I saw a post recently that called for people to “support the local businesses who support the area where you live, work and play.” Britta Flood, owner of Britta’s Couture Cupcakes embodies this not only as a consumer, but as a business woman. Upon getting to know her, it is quite apparent that she appreciates a collaborative approach on the path to following her dreams. She understands that businesses are in a unique position to make choices that help other inspiring entrepreneurs. Whether you need a logo designed, a photographer for a product shoot or quality ingredients for your FAB cupcakes…chances are you can find what you are looking for right in your own backyard! Britta’s love for local gives me all the warm fuzzy feels and reminds me yet again why I love getting to know the lovely, talented and hardworking women in our community.
Did your business have a slow progression, where you started making goodies for friends and family, who then craved them consistently, or did you come up with a plan and execute it quickly?
You could say it was a bit of both, it evolved very organically but at a progressively faster rate. I began by doing cupcakes for close friends and family, then I began getting orders from their friends. At that point I decided I should probably come up with some price points and start charging. Then over time and learning from mistakes I altered pricing, added free delivery and other bonuses to stay competitive. Also, from the get go I’ve always used 100% organic ingredients, but over time I’ve made it my mission to source them as locally as possible to try and support local businesses.
You are excellent at thinking outside of the box, what are some ways that you are able personalize for a requested theme? Do you get excited about a challenge?
I only do custom orders when it comes to décor. When I was starting out it seemed every order was a different flavour, but now people look at past creations and seem to have favourites. I love trying to customize them as much as I can. During a consult I like to ask many questions whether it’s asking a couple getting married how they met or a friend about her besties. I then use that information to select everything right down to the cupcake wrapper to be specific to that order. I’m constantly learning new techniques, even when I’m not working in the kitchen, I’m online or communicating with other bakers to learn how to do something new.
Let’s throwback to some of your favourite creations, what are some that produced giddy customer reactions?
I find people get pretty excited over my booze flavours, they tend to be a specialty of mine. What could be better than a cocktail and dessert all in one bite?
What seems to be your most popular flavour choices? Does that change over the holiday season?
The type of cupcakes I’ve repeated the most often would be my Ferrero Rocher cupcake and my Reese Peanut Butter cupcake. During the holidays my most popular holiday flavours are: Eggnog Cupcake with Rum Buttercream, Mint Chocolate Baileys Cupcake, Gingerbread Cupcake with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Icing and my Mocha Cupcake with Peppermint White Chocolate Cream Cheese Icing.
What are some things you do that help you have a really productive day?
It sounds bad but the first thing I do when I get up is check my phone for new messages for orders. That’s the problem with being online with no store front. I have incoming orders over Facebook, Instagram, Google, Email, Phone, Text etc etc. I then transfer all of my orders in order of due date onto my order forms which are all kept together on a clipboard. From there I make my order sheet of any ingredients I may need, and make my time table for the week of when I will be getting into which kitchen to do what.
What percentage of your business time would you say you devote to marketing? What about networking?
I live by the wise words of LMFAO “everyday I’m hustling.” No matter where I am or who I’m with I always run into situations where I get talking about my business or asked to make an order. I’ve learned to always have cards on me, and you need to be kind to everyone…I mean you should do that anyway, but you never know who’s going to end up being a client or even a fellow business owner that you will one day want to collaborate with. I love Kingston and its wonderful residents and I always want to represent my business as someone and something they will be psyched to order from.
Let’s talk about Pinterest for a moment. I find that creatives turn to the platform for inspiration and brainstorming…but often don’t end up acting on ideas they are attracted to. Do you find yourself trying out new things you come across or do you feel it’s time not best spent for a busy entrepreneur?
I love Pinterest in my personal life more so than using for cupcaking. I tend to skim over cupcakes on Pinterest more to see what’s trending with flavours, but I never rely on recipes from an online site. Also, when it comes to Pinterest, it’s made more to look picture perfect where my main concern is that my cupcakes are tasty AF. I do tend to get A LOT of brides sending me their dream wedding cupcakes and that can be disheartening for them sometimes, not realizing that the 24k gold flake cupcake in the photo will cost them a pretty penny. Many times I then really need to break down the cupcake cost-wise and explain how half the things on said cupcake aren’t even really edible, again I’m big on creating cupcakes that taste great and they can look beautiful too, but sometimes it just takes time to find that perfect happy medium.
As we are approaching the end of 2017, what are some things you would love to work on for your growing business in 2018?
I am in the midst of planning a Kitchen Collective for fellow bakers in Kingston, I have a few bakers already lined up and interested now I just need to find a space that works with my vision. In the meantime, I’ll also be working on growing my personal business and reaching new clients. I’ve also starting making some of my ingredients myself, such as my extracts and icing sugar, so I’d like to keep expanding what ingredients I can make from scratch. Also in the new year I’m going to start beekeeping, so hopefully over time I’ll be getting honey to use in my recipes!
Do you ever “accidently wreck” a cupcake just to eat it? Do you have a panel of taste testers?
I actually don’t eat my cupcakes minus minor tastings along the way when creating new flavours and recipes. I’ve never been a big cake or dessert person! My husband is my taste tester too when I have a new finished product. My weakness is cheesecake, so I love when I can collaborate with Stephanie from Cheesecakery Bakery because then I just may indulge!
I know you have some fun events coming up! Where can people find you?
I’ve been really busy doing some holiday markets! Ones that I still have coming up is the Holiday Market at the Tett Center on December 2nd at 1pm and then I will be at the first annual Local Vendor’s Market at Jolie Homes in the Riocan Center on December 12 at 6pm. There is also another weekend that I will be at the Kingston Holiday Market going on at 274 Princess street on the weekends but that is TBD so stay tuned 🙂
Ok can we just back up a minute here to the confusion I felt when I found out Britta doesn’t really eat her cupcakes??! I guess I’m just personalizing the situation. I am thinking if I was in her position you would see me throwing a cupcake up in the air and twirling in slow motion, catching the scrumptious piece of perfection at just the right moment while glitter sprinkles showered down all around….no? That’s not an accurate depiction of your kitchen Britta? And see for me I think I would feel justified in sampling from each and every batch I produced…and it is this justification that would lead to a cry for help, muffled of course by the cupcake shoved in my mouth. Yes, it’s a good thing you AREN’T that much of a dessert person Britta!
On a serious note, I was so impressed to learn about the process of making your own extracts, the thought of which would never have crossed my mind! (You mean vanilla doesn’t magically just appear in a bottle in the baking aisle?) Again, it is the way Britta thinks about her ENTIRE business, all of the ways in which she does things, that makes her stand out and constantly referred. A story behind the product, one that people want to share (word of mouth all the way!) is vital for a growing local business.
As is anything that can increase productivity…Britta’s vision for a community kitchen is genius! What’s extra cool is that AGAIN she is not just fine-tuning and improving her OWN venture but is helping others with THEIR dreams by offering a very tangible solution. I for one am excited to see what the next year brings to Britta, I’m sure that the laws of attraction will be at play for a soul as sweet as hers. Anyone that comes in contact with Britta is grateful for the sweetness that she shares (and no, not just her cupcakes!), a boss babe with a heart of gold….even if she won’t be sprinkling her goodies with 24K gold flakes….