I am so happy today to share the story of Imes Bakin’ with you. Jenn Imes is someone I’ve known a looooong time, we met in marching band in junior high. Have you ever heard of the “Baritone Switch”? No? It’s this marching move where the french horns and baritones switch places without the drum major or band director (or worse yet, the band booster moms!) seeing us. Still no? Well, anyhow, we invented it. Good times, good times.
Jenn did something many of us dream of one day doing, she turned her passion into a profitable business. Her story is a great one and her cakes are even better. If you happen to live in Western PA give her a call for your next cake order!
I recently asked Jenn how she got started in the baking business, here is her reply.
“I think it just stared as a love for baking and I think I was groomed for it lol. Last night we were at my Mom’s for supper. She had made potato soup and I made corn bread. I realized I had been making the cornbread since high school. I don’t know what started it but when mom was making a dinner that needed corn bread or biscuits I was the one called to make it. There were 5 of us kids (I am #2) and birthday parties were a shared event and a cake was made for each person. They were usually left in the pan and decorated with the candy lettering. I have a picture for every year until I was 16 with my dad, with our cakes. 16th birthday’s were the only one we bought a cake for.
Another tradition I remember that probably contributed was when mom at Easter one year made a bunny cake. She made two 8′ round cakes and one was cut to make 2 ears and a bow tie then decorated with icing and candy. She made it for years, then my sister. It went back and forth between my sister and I. Last year my oldest daughter made it. Never was I so happy!!
I like making things for people, I like making people happy. I don’t always feel what I make and do are the best but it’s not about the THING I’ve made it’s about the ACT of making it. I’ve always loved to draw but could never find a place for it other than for recreation. I never felt it was something that could make me money. I have a degree in Architectural CADD because I thought that kind of “drawing” or “designing” would make me happy. I reeeaaallly wanted to do interior design but that’s another story.
Once I became a mom I found it easier to buy cakes always thinking after I picked it up I bet I could do that. I started paying attention to little details and picking up baking and decorating tips from magazines and web sites. I decided one year to make Jeannise her birthday cake. It was a Hannah Montana guitar. It wasn’t fabulous but I loved every minute of it. When Andy and I were planning our wedding I thought I could save us money by doing our cake. Looking back I doubt we saved a single dime since I had to practice plus buy all of the pans. Off and on from then if I had the time I made the birthday cakes. All the time learning tips, tricks and ideas from websites magazines and tv shows.
Fast forward to this June. I was asked to do a sweet 16 cake for my niece. Then a wedding cake for a friend. They both turned out nice. Jeannise requested a cookie monster cake for her birthday. It was a hit. Then people started asking if I did them for other people or just family and I kept hearing “you should start a business!” After I made that decision and put myself out there this past July I’ve only had one weekend that I didn’t have a cake to do. I average 2 per weekend but sometimes it’s only one and other times it’s 4 or 5. I donate cakes for local causes and I LOVE making the cakes for the family still. I’m getting to a place where I don’t stress so much I just let my God given ability take over. I finally have a place to channel my creativity. I never, ever would have thought it would get to this point. I always wanted to have a bakery but I felt it was a pipe dream (no pun intended).
I think my biggest fans and live in this house with me. My husband’s support has never wavered, Jeannise (now 13) is always honest and my go to when I need to know if something is “cool” enough. They both also wash a lot of dishes. Last but certainly not least Olivia, 3, is the one that makes the most fuss. Her gasps when she walks into the kitchen and declarations of “Oh Momma, that’s beautiful!” never get old. I can also gauge whether a character is turning out right if she recognizes them. She also has to be the most patient since 2-3 days a week she gets chased from the kitchen over and over again. She has found her release because she turns the rest of the house upside down.
I really can’t wait to see what’s in store for this adventure. It’s fun to find out what peoples interests are by what they want their cake to look like. I’m humbled and amazed by the remarks I get. I have a lot yet to learn. I’m my own biggest critic. I always look back and see something I should have done differently but I just file that away for the next time. Thank you for letting me share and if you need me I’ll be in the kitchen.”
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