February 19, 2013
A quote attributed to Confucius states, "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."
Jessica DeWaters, '13, an economics and management major from Parma, is proving that adage to be true as she has developed her love for baking into The Dreamery, a student venture that has become Albion College's first cupcake bar.
The Dreamery, which allows customers to choose the cakes, fillings, frostings and toppings for their treats, allows DeWaters to make smaller treats than the birthday cakes and small-scale wedding cakes she created when starting in the baking business. Cupcakes sell for $2 each, while cookies cost $1.25.
"I've always wanted to own a bakery, so this is a trial run for me and it allows me to test some ideas," DeWaters said. "I'm learning what people like in a baked good because I'm finding customers don’t think about what they're getting. The customers are surprised when I say I have a filling they can put in it or when they can choose something."
DeWaters launched the idea for The Dreamery a year ago when she created a business plan while completing a directed study for professor Vicki Baker. DeWaters' plan calls for selling at least three-quarters of the 48 cupcakes and 10 cookies she makes at her Parma home the night before her two sales days in the campus' Kellogg Center. She estimates working eight to nine hours per week on the venture in addition to taking five classes during the spring semester.
"I'm able to put the numbers [I used for the business plan] to use and see how close my estimates were," said DeWaters, who turns any remaining baked goods into cake pops [crumbled cake mixed in frosting and dipped in chocolate]. "I am learning what to change in the future. Albion College is giving me the chance to run a business without all of the [financial] risks and to be able to learn along the way.
"[Living close to home] has allowed me to keep baking, which is what I want to do when I leave college," she added.
Launching the business, DeWaters said, was not difficult because she had the baking tools at home. Todd Tekiele, Albion's director of auxiliary services, has helped her do bulk ordering of her ingredients through a commercial vendor, another step in her learning process.
DeWaters said she won't open her own bakery upon graduating in May. Instead she will use the lessons she has gained from The Dreamery on her first job, with the eventual goal of owning a store.