Cupcake Interview: Jenn Lee Of Bakery Charms

What was the inspiration behind Bakery Charms?
I've had a lifelong obsession with miniature foods, so when I was looking for something new to do last year while something else I was working on was put on hold, I casually mentioned to my husband that I might like to learn how to make mini desserts out of polymer clay one day. I said that maybe if I practice for a year or so, I'd eventually be able to sell them. It wasn't a business plan or even a real intention. But then on Christmas morning, I received an unexpected gift from our two little girls (now ages 1 and 4) of a sampler pack of clay and some tools. The other project I was waiting on was still on hold, so I opened my first block of clay about a week later, in January of this year. Within days of that, I started an Instagram account, applied for my business license, and registered my domain. Two months later, in March 2014, went live and I sold my first pieces of dessert jewelry at my first craft fair.

Is the cupcake trend over?
They're not as trendy as they were several years ago, but I think they're classics that will always make people smile and be included in celebrations, a staple at bakeries, and part of fond memories.

What's some good advice to someone is self-employed?
If you work from home, it's important to set boundaries between "work time" and "home time." When you're accountable for everything about your business, it's easy to become a workaholic. I used to feel bad if I wasn't working when I was at home because it felt like I was wasting time or being irresponsible. There's always something to do for your business and if you can do it from home, then of course you feel guilty if you ARE at home but you're relaxing or watching TV instead. But it's not healthy and it definitely catches up to you.
This is my 10th year of self employment and finding this balance is still tricky for me. But it's even more important now that I have kids and my oldest is in preschool. During the day when she's at school, I work only when her 1-year-old sister is taking a nap. Then when she's back home, I don't work until after both kids are sleeping. It's not always possible to stick to this schedule, but it's what I strive for.

What tech site do you read everyday?
My biased answer is Pocketables, which I founded in 2006. I sold it a few years ago, but I think it will always feel like "mine" on some level. It's my blog baby! My unbiased answer would be Endgadget.

What is your favorite cupcake flavor?
I actually like the idea of it more than the actual taste, but I'm going to go with red velvet. I like chocolate and vanilla too. Gosh, I hope cupcake flavor preferences don't reveal anything about what kind of person I am, because I'm very predictable and boring if so!
I don't really like exotic or fruity flavors of any dessert, though I probably couldn't resist anything in a s'mores variety. So I guess s'mores is my most "adventurous" flavor. Oh, man, I really AM boring!

What is your opinion of red velvet cupcakes?
Red velvet has suffered from overexposure, but I still reach for it first. It actually reminds me of the movie "Steel Magnolias". You know, the armadillo groom's cake with the gray icing and red velvet insides? I saw that movie in the theater when I was a kid, and I think it was the first time I'd ever heard of red velvet. So it sort of became this mythical thing that only existed in movies. I didn't have my first taste of real red velvet until 2005, and it was from Sprinkles Cupcakes in Beverly Hills. I can't ever turn my back on the flavor after that!

We are doing a giveaway of the Bakery Charms bracelet pictured above. Enter by noon EDT on the 4th of July.
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