I remember watching the news one morning and an interview featuring Ever After Bakery caught my interest. I started following them on Instagram from that moment on. With each photo of baked goods – from cakes to cookies and cake pops, I’ve wondered, “Who is the baker responsible for all of this magical goodness?”
I recently reached out to Wendy to find out how she got her start in the baking industry, what she likes best about having a business in the Valley and what advice she has for other female entrepreneurs.
Please meet the latest Real Mom of the SFV – Wendy, owner and head baker of Ever After Bakery!
How/why did you begin your business?
Wendy: I started Ever After Bakery in late 2019. The “how” is simple enough I suppose and is about as straightforward as filling out the paperwork and doing your research on how to start a cottage food bakery, which there is ample information out there to seek, and really anyone can start a business without too much trouble. It is the “why” where things get interesting. It first started when I was a child with my quest to create the perfect chocolate chip cookie after being deceived by this delicious chocolate chip cookie on a blue package that tasted more like tree bark than what the picture promised on the package (gross ahoy!). As far back as I can remember, I always enjoyed sweet treats, pretty things, and making people smile. Sweet and pretty things made me smile so I thought that it would be the perfect thing to make the world smile. So as my quest to create the perfect chocolate chip cookie was accomplished (try me!) it progressed to decorating elaborate designs on cakes and cookies. Now I thought I was really on the right track to making people smile and after gifting my cookies to under-appreciative family members I decided that maybe customers who were willing to pay and seek out my product was a better way to go, and I am entirely thankful that I managed to find some. :}
So it was slow going at first and the COVID lockdowns almost shut us down in 2020. We literally couldn’t give away free St. Patrick’s Day cookies! Dismal indeed. My husband worked from home, so everything was okay until he was unceremoniously let go. COVID problems. We had few options, but we decided to hit the ground running and really push Ever After Bakery. In the very beginning, I did all the baking and decorating but it has grown so that I couldn’t possibly do it all myself now. I’m so proud to say that I have really hard-working sons that do the majority of the baking! And all my other children find their own special way to chip in from packaging, and molding chocolate, to making us laugh or plainly staying out of the kitchen. Chances are that if you sent me a message, called or texted me, found us on Google, saw us at a market or event, saw a cool-looking flyer, or enjoyed a snazzy video or two, it is because of my husband. I do absolutely zero when it comes to my online presence. He does all the behind-the-scenes and business stuff, so I don’t have to!
It still feels like we are flying by the seat of our pants and hoping to find the right customers and continuing to grow and grow. It is a huge learning process on all fronts. We are still trying to figure it out but one thing I do know and what I hope to teach my kids is to just stay positive no matter what happens and keep moving forward in life and always surround yourself with people who believe in you.
As a working mother, what is one tip or piece of advice that you would give to other female entrepreneurs?
Wendy: First off, I am a mother of nine and this one is easy. I started this bakery on a whim so a lot of the systems and processes were not in place. These are things that you do not really think about in the beginning but really play a significant role. It is much more than baking and decorating. I suggest getting a really good working system in place on how to best produce and decorate the product and manage all the business aspects of it as well. So have all your ducks lined up in a row before things (hopefully) grow quicker than you expect and then you are left trying to reign everything in.
What do you like best about having a business in the San Fernando Valley?
Wendy: My husband, Victor, and I were both born and raised in the Valley. So a great perk is receiving orders from local businesses, restaurants, and landmarks that we’ve driven by or been to a million times and now we get to go in through the back and see the inner workings of stuff, drop off cakes, and quietly leave the same way. It’s cool! Another plus is receiving an order and we deliver it to an old neighborhood where we grew up.
If there was one thing you wish you knew before you began your business, what would that be?
Wendy: Going to keep it real here and that is how it can consume you! These desserts are difficult to create, and research can be time-consuming. Couple that with baking, getting everything ready to decorate, and then actually decorating – it’s a lot of work. Much more work than most people realize. So it does take time away from family and leisure time. A great benefit is that we do all this from home (for now) so I get to see everyone at least and they can see the back of my head. However, I love that we are working hard for ourselves and not for the benefit of others, a big boss, or for another family. It is just us working earnestly for our well-being, plus I am proud of my sons, daughters, and husband!
I’m amazed at Wendy’s ability to build a thriving business during the time of COVID. Also, I appreciate her candor when it comes to describing the commitment and hard work it takes to create and maintain a home-based bakery. I think it’s wonderful that the whole family pitches in to make it work!
Disclosure: No monetary compensation was received for this post. The image shown in this post is used with permission. As always, my opinions are 100% my own.