Sinfully Sweet Cake Design || Houston, TX || Epoch Co+

We are so excited to kick-off our vendor spotlight series by digging into the life of star mom, baker and business owner Jenna Crawford -- owner of Sinfully Sweet Cake Designs located in Cypress, Texas. I first met Jenna when we were both working a wedding venue just west of Houston, Texas. I am so thankful for the friendship that I have gotten to experience with Jenna, learning about her passion for providing one of the oldest traditions to couples, and can’t wait to share that with you. There is some great wedding cake knowledge in the following, including 5 tips for picking the perfect baker for your wedding day, and I hope you enjoy reading what Jenna has to say as much as I did. We sure are excited that our company gets to continue working weddings with her in this amazing industry!

How did you get started in baking?

Even as a kid, I loved to bake- whether it be helping with holiday meals, making cakes or cupcakes just because…anything. I'd even enter the local county fair in the creative arts/baking division. At Christmas, I would take forever to decorate the cookies because I wanted them a certain way, and desserts have always been my favorite thing when it comes to food.

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What made you want to start your own business?

After spending some time as an Aggie, it didn't take long to realize that my intended career path (public education) was not the direction I needed to go in. That first semester after walking away, I played around with cupcake combinations I would find online and put things together. Cupcakes were all the rage in 2012 - cupcake boutiques were popping up everywhere; with the passage of the Texas Cottage Food Law in 2011, I decided to offer cupcakes for sale, and desired to call my business 'A Piece of {Cup}Cake'. The fall of that same year, I started taking decorating classes locally to get some basics, and worked with what I could learn online. This also sparked my first cookie venture (for Aggie Ring Day), and ultimately led me to branch out to cakes and cookies, in addition to cupcakes. By the end of 2012, I had landed on Sinfully Sweet: Cakes, Cookies, and Cupcakes, now known as Sinfully Sweet Cake Design.

What are 5 tips that you would give a prospective client searching for a baker?

  1. First and foremost -- do. your. research. This is ever-important when it comes to the style of your cake artist. Do the creations in their portfolio fit your own personal style? If you're a Meghan Markle style bride - sleek, elegant, and understated, then you're likely not going to look at vendors who are eclectic in their style of work. To me, finding an artist who is similar in style to your own is highly important, as you are reflected in your cake. If you're looking to have a cake recreated from Pinterest, then you're likely not looking for an artist who desires to design. I highly suggest opening your mind to have a unique cake, not the same one every other bride in this area is asking for.

  2. Second, look at their reputation in various areas. How do other vendors view this person? If you're repeatedly seeing someone is difficult to work with, they may not be your best fit. I always look at how other vendors speak of their experiences with people, because if it's a recurring theme, then something is likely off. It also helps to see who your vendor team raves about - and make sure this isn't due to kickbacks, referral fees, etc. I like to know who I'm working with and how they mesh as a group.

  3. Third on my top 5 tips is to check the quality of work, I always recommend to scour an artist's social media/portfolio. Is the work shown either similar or progressive? A huge red flag is when there is a very quick jump between beginner style work and a flawless piece of art. These changes don't happen overnight, and you can tend to see progression or a shift in the technical aspect. I am a huge stickler for the technical aspect in cake - the finish of the fondant or buttercream, the crisp edges, well-placed decor, and how well elements are created. I'm about the flawless over the flash - meaning that the WOW factor elements mean nothing unless they are done well.

  4. Can you see who is behind the work? Do the posts have the same style, are all of the accounts synchronized with the projects/events, and are there multiple outlets to see reviews, real work, and information about the business? This is particularly helpful in seeing whether you have a scam artist on your hands - and in the world of the internet, you can never be too careful. Go further than the social media feed and see who you're working with. This is what I hear most - that clients trust my business based on my social media presence and how active/open I am with behind the scenes peeks and details.

  5. Probably my most used and shared tip is in regards to price. Why price? Because it is essential to know your limitations, especially when you are designing your cake. Not all cake artists will align with your specific budget, and it is best to know this prior to creating a vision you'll love. I heard this advice on Say Yes to the Dress and it sticks with me: do not put a bride in a gown she cannot afford, period. Same goes for cake when designing: I will not design an extravagant cake and sketch without knowing if this will even work for the couple. If there is a specific vision that you have and cannot fit into your budget, it's okay to ask for variations, or scale down, or prioritize an aspect that is most important to you.   

What is your favorite creation you've ever made?

I have to say that I don't think I've ever answered this the same way twice… As of right now, the winner of this question is a wedding cake made last spring, for my longtime friend Terry and his bride Hannah. The scenario surrounding the cake is what makes this a favorite, as I'd only met the bride once, and it was a "you have free rein, I trust you" relationship. They weren't afraid to incorporate textures and a non-traditional style of cake, which I love.

What is your least favorite creation you've ever made?

A few years ago, I took on a client who wanted a cake with all of her boyfriend's favorite things. The kicker was her budget kept us from adding the elements to take this cake up a notch, and we were limited on what could be used. While the technical aspect was spot on, the design was not my favorite, which resulted in my new boundary/policy of not taking on something I didn't truly love.

Why go with a professional baker instead of just a family friend?

This is a scenario I see all the time: someone's aunt took a class or loves to bake, etc and something ends up happening either prior to or during the wedding. Protections like a strong and unbiased vendor-client relationship, business insurance, contracts, and proper policies all help to ensure a streamlined and stress-free transaction. When family is involved, there are feelings, entitlement on gifting cakes, etc that all come into play and can add unnecessary stress to your celebration.