Local moms prove skills as entrepreneurs, bakers in two sweet businesses

Error message

  • Warning: array_merge(): Argument #1 is not an array in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 133 of /home/pdccourier/public_html/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Notice: Trying to get property of non-object in _simpleads_adgroup_settings() (line 343 of /home/pdccourier/public_html/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).
  • Warning: array_merge(): Argument #1 is not an array in _simpleads_render_ajax_template() (line 157 of /home/pdccourier/public_html/sites/all/modules/simpleads/includes/simpleads.helper.inc).

Sugar Jacks started in January 2017, focusing on custom-decorated, soft sugar cookies with royal icing.

CaseyCakes offers a variety of treats, including cupcakes, gourmet cakes, sheet cakes, pies and cookies.

By Rachel Mergen

 

In Monona, two home bakeries are becoming household names. Sugar Jacks and CaseyCakes are run by stay-at-home mothers who know a thing or two about baking and creating businesses that have put them on the map.

Sugar Jacks

“My business started by accident honestly. I have never had a great interest in cooking. However, my passion has always been art,” said Jackalyn Voss, owner of Sugar Jacks. Her home bakery started in January 2017, focusing on custom-decorated, soft sugar cookies with royal icing.

“I spent hours in the art room at school, and when I got home, I was in my room drawing or making jewelry. Even when I was little kid I knew I wanted to own my own business,” told Voss. 

“I had decorated some cakes in high school, and I tried sugar cookies for the first time in the fall of 2016. I was planning my daughter’s first birthday party and I wanted to go all out with the desserts, so I decided to do sugar cookies to match the theme.”

Her daughter’s birthday was the birth of Voss’ business. Her sister posted a picture of the cookies on Facebook, calling for anyone who wanted decorated sugar cookies to contact Voss, because of the outstanding quality and taste of the ones she baked for the party. Following the post she began to receive messages from people wanting them. 

Voss had daydreamed about selling them but was afraid to fail.” This fear was proven wrong as she finished her first two orders within the following weeks. But she had to learn the inner working of running and promoting a business. 

“I loved marketing in college so I decided to make a Facebook page after the first two orders were a success,” Voss said. “Going into this, I anticipated a self-sustaining hobby and that I would get an order every couple weeks and have weeks where I wouldn’t have any orders. Essentially, it was going to be my ‘me time’ as a stay-at-home mom.

“After the Facebook page went up, the hobby exploded into a business within weeks. I was overwhelmed by the reaction it received, and I have been booked nearly every single weekend since. My main business goal has been to become faster and more skilled at decorating.”

The name Sugar Jacks came from her daydreaming when she used to work in Cabela’s distribution center. It was the combination of a high school nickname and a joke she and her friend used to make: “all jacked up.” The name fit perfectly with her goal of having it be unique and not cliche.

Currently, Voss does all of the prep work, baking and decorating herself. Her husband helps with packaging during busy weekends. Leona is her cashier during open houses, happily inviting customers in. Voss also enjoys seeing her daughter’s excitement.   

Her passion of owning a home bakery is the decorating, so she feels lucky that the sugar cookie recipe was passed down within her family.

“I had one order for a woman meeting up with her college friends, and we incorporated their inside jokes and memories from college into cookies. That type of order is my favorite. When the design is based off what the customer asks for. My business is about making something you cannot get anywhere else. It’s for a 3-year-old girl who has an affinity for bees. It’s for a 1-year-old sweetheart who has battled a heart condition that gets heart cookies with band-aids on them,” she said. 

“I put a tremendous amount of time and thought into each order; that’s what sets me apart. I love extravagant, over-the-top things. Every time I have a theme I’ve done before, I do my best to make it different or step it up a bit.”

“My favorite part, however, is getting a customer’s message after the cookies have gone out,” she said. “I spend, at the very least, three hours on every order, just designing and decorating them. Every order is personal to me. That’s what I do this for. If it was for the money, there are better ways to make money.”

 Voss’ hope for the business is to expand it, but still be a home bakery. “Presently I have a sun room on the front of my house that works great for customers picking up their cookies as well as an impromptu sales space for my open houses,” she mentioned.

“The dream would be to do the unique treats and desserts you cannot get anywhere else. I am self-taught, so I would also like to get some formal training so I can give the best product possible.”

Voss is not simply a baker and entrepreneur though, she’s also a stay-at-home mother with two daughters: 2.5-year-old Leona and 6-month-old Piper, and the wife of the “very supportive” Devin Voss. She has a bachelor’s degree in business management and an associate’s degree in human resources.

Sugar cookies are the only desserts she offers, as “every time I try a new cake recipe or baked good, I find myself running back to my sugar cookies,” Voss noted.

To book an order with Sugar Jacks or to learn more information, direct message the Sugar Jacks Facebook page. All cookies must be picked up at her home in Monona, due to Iowa law. 

CaseyCakes

“Martha Stewart” magazine was the start of Casey Evanson’s love for baking. She is now the proud owner and baker at CaseyCakes. 

“My love for baking blossomed from there,” she explained. When she was younger, she worked in a deli and practiced her decorating skills there.

Evanson’s mother owns Eagles Landing Winery in Marquette. One day, she decided to take in a new dessert recipe sample, which went over well at the winery, and she ended up being slightly pushed into making a business with her baking skills. 

Since the beginning, according to Evanson, it “really expanded quickly.” She started with basic cupcakes, but quickly moved toward unique gourmet desserts. 

Her goal was to offer something different to the community that was not normally sold in the area. Evanson said, “People could only buy generic cakes other places.”

The name CaseyCakes came from a combination of her given name, along with a childhood nickname of Cakes. She found it to be perfect for her new business. 

Her team includes only herself, but her 7-year-old son enjoys watching her work. She makes her orders as close to the deadline as possible, so they can be fresh and delicious for the customer. Most of her work is completed at night, after her children are asleep, especially her 23-month-old daughter Rachel. 

Evanson likes peoples’ reactions and likes to do kid’s birthday cakes. She also enjoys exploring new flavor combinations, with white, raspberry, salted caramel and cookie dough being some of the most popular flavors. She enjoys the free range she has with trying new desserts too.

She is thrilled with her repeat customers and seeing the responses that people have after tasting and seeing her treats. For sales during Christmas and local events, like Hay Days, she is proud to say most of her products are sold out before she can even put them all out on display. She’s happy to know customers are waiting excitedly for her desserts. “It makes you feel appreciated,” she noted.

Her biggest struggles with the business have been balancing her work life with home life and family. She’s also faced the challenges of running a business, including pricing so she is profitable. 

During her free time, Evanson enjoys keeping up with blogs. She works to be knowledgeable of the trends on the Western and Eastern Coasts, so she can be ahead of them before they reach the Midwest.

“If it is sweet, I’ll probably do it,” she joked. Evanson offers a variety of treats, including cupcakes, gourmet cakes, sheet cakes, pies and cookies. 

In the future, she hopes to have her own storefront, a little bakery she can be proud to call her own. Evanson plans  to “keep making fun, sweet things” and trying new and unique desserts that push her skills.

Evanson is the stay-at-home mother of two sons and a daughter. She is married to Derek Evanson.

To make an order, contact Evanson through her Facebook page, by email at caseycakes05@hotmail.com, or by calling her at (563) 880-3056. 

Rate this article: 
Average: 5 (3 votes)