Today we’d like to introduce you to Jen Drury.
Hi Jen, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
My cake story began about 20 years ago, when I offered to make my nephews 2nd birthday cake. At the time I had no idea how to make or decorate cakes and mind you there was no Pinterest, YouTube, online tutorials, etc. So, I would go to the library and checkout cake decorating books. Followed that up with taking a Wilton 1 course at a local Michael’s. Learning just enough to (barely) put together a buttercream star-tipped Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle cake for my sweet nephew. I had a blast making it and since I was already the crafty type – I took cake decorating on as another one of my creative projects! Over the next few years, I made cakes for all my family and friends while honing in on my skills (but never taking any additional classes). There came a point where I wanted to start charging for my cakes, but quickly learned that in order to market myself that would entail operating as a legal food business. So I began the uphill climb to become a fully licensed and health permitted business. I filed my fictitious business name as NO MORE BORING CAKES, got a business license, and went on a hunt to find a commercial kitchen to work out of. About 13 years ago, I began to bake and decorate after hours out of Eat Your Lunch Deli in Carlsbad. Several months later, I was contacted by SmokeHouse catering company to partner with them in opening up a new joint acility in San Marcos. Just a couple weeks later I subleased a space within their building. Things were moving along very smoothly and I was thoroughly enjoying having a storefront.
Then the day came in 2010 that I received the phone call that every up and coming baker strived to get. The call came from a producer from the TLC network about filming No More Boring Cakes for their ongoing reality cake show called Fabulous Cakes. I was absolutely shocked and so incredibly humbled that they found my little cake business and wanted me! The crew did a 4 day film shoot at my shoppe in San Marcos and then my episode ‘Southern California Makin Waves’ aired in 2011. It was simply a dream come true to be on national tv for my cakes!
At that time I felt like I was climbing towards the top rungs of my cake career. The notoriety that the show brought allowed me to become a much more established cake shoppe and to be honest it was just loads of fun! I chugged along doing hundreds of cakes until that came to a screeching halt in August of 2012 when the catering company that I subleased from had a fire in the building that closed us down by the health department. As I began to wonder what my next move was going to be, my Step-Dad was diagnosed with cancer. Surgery was on the books for him and I couldn’t help but be thankful that I didn’t have to worry about my cake shoppe or any outgoing orders. A quick 30 days later he beat me to heaven, but I truly believe that the fire was God’s way of making sure I was at the hospital every single day with my Dad. Within about 45 days, I had lost my cake shoppe and my Dad. I spiraled into time where I felt entirely lost. My Dad would come and sit at my cake shoppe and watch me work, bring me lunch, cut my cake boards, etc. And I just couldn’t fathom going back to cakes without him.
The catering company sold to Mike’s BBQ and a short time later the catering business was shut down entirely and there was no opportunity for me to return even if I wanted to. I put all my equipment into storage and was sure that I would never return to cakes again. Now that didn’t mean that my phone didn’t ring and I didn’t get constant emails in which my clients were encouraging me to return. I ignored them all and was just trying to put one foot in front of the other while dealing with my double grief.
One morning I was sitting in my car in a parking lot and I was overcome with tears and sadness. So I simply pleaded with God to show me my path, because I was tired of feeling lost. My phone instantly rang and I ignored it like usual. Then it dawned on me that what if that was God’s answer. So after well over a year, I picked up the phone and said “No More Boring Cakes, this is Jen.” On the other end of the phone was a longtime client of mine that I had made several cakes for over the years. She pretty aggressively told me that it was time I get back to cakes and that she wasn’t going to take no for an answer and ordered a cake for 2 weeks out! I knew at that moment; it was time to return and with a grateful heart I hung up the phone and began to scramble before fear changed my mind. I immediately pulled everything out of storage making multiple trips in my car and setup a room in my home, tables and racks and all. I had just moved into a new house a few months prior and just so happen to have an extra empty office. I called my old vendors back and started ordering supplies. By that night when my family got home, my cake room was nearly all setup and everyone was very surprised. The next day, I was at the health department reinstating my health permit. While I was out of business for 15 months, the law in California changed and the Cottage Food Law was adopted. This allows for home bakers to operate under strict rules out of their homes, instead of commercial kitchens!
So, in the beginning of 2014, No More Boring Cakes got their second chance. I was greeted with open arms by the local community and business got off the ground quickly and easily. I have been happily operating from home since. When COVID hit, I was a little concerned that my cake business would be interrupted, but I was dead wrong. I ended up doubling my typical orders and thriving while offering smaller cakes during the week to help families celebrate their special events. In the middle of COVID, I also launched a side hustle of printing and shipping edible images, under the name of EAT YOUR IMAGES (an homage to Eat Your Lunch Deli that I began out of years ago). Thus far for 2021, I have created a record 176 custom cakes and I am looking forward to ending this year strong. What is next for No More Boring Cakes? I have learned that due to the historical circumstances that I have already overcome – there are no limitations. Perhaps in person and online classes/courses, maybe another TV show, a product line – anything is possible, so long as I am willing to dream!
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
The biggest obstacles in my business is two-fold:
First is getting someone to remember me when they need me.
Secondly is getting people to order a custom cake weeks/months prior to their event and not inquire about a cake days before.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
NMBC creates fun, funky custom cakes for all occasions, in collaboration with each client to fit their theme as well as budget.
NMBC provides premium, quality, and one of a kind cakes suitable to show off at your event. Each cake is considered a work of art.
NMBC’s goal is to build a reputable business by engaging in a wonderful customer experience while delivering a final product that far exceeds your expectations.
NMBC gives back to the local community in North San Diego County, by providing 4-6 pro-bono cakes per year to deserving families.
NMBC strives to work enthusiastically while coming alongside each client to design the type of cake they are looking for.
NMBC communicates with each client with email updates, and sneak peek pictures during the cake making progress.
NMBC offers follow-up with each client, as well as sharing a professional picture of their final product.
NMBC strives to bring happiness and joy to each client by executing each specific cake order to 100% satisfaction.
NMBC commits to deliver each cake with a smile to engage in a positive customer reaction by putting a friendly face to No More Boring Cakes.
How do you think about happiness?
Aside from cakes – the things that I love that make me happy are:
– Sitting at/working at local coffee shops while hunting for the best white chocolate mocha.
– Spending time with my 2 rescued doodles and dog watching/loving at all times.
– Watching my only son thriving while playing high school football and baseball.
– Reading non-fiction books, I typically have my nose in 5-8 books at a time.
– Caring for my husband of 21 years who just made it out the other side of a 4 year battle with tongue cancer.
– Also helping/coaching others walk the cancer path, especially with using natural and integrative modalities.
– Catching some daily vitamin D in the sun and grounding myself in the sand at the beaches in Oceanside.
– I Always have good music playing.
– Finding treasures at local thrift stores.
Email: 760-484-1818 email@example.com