How a Talented Baker Took a Whisk and Turned Her Passion Into a Sweet Gig

By day, Jennifer Jacobs is an affiliate producer for the House Buying Community. However when 5 o’clock rolls round, she disappears into her kitchen, faucets play on her favourite podcast, Radio Cherry Bombe (aptly about inventive and highly effective girls within the meals trade) and begins filling orders.

Because the 30-year-old proprietor, baker, cake designer, style tester, dishwasher, invoice payer and grocery shopper of Wandering Whisk Bakeshop, Jacobs estimates she spends at the very least 5 hours in her kitchen every evening.

By no means did Jacobs assume her passion would flip right into a full-fledged enterprise — offering a snug facet revenue that helped her purchase her first dwelling.

Let’s Whisk Again to Jacobs’ Baking Beginnings

A detail of a whisk
Jacobs works at HSN through the day and spends her evenings filling orders for her baking enterprise, Wandering Whisk Bakeshop. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

A few of Jacobs’ most vivid childhood recollections place her alongside her mother because the duo churned out quite a lot of Christmas cookies, many reminiscent of their Romanian descent. None of them have been significantly fancy — simply good, comforting sweets.

When Jacobs entered highschool, her mates grew to become “obsessed” with the desserts.

She recollects they’d make up excuses across the holidays to cease by her mother and father’ home. “Oh, we wish to come see your Christmas tree,” they’d say. The evening would finish with them indulging.

To this present day, her mates anticipate an invitation to “see the Christmas tree.”

After highschool, Jacobs attended the College of Central Florida, the place she studied occasion administration. She didn’t spend any time within the kitchen till after commencement, when she took a high-stress job in New York Metropolis. Baking grew to become her go-to methodology for unwinding on the finish of her jam-packed workdays.

New York Metropolis uncovered her to an enormous array of latest desserts. She was continuously sniffing out new neighborhood bakeries. Pinterest additionally boomed right now, and Jacobs would spend hours pinning new treats to her digital inspiration board.

There was just one complication…

“I had this miniature oven that didn’t even match a full-size cookie sheet,” Jacobs says. “I might bake on these tiny cookie sheets, however I might simply do no matter I may.”

Nonetheless, baking remained a passion. “I’d by no means at that time thought, ‘Oh, I may begin a enterprise from it,’” she says.

However issues modified when she found purple velvet cookie sandwiches — that’s when baking shifted from a passion to a facet gig.

How Purple Velvet Cookie Sandwiches Sparked a Aspect Gig

Cake and cookies are pictured
A tasty assortment of Jacobs’s treats are on show. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

After two years in New York, Jacobs started to burn out.

She moved again to the Tampa Bay space, the place she took a job with HSN.

Her new work schedule — 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. — paired with a bigger kitchen, allowed her loads of time and house to bake through the day.

She started experimenting increasingly. Round Valentine’s Day in 2014, she whipped up some purple velvet cookies sandwiches and took them into work.

That day, two coworkers requested Jacobs if they might order extra.

“I’m like, ‘Uh, certain, you can provide me 20 bucks to make you cookies,’” Jacobs says. “And I bear in mind going dwelling being like, ‘Mother, somebody desires to pay me for my cookies!’”

She took to her kitchen that evening, baked two dozen cookie sandwiches and hand-delivered them the following morning. When she checked in to see how their households acquired the treats, her coworkers, solely barely ashamed, admitted they ate them earlier than their households even had an opportunity.

The co-workers supplied up one other $20 to order extra. (A dozen cookie sandwiches now go for $42.)

Jacobs laughs on the reminiscence and says these cookie sandwiches now have a “cult following” at HSN.

“I prefer to assume these have been the beginning of my enterprise,” Jacobs says of the cookie sandwiches.

Presently, she handed round handmade enterprise playing cards that learn, “Jen’s Truffles, Cupcakes & Sweets.” She catered to her household, mates and coworkers.

Make investments In Yo’Self: Jacobs Finesses Her Homegrown Passion

Jennifer Jacobs celebrates winning a cooking competition.
Jacobs celebrates profitable a baking competitors in 2016. Photograph courtesy Jennifer Jacobs

Jacobs knew bake, however at that time in her profession, her adorning abilities have been “actual minimal.”

She began taking courses at her native JoAnn Material and Crafts. In 2015, she attended a one-week, intensive course on the San Francisco Baking Institute, a culinary college the place she realized the science behind baking.

“I wished to have the ability to develop recipes and never simply be like, ‘Oh, I can comply with a recipe,’” Jacobs says. “I wished to study why you want cream, butter and sugar. Why is it vital so as to add salt to the recipe?”

Though the week-long journey price her $three,000, Jacobs considers it one of many biggest issues she’s ever completed. Plus, she bought her first white chef’s coat, which made her really feel extra assured. She additionally splurged and obtained a pink one, which she wears now.

Again dwelling in Florida, Jacobs additionally frequented her native public library, trying out any and each baking useful resource it supplied. She favored the Le Cordon Bleu textbooks. Her weekly e-book hauls grew to become a joke on the library — that she’d run out of books to take a look at.

And she or he did. So she began scavenging different native libraries.

In August 2015, Jacobs determined to debut her abilities to the general public and, with some encouragement from a pal, entered the Nice St. Pete Cupcake Contest.

There have been  one thing like 75 entrants that 12 months — half novice (that was Jacobs) and half skilled. She took dwelling third place within the novice class and first place in folks’s alternative for her Banana Nutella Cupcake, a banana cake layered with chocolate ganache and topped with Nutella buttercream icing.

In 2016, Jacobs entered the competition once more, taking dwelling folks’s alternative as soon as extra. However this time, the judges created an additional award particularly for her: greatest buttercream icing. Since then, the not-too-sweet topping has turn out to be one in every of her signature creations.

How Jacobs Set Herself Aside From Each Different Homebaker

Jacobs wears the signature apron that displays her model. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

Jacobs hasn’t paid a penny for advertising or promoting. Her success has been a results of organically constructing a robust model and a loyal following.

It began with the identify: Wandering Whisk.

The wandering half, Jacobs says, represents her love for journey. Anyplace she goes, she researches bakeries. “I land, and I’m like there’s 5 bakeries of my listing the primary day,” she says. She hops from bakery to bakery, pocketing bits of inspiration alongside the way in which.

She’ll even glean creativity from cocktails, dinners and regional staples.

Take, for instance, the time she traveled to Belgium. That’s the place she fell in love with its cookie butter. She introduced dwelling containers of the candy unfold, which impressed her to create cookie butter cookie sandwiches, a chocolate-chip sea-salt cookie with crunchy cookie butter cream filling.

Then there was that point in Napa, when she picked lavender. The aromatic flower sparked an concept for a lavender macarons in addition to a lemon lavender cake — lemon cake with a lavender glaze and layers of lavender buttercream.

“I’ll assume, ‘Wow, that taste’s very nice; I may translate that right into a cake,’” she says. “I’m simply baking little items from in every single place collectively.”

As soon as Jacobs nailed down a reputation and emblem, her brother, Tyler, created her web site. It was June 2016, and her enterprise was beginning to really feel concrete.

“I wished to place it out that I’m a full-fledged enterprise; I’m not only a lady in my kitchen,” she says. “It felt way more official.”

To lock down the enterprise facet, Jacobs established herself beneath the Florida Cottage Meals Legislation, which implies she doesn’t want a license or allow to function, neither is her operation ever inspected. Mainly, it means she’s allowed to work out of her dwelling with out having to undergo tons of meals licensing procedures.

Jacobs additionally has meals legal responsibility insurance coverage. Moreover, she’s crafted, with the assistance of a lawyer, a contract, which she sends out with every order. This contract protects her from any liabilities.

“It’s vital to ensure you’re masking your self,” she says.

As soon as all of the logistical ends have been tied, Jacobs started using Instagram, a photo-centric social media platform that fantastically showcased her suave masterpieces. She has arrange a makeshift studio and takes all her personal photographs with a refurbished digicam she invested in.

Her Instagram technique has been to focus regionally. She says it’s nice she will get followers from around the globe, from as distant as Australia, however her aim is to show her followers right into a revenue.

“It’s nice when you have got 20,000 followers, but when nobody’s participating with you, and nobody’s ordering your product, it means nothing,” she says.

To be able to capitalize on her Tampa Bay-area viewers, she works with marriage ceremony planners to create stylized shoots that get shared on Instagram. She additionally takes half in native occasions, like St. Petersburg’s annual Localtopia competition, which posts to the platform.

“Those who don’t reap the benefits of [Instagram]… I feel it’s nearly loopy, as a result of it’s free publicity,” she says.

Among the finest components of gaining a following has been her uptick so as requests that match her model. A 12 months in the past, clients would ask for a cake like one thing they noticed on Pinterest. Now, increasingly requests function Jacobs’ personal work — a screenshot of one in every of her personal Instagram posts.

Wanting Towards Her Candy Future

Jennifer Jacos holds up a cake.
Jacobs reveals off a cake she embellished at The Penny Hoarder’s headquarters. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

One query simmers: “What’s subsequent?”

In 2017, Jacobs proved she may handle a full-time profession whereas placing up a profitable facet enterprise.

This 12 months, she has hopes to rent her first Wandering Whisk worker. She’d additionally like to be featured on the “In the present day” present — or any nationwide morning present, for that matter.

“I’ve additionally heard Harry and Meghan want a marriage cake,” she jokes. When rumors swirled that Prince Harry loves all issues banana-flavored, Jacobs’ family and friends pegged her as the right match. “Banana cake is my No. 1 cake…,” she says.

Whether or not or not she will get a name from the royal couple, Jacobs plans to maintain on whisking.

If you wish to study extra about how Jacobs turned her ardour right into a thriving facet enterprise, take a gander at her unique ideas.

Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a employees author at The Penny Hoarder. She may actually go for a type of banana Nutella cupcakes proper about… now.


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