with her "due date", and the word "baby" we had a lot of fun with the decorating and when we delivered the cupcakes to the Grandmother to be- she was so stunned! She started crying and jumping and hugging us!
A pregnancy announcement was definitely unusual and so much fun to deliver. That was a memorable delivery!
You both got the Sweet City Cupcakes logo tattooed on your arms! Firstly, how did you come up with the logo and why was it so important to you to have it tattooed? Have the tattoos helped drum up any business?
We love our logo! We have a wonderful designer who totally understood what we were after, we asked for whimsy with a cityscape, and cupcakes of course.
We had our tattoos done on or about our first anniversary to celebrate our great first year. We may not be baking cupcakes for the rest of our lives but we will always have a reminder of the fun we have had while doing it!
Funny you should ask if we ever got business from the tattoos...Because we did! Franny went to a new doctor for an annual check up and the very next day we got an email from her placing an order for cupcakes. When we did the delivery she said she had just that afternoon googled "Cupcakes Kansas City" and on our site she recognized the logo she had seen on Franny's arm. Meanwhile at the doctors visit the tattoo was never even discussed. How fun!
What are your favorite and least favorite parts of running Sweet City Cupcakes?
Getting up at 5:00 am to bake can be both the best part of running Sweet City Cupcakes and the worst part- depending on the day.
Delivering cupcakes to an excited customer or a surprised customer is always fun!
What advice do you have for anyone thinking about starting their own
Get a partner you can laugh with! (very important)
Take a business class.
Also- bake and bake and bake- bake till you can bake cupcakes in your sleep!
Why do you think cupcakes are so popular? How much of it is due to nostalgia?
We think cupcakes are popular because of the size- they are the perfect small indulgence.
Also when you are having cupcakes at an event, its easy, you can serve multiple flavors~ everyone is happy.
They are not just for children's parties anymore, the cupcake has grown up. They can be as simple or as sophisticated as you want.
We are not so convinced of the nostalgic aspect anymore. Our cupcake customer age/demographic is just not old enough to be nostalgic about cupcakes. But they are lucky to be growing up with them now.
And now for some personal questions...
How often do you eat cupcakes?
Are you kidding? Every day!
What's the best thing about eating cupcakes?
What's your favorite type of cupcake?
Franny- Vanilla with Strawberry icing
Susan-Chocolate with vanilla
How do cupcakes compare/contrast to other baked goods for you?
We both love pie!
But, you can't really compare cupcakes and pie. They are both wonderful.
Is there any innovation you'd like to see made to the cupcake that would improve it for you?
Do you bake your own cupcakes? Or (even better) have someone who bakes them for you?
We bake all of our cupcakes ourselves. And we also do the deliveries as well.
What's your first cupcake-related memory?
Our great grandmother made the very best lemon cupcakes with a lemony sugar glaze. These cupcakes were amazing and we have never had any lemon cupcakes that have compared. Unfortunately we don't have a recipe.
What's the most fun you've ever had with a cupcake?
Hmmm--nothing too wild or crazy.
Do you have anything else to add?
Thanks for all that you do for all of us cupcake lovers!