Woman Bosses, Cupcake Wars, and Vagina Cakes - Oh My!
Continuing on in the time-honored Girl.Copy tradition of haphazardly posting on our blog, here is our post for the month of February! It’s appropriate that we got around to posting during the Month of Love, because we absolutely love the entrepreneur we had the privilege of interviewing recently: Abby Jimenez of Nadia Cakes in Maple Grove, Minnesota, the funny woman boss and brains behind the now-viral geode rock/possible-vagina cake. You know the one: the gorgeous lavender cake with the bursting, crystallized mouth of, ahem, geode rocks that many social media users attributed to being similar to a certain piece of anatomy.
We figuratively sat down with Abby and talked to her about social media vs. Cupcake Wars fame, the highs and lows of starting your own business, and of course - vagina cakes.
Hi Abby! Tell us about Nadia Cakes. Where did the name come from?
Nadia Cakes was my daughter's nickname when I started the business ten years ago.
That’s so sweet (pun intended)! Okay, the I’m-a-serious-interviewer-question-stuff: What challenges or struggles have you faced as not only an entrepreneur, but a woman/woman-identifying entrepreneur?
My struggles have been many! When I was trying to get the business off the ground, I had three small children in diapers and a workload that now takes three full-time people to execute. I had severe carpal tunnel with nerve damage in both hands, a competitor tried to put me out of business by calling the health department on me for working from home. We were sinking into debt since the cakes didn't come close to replacing the income I lost to stay home with the kids. Then, when I decided to open the storefront, I couldn't get a loan, so I charged the entire opening on my credit cards: $125,000!
Wow that must have been tough - it’s so nice to see that all those struggles were worth it to get where you are today! Speaking of current events, you recently went viral on social media because of your "Geode Rock Cake," which has many social media users crying foul and saying, "Nah, fam, this is totally a vagina cake." Tell us about that.
Oh man, the vageode cake! I have had so much fun with this thing! It started innocently enough. The staff sent me a picture of a cake they wanted to sell, and I posted it, not seeing a vagina at all! When the comments started coming in, I began sparring with the customers because, well, I'm a bit of a troll myself! It sort of blew up from there. I'm actually a romance novelist, and my signature strength in my writing is great dialogue full of witty, wry banter. So, this was really easy for me to do. I joked with some of my fans that if this is me on the fly, imagine what I could write if I had six months to work on it!
What has the local response been? Has Nadia Cakes seen a significant increase in business? I used to live in Minnesota, and I feel like an in-person response to a cake resembling a vagina (or geode rock) would be overwhelmingly polite.
Business is up about 25% after the post. It definitely let people know we're here.
Will you be branching out into the erotic cake industry anytime soon?
No! The funny thing is, we don't even do X-rated cakes!
Is social media fame better, or Cupcake Wars fame?
The Cupcake Wars fame had massive longevity. It gives our business credibility to this day, six years after the fact. The internet, however, has a very short memory. So, if I had to take one or the other, I'd stick with Cupcake Wars. But the exposure from the geode cake has been wonderful, and it really showcased our personality as a business.
What has been the weirdest thing to come out of being totally famous?
[laughs] Well, I have a lot of new followers on social media, and they're a rowdy bunch. There's a lot of, "Hey! Look at this thing that's not a penis but looks like a penis!"But I actually find that stuff pretty hilarious, so I wouldn't really call it weird. I've definitely found my people.
Lastly, what's the best piece of advice you've ever received on how to run your business?
I can't recall any earth-shattering advice I've been given, but I can tell you that the best advice I'd give another business owner would be to put people before profit. We have a People First policy. For us, that means closing the shops during bad weather so our staff doesn't have to drive on dangerous roads, or paying the bulk of their health insurance so that they can afford it; feeding them during busy weekends and closing for team-building and staff appreciation events. Our team is our family.
That is so lovely, and we are honored to interview such a successful, caring, strong land mermaid. Thank you, Abby!