We had the good fortune of connecting with Erika Tovar and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Erika, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?
One of the things that outsiders are probably unaware of in the baking/cake industry and even in the event industry is the amount of time it takes for a small business to be able to create the product or service the customer is paying for. All the customer sees is the end product, they place an order and pickup when it’s ready. I think the reality of not only myself and this business but of many other small business owners is that there is one person single-handedly taking care of every aspect of their business. It is also important to point out that a lot of small business owners like myself, have a regular 9 to 5 job that we have to fit into our already busy schedules. To begin, our process starts when we receive an inquiry email from the customer. There are several email exchanges in order to reach an agreement which take several days depending on our workload. The next step in the process is to design, it takes anywhere from 2 to 4 hrs on average for us to complete a sketch for the customer, not including revisions. We then have to get approval on the design, once the design is approved we are ready to begin baking and decorating. This part of the process usually takes several days depending on the size of the cake. We try our best to accommodate and fit our customers, but in order to provide our customers with quality products and services we have to limit the amount of orders we take in every week. As you can tell, the process of taking a cake order can take about 2 weeks, and this process is repeated with every single order. Unfortunately, at times we don’t have the capacity to accommodate every inquiry received. Giving our customers and outsiders this knowledge helps them better understand why we ask for orders to be placed ahead of time but also gives them insight of the industry.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The idea of Marblelous Cakes actually started as a hobby. I was a recent college graduate and wanted to get in touch with my creative side so I started watching baking competition shows thinking that I could replicate what I saw. Eventually I started purchasing baking supplies and began baking small cakes for family gatherings. The first cake I actually made was for my birthday, it wasn’t the most beautiful or extravagant cake but I loved it and it inspired me to want to create more. A few months went by and I started gaining more confidence in my baking and decorating skills so that’s when I decided to finally launch Marblelous Cakes.
Marblelous Cakes prides themselves in creating custom cakes and desserts for all occasions. Every single cake is individually crafted with a variety of rich, made from scratch flavors. There are a numerous amount of cake artist in the Houston area and although we all create similar products the one thing that sets us apart from others is that everything we make is custom, there are no 2 cakes that look exactly the same. We will not replicate another artists designs, instead we will create something in our style that fits the theme of what our customer is looking for. Additionally we strive to provide value to our customers, not only in our communication with the customer but for their cake creation as well. Every cake gets our undivided attention to make sure every detail of their design is perfect.
Owning a business is tough, I believe that most people see only the successes but don’t see the work that goes behind the scenes to make a successful business. In all honesty, when you decided to own a business you’re essentially taking on another full time job on top of all the other responsibilities that you have, you’re working 24/7. When you first start a business there is a lot of self-doubt, which for me was one of the biggest challenges. One of my weaknesses is that I am a perfectionist, I strive to be perfect in everything I do and that was a huge challenge for me because even though my customers loved their cakes I was always looking for things that I could’ve done differently to make their cakes even better. As time went by, I learned that I was definitely being too tough on myself and that I had to take a step back and look at every single creation that I’ve made and give myself the credit that I deserved.
One of the biggest lesson that I’ve learned throughout this entire process is to stay true to yourself and your brand. You are the face of your brand and there will be people that look at you and admire what you do and there will be others that will want to replicate your brand. As long as you stay focused on what you and your business can do for others that is all you need to continue to be successful.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
As a native Houstonian, I feel like there’s so many places I have yet to try but some of my favorite food places include the breakfast klub, killens bbq and cielito café. I also love visiting museums and great scenic spots so I would definitely recommend visiting the Houston Museum of Natural Science, Discovery Green, McGovern Centennial Gardens.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would love to dedicate this shoutout to my amazing husband Robert. Robert has been by my side since the beginning of this business. He is my number one fan and the muscle that helps me deliver all of our tiered wedding cakes! Thank you Robert for everything you do for this business.
I would also love to thank every customer that has trusted Marblelous Cakes to be a part of their special life moments. Whether it’s a wedding cake or a birthday cake we truly appreciate our customers for giving us the opportunity to create something memorable. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!
Amy Maddox Photography Erika Geiger Photography