Ethnicity: African American
Hometown: Newark, NJ
Headquarters: Newark, NJ
Instagram: @ Kortneyskustomkreations
Facebook: Kortneys Kustom Kreations
Anytime you look around on social media, you see memes of inspiration encouraging people to stay strong in the midst of hardship: “If you fall seven times, stand up eight”; “A failure does not mean that you’ve failed”; “Don’t focus on searching for a dream job, work on creating a dream life.” Many people look at these memes and give them a like or share, but Kortney Williams is the epitome of everything that those jewels of enlightenment represent.
After losing her job as a daycare cook, Kortney took fate into her own hands and ignited a now booming business doing what her heart desires–baking delectable goods. With the help of social media, the Newark, NJ native has been able to manifest her dreams of being a successful business owner who spends everyday of her life turning passion into profit–and this is only the beginning.
In this exclusive chat with Miss CM, Kortney divulges her start, reveals what influenced her love for baking, and dishes words of wisdom to anyone looking to get into the custom cake business.
CM: What inspired you to start this business?
Kortney: I was inspired to start my business because I had a passion for baking and I’ve always had the desire to be my own boss. After working closely with my last boss and seeing how she grew her childcare empire from 5 kids to multiple locations, I was really inspired.
I know that you’re a self-taught baker, but where did you learn to create baked goods? Was this something you’ve been practicing since a kid? Watching TV, readings books—how did you learn?
I learned to bake from my grandmother who was a caterer, she taught me how to cook and bake before I could even reach the stove. We would watch cooking shows every day and I have been in love with cooking and baking ever since.
How long did it take you to learn fondant and skilled cake decorating?
I learned how to work with fondant very quickly. I watched a few tutorials on the basics and I made myself a cake for my 26th birthday last year.
One of Kortney’s “Kustimized” Cakes
So the cake you made for yourself was your first time working with fondant? And you’ve been doing it ever since?
Yes that was my first time working with fondant. I watched alot of tutorials and I just went for it.
Well, it’s obviously been working out for you [laughs]. What’s your most popular cake flavor?
My most popular cake flavor would have to be vanilla cake with fresh strawberries, bananas and vanilla custard.
You do all types of occasions and designs, but what’s the most extreme request that you’ve gotten thus far?
The most extreme request I’ve had was for a cake with no eggs, flour, or dairy. I was unable to fulfill this request because flour is essential in baking cakes.
Really? A cake with no flour [laughs]? But I know that’s not the only crazy request that you’ve gotten. So do you have a team to help you with this madness? Or are you handling everything on your own?
My team consists of myself and my fiancé and father of my [three] children, Red. He quit his job this year to help me pursue my dreams and be my extra set of hands.
Wow, that’s beautiful! That’s a real man right there. What exactly does he help out with?
Thank you. Red has a few jobs: He’s my delivery man, he takes care of the books–he was an accounting major–he helps me with packing things and cleaning. He is always there taking care of our children when I’m working. He doesn’t make anything but it’s great to have his help.
Sounds like he does a lot to help out and alleviate some of your stress. But as far as your workload is concerned, what’s a typical day look like for you?
A typical day for me is waking up at 6 am or earlier, checking my agenda for the day, and starting work. Business has increased from just weekend specialty orders to 7 days a week. I bake and customize the orders of the day and make sure I’m posting on social media all day to acquire clients. All the while being a mom to two boys and a girl.
Wow, supermom! [Laughs.] So it seems like you’re basically busy all the time. How often do you get to take a break and relax?
Monday is usually my slow day. When I have a lot of orders I don’t take many breaks. I have gone a couple days without sleep to make sure my clients are happy with their order.
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