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Facing Adversity, Embracing Success with Jennie Gibson

Podcast Episode #55 —

Facing Adversity, Embracing Success with Jennie Gibson

00:00 / 1:00:00

Jennie Gibson lives in Jacksonville, FL and sells custom-decorated cake pops with her cottage food business, The Cake Pop Shop.

Jennie already shared some advice on Episode 50, but in this episode, she shares her own incredible cottage food journey.

Simply put, Jennie has one of the most successful home-based cake pop businesses in the entire country!

But her journey started with humble (and unlikely) beginnings, including a bad car accident that left her permanently disabled, and a special needs son that gave her the dose of inspiration that she needed.

However, through hard work and persistence, Jennie has overcome many challenges and built up her cake pop empire over time.

In just over a decade, she has:

  • Landed many large orders of over 1,000 cake pops each
  • Created cake pops for many major organizations, including the NFL & Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Sold elaborate cake pops for $180 per dozen
  • Accrued over 40,000 followers on Instagram

It hasn’t always been easy, but it’s definitely been rewarding. In this episode, you’ll hear about what keeps Jennie going, and what’s she’s learned along the way!

What You’ll Learn

  • How Jennie’s disabled son prompted her interest in making cake pops
  • How she went from saying “I will never make another cake pop in my life” to saying “I don’t see myself ever stopping making cake pops”
  • Why her disability makes it impractical for her to use a shared commercial kitchen like “regular people” do
  • Why you shouldn’t compare your skillset with others who have been in business for longer than you
  • Jennie’s unique process for making cake pops
  • How to process huge orders without commercial kitchen equipment
  • Tools needed for starting a cake pop business
  • How to use an order form to save time and target the right customers
  • How to use a virtual assistant to increase your productivity
  • How Jennie manages huge orders of over 1,000 cake pops
  • How to get large orders with corporations and organizations
  • Why consistency and quality are keys to success, even for small orders
  • How Jennie went from charging $12 to $180 for one dozen of her cake pops
  • Why raising her prices will likely lead to fewer customer complaints
  • Why you shouldn’t have an order minimum if you’re just starting out
  • How she built a following of 40k fans on Instagram
  • Why Jennie is focusing her efforts on teaching instead of continuing to grow her cake pop business
  • Why she takes the time to run two Facebook groups in addition to her cake pop business


The Cake Pop Shop Website (About Page)

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | YouTube

Jennie’s Cake Pop Classes

Bakerella’s Cake Pops book

Upwork (for finding a virtual assistant)

ThermoPop Instant Read Thermometer

Jennie’s Facebook Groups:

Florida Cottage Food Law

Jennie on Episode 50

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This transcript was computer-generated, so there may be errors

David Crabill: Welcome to the Forrager podcast, where I talk with cottage food entrepreneurs, about their strategies for running a food business from home. I’m David Crabill, and today I’m talking with Jennie Gibson. That Jennie was actually already on episode 50 of the podcast because she runs two Facebook groups that support the cottage food industry.

She shared some great advice on the episode, but as you’ll see, she does a whole lot more than run Facebook groups. She also has run her own cottage food business in Jacksonville, Florida for the past decade. It’s called the cake pop shop.

And I’m definitely not exaggerating when I say it is easily. One of the most successful home-based cake pop businesses in the entire country. Jennie’s custom cake pops sculptures and designs are extremely impressive. And since starting this business in 2011, she’s seemingly done it. All the numbers in her business are simply staggering. She’s had many orders of over 1000 cake pops. Each she’s worked with large corporations and organizations, including the NFL and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Her highest priced cake pops are $180 for one dozen and she has over 40,000 followers on Instagram.

Now. Obviously that’s all very remarkable, but even more remarkable is how Jennie got here. It certainly has not been easy. In this episode, you’ll hear about the challenges she’s faced, especially with her son’s disabilities and her own disability. She’s very open about that and is also really transparent about just how much work it’s taken to get to this point. She started from ground zero, just like everyone else and through slow but steady growth.

She’s built a veritable cake pop empire. She’s got plenty to share with us today. So with that, let’s jump right into this episode.

Welcome to the show. Jennie. Nice to have you here.

[00:01:53] Jennie Gibson: Hi, thanks. Thanks for having me here.

[00:01:55] David Crabill: Jennie, can you take us back to the beginning of this journey? How did it all get started?

[00:02:00] Jennie Gibson: Wow. Trying to summarize this story is difficult. But it starts in, I would say 2005 when my husband and I were in a car accident and it kind of changed the course of my life, where I end up getting injured pretty badly, and I was told that I wouldn’t be able to work anymore. And I was in school finishing up a degree for biology to be a zookeeper.

So not being able to work any kind of labor was going to, that’s impossible for that kind of career. Fast forward a little bit. We had a son um, my sister-in-law’s staying with us and she works on cakes. She’s a cottage food baker. And she works out of our home making cakes and she tells me she’s going to make cake pops.

And so I try to help her with that. And it was a disaster I’m just not the type of person who likes to leave things like that. I like to learn. So we got a book and we started learning and my son became very interested. So I started making cake pops for him my son was born with medically complex needs and he’s 15 now, but he’s had 45 surgeries to date. Um, He’s also autistic. So he was non-verbal for a very long time. I mean, he was probably 10 before he was really talking, but when he was about four, he became interested in the cake pop book that I got for my sister-in-law.

before then he didn’t really talk at all. He said nothing at all, but he would flip through the pages and just look at it and look at it. And then he just started saying what the pictures were before then. Like I said, he didn’t really talk, we didn’t really know what was going on in his mind or that he really understood.

Cause you know, when a person doesn’t communicate, you don’t know what’s happening in their mind. And it was astonishing for me and his interest in the cake pops really sparked my interest and just trying to reach him. And so I made cake pops for his school when a few of my friends and my son’s teacher saw it.

They said, Hey, you know, you should sell these. I think you can make some money from this. And at that moment, I was just stay at home. Mom. I was disabled from the foot injury, from the car accident. And I was, it was a great idea.

[00:04:06] David Crabill: Yeah, it’s amazing. The challenges you’ve overcome. I mean um, with your car accident, I noticed that you still use a knee scooter, right?

[00:04:15] Jennie Gibson: Yes. That’s the thing. I want people and the people that I teach to know that, your life isn’t, you can make it what you want. And you know, there are obstacles that happen, but you just have to push through them and being. Uh, Cottage food baker has allowed me to continue a career and do something that I like and I enjoy and to help provide for my family and being disabled in a working world Is kind of difficult because even though these things are set up for disabled people, that’s the legal part of it.

They don’t actually always work for somebody who needs to use a knee scooter or a wheelchair. And so your home is obviously going to be more comfortable. And so I have it set up in a way where I can work from home being disabled.

[00:04:54] David Crabill: Is that part of the reason why you wouldn’t necessarily. To go into a commercial kitchen.

[00:05:00] Jennie Gibson: Absolutely. It’s, if I had a commercial kitchen, a kitchen where I’m working with other people, That would be impossible for me. Cause I have considered that. It’s set up for regular people. It’s not set up for somebody like me. And it takes me a little longer because I have to use devices to get around a little more, or I have to sit to do things instead of standing and moving quickly.

I’m in my own store. I mean, I’ve always had a vision of how I was set it up for me specifically, but, I was interested maybe for a year and the idea of having my own store, but I, the flexibility from home was just better. It was just, it works better for me and for my son’s situation.

[00:05:40] David Crabill: what was that book that your son really got into?

[00:05:44] Jennie Gibson: It was Bakerella’s first book. I think she has a few. Now it’s just called Bakerella cake pops.

[00:05:50] David Crabill: Okay. And you didn’t have any idea how to make cake pop before picking up that book. Right?

[00:05:56] Jennie Gibson: Oh, absolutely not. As a matter of fact my sister-in-law’s cake pops, she was telling me how to do them. And it was the complete opposite way of the way Bakerella tells you how to do them. And it was just a mess. They were falling off the stick. It was a nightmare. And I actually said, I will never make another cake pop in my life after that, but I just, I have a lot of perseverance and I wanted to master it. So I saw the book in the store and I was like, we are absolutely getting this.

[00:06:25] David Crabill: That’s so funny that you didn’t think that you would sell another cake pop and now you’ve sold what tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of them. Right? So

[00:06:33] Jennie Gibson: Thousands and thousands of cake pops.

[00:06:35] David Crabill: now you had this Christmas party for your son’s school. That’s where you kind of put them out into the public a little bit. And then what happened after.

[00:06:44] Jennie Gibson: I posted them online. I’m a really creative person and I like to have a creative outlet and I posted them on my Facebook and my friends saw them and they were like, wow, this is pretty good. You should sell these. And again, I started thinking about it. I was like, that’s, you know, why not? Let’s let’s try, let’s see what happens.

So I immediately created a Facebook page and my brother’s a graphic artist. So I was like, this is the idea I have for a logo, please make it. And he made it for me. And I just started posting in mom groups. like these swip swap pages where marketplace, where you can post things that you’re doing. And people started to order just people around town started to order.

And I started to get more and more experience and It was really slow in the beginning. I was making maybe an order a month if that, but after about six to eight months, it just started to take off.

[00:07:36] David Crabill: Why were you compelled to turn this into a business?

[00:07:40] Jennie Gibson: I wanted something for myself. Being a stay-at-home mom can be difficult because your life revolves around your child and you, you kind of lose your identity a little bit. And the accident took something from me. It took a sense of who I was and where I was going and the dreams that I had always had.

And so to be able to do something that was for me, but could also contribute to help my family and help my son with medical bills and therapies and things like that was something that was a plus. To the creative part, to the fun part of it.

[00:08:19] David Crabill: So as you’re posting on these social channels, I did notice, it seems like you’re very open about your story. I mean, you have a fantastic about page on your. I’d recommend people check that out. Cause I think that’s how an about page should be written. And, um, has always been just easy for you to share about yourself because you have there are many things in your life that, other people might not be so open and sharing.

[00:08:46] Jennie Gibson: I am a very open person. I probably share more than I should, but it is one of the things that’s uncomfortable for me to talk about sometimes or before a person gets to know me is my disability. I have a hard time being in public. Uh, Representative for my business. That for some reason, embarrasses me a little bit.

I don’t want people to know that I have a disadvantage or that I, I use a wheelchair for big public spaces or my knee scooter. And I think it’s a shock for them. And so that can be difficult to overcome, but it is a part of who I am and it is a part of my story. And I’m always willing to share it, especially online, especially to students. It can be difficult, but I I’ve always been really open. And I don’t, I actually feel like I don’t share it enough. And I know I talk about It often.

[00:09:36] David Crabill: It was interesting for me to hear, because I feel like it would be the opposite, right? Like if people noticed that you were disabled, I think they’d find that even more compelling and, you know, want to support you even more like as your resistance to sharing that in public or showing people that in public, is that due to an experience that you’ve had or a negative experience you’ve had.

[00:10:00] Jennie Gibson: yes, there are people kind of make their own judgments when they see you, they fill in the blanks for themselves and what they think makes sense. And that’s not always true. And so sometimes I get insensitive responses to why I might be in that wheelchair or using a knee scooter. I guess I don’t want to make that disability part of my identity, even though it is, I want people to focus on the other things about me.

You know, the, me being a mother, me being the mother of a child with special needs, how we overcome that as a family, what I do for my work, my creativeness, it is actually a big deal though. I mean, I’ve overcome a lot. I’ve overcome, there’s a lot of mental that goes into being disabled and being able bodied before and then having a disability after there’s a lot of mental work that goes into that.

And that’s just one of the parts, even though it’s probably been like 18 years. It’s still, it’s an insecurity thing that I have that I try to work.

[00:11:02] David Crabill: Well, thank you for sharing that. I’m sure a lot of people be to relate to that. And uh, I appreciate you being open about that, but clearly this has not held you back in any way, shape or form, meaning you have one of the most successful home cake, pop businesses in the country, And so I definitely want to get into, you know, what you did to get this business off the ground.

So I know you kind of got it off the ground in 2011 to some degree, but you said the sales were slow. But now you’ve been like published in magazines and blogs and I mean, there’s been a lot, that’s happened over the years in those first few years, you know, when sales were slow, like what was the progression of your business?

[00:11:43] Jennie Gibson: In the beginning, it was something. And I think a lot of people who start a cottage food business think this, oh, this is just a hobby. It’s something I’ll try. It’ll be fun. And that’s kind of where I was, where I was like, I’ll just do a few things here and there. And then I started realizing that in order to have more interest, I was going to have to do work, even if I wasn’t getting orders.

And so I would practice so I could be better when people did place orders. And so it was really slow in the beginning, but just putting myself out there, keeping the public up to date on what I was working on and helping friends and family with parties. So I had.

[00:12:24] David Crabill: Was there a point where you felt like your business really started to take hold and, became more of a regular and consistent thing?

[00:12:33] Jennie Gibson: Absolutely. I think sometimes it’s still a shock for me. Um, it was about a year in when I was getting several orders a week is when I realized that this was going to be consistent. I would say actually, when I was getting at least one order a week, I was like, oh, this is a legitimate business. I’m, going to actually be able to make money from this and do what I love at the same time.

[00:12:54] David Crabill: But didn’t happen like at a specific moment. Like it just kinda came over time. Right? It wasn’t like you got published in a magazine and then boom, all of a sudden you became.

[00:13:05] Jennie Gibson: No, absolutely not. As a matter of fact, by the time I became published, I was already working. Regularly and booking up being noticed by people comes after you’re working more steady. So there was a lot of time and hard work before then. I do remember it taking off quicker than I expected, I guess. I, I didn’t think it would be that big of a deal before then.

My husband and I had been making Woody t-shirts with my brother who was a graphic artist and that had a little bit of interest, but it was really nothing. it was something I just did to stay busy and again, my creative outlet, so I kind of thought maybe cake pops would be similar where it would be like, oh, okay.

That’s cool. And your friends and family are trying to be supportive, but it kind of fizzles out. And like I said, about a year, maybe eight months to a year, just bam. It happened and the publishing and things like that came afterwards.

[00:13:55] David Crabill: Yeah. So considering that your business grew and progressed very slowly and organically over time, was there a point in which you thought, well, maybe this isn’t the right thing for me, or maybe I should just give up on this idea.

[00:14:09] Jennie Gibson: nothing to do with business. It had to do with self-confidence. And I think a lot of us struggle with that. And I know I certainly do, even now I struggle with this regularly. But I remember looking at other people’s work and I know people do this to me too, cause they tell me, but I remember looking at one specific person’s work And I was astounded by how amazing her work was. And it overwhelmed me because I could barely get a straight line and they were thick and clumpy, and there was no way that I was ever going to be able to make a character.

Like, I think it was blues clues or something. I was like, there’s no way that’s ever going to happen. And it overwhelmed me and I almost immediately, I was like, I’m never going to get to that level. I might as well stop now, but something clicked. And I was like, I’m just going to keep going. Maybe I’ll never get there, but at least I’ll get better and I’m making money.

So maybe I won’t be to this level of artistry, but at least I can still make a business out of this and I can still, you know, help my family in this.

[00:15:06] David Crabill: I noticed. I mean at this point you have done just so many designs and I mean you do everything. I mean, you have elegant cake pops, kids, cake pops, baby showers, sports characters, weddings, holiday theme, cake pops. I mean, I’m not sure if there’s any kind of cake pop you don’t do, but at what point did you say, you know, I could make pretty much any kind of cake pop. How long did it take you to get that kind of confidence in your design ability?

[00:15:36] Jennie Gibson: Wow. It was years. And it was even when I was making these really difficult characters or faces. Cause I’ve had people that want me to make, I call them people pops. They want me to make a caricature of their face for their wedding or something, even then when I was doing it and I was being paid. I was like, I can’t do this.

I’m not able to do this. It takes, it took years to feel confident. And there was still some designs where I’m like, I’m not sure I can pull that off I don’t tell my customers that to my customers. I’m always confident and I know what I’m doing. And that actually helps me push myself to live up to their expectations because they believe that I can do anything.

[00:16:15] David Crabill: You say, you’re saying today, you still there’s a design that you feel like you can’t.

[00:16:20] Jennie Gibson: Oh, absolutely. I think I had a request for swans. I don’t know, storks and I’m thinking, how am I going to get a long, thin neck? Because the cake breaks when you dip it. And So it, it took a little bit of figuring out I was able to accomplish it with some fondant for the neck instead of the whole thing, being a cake pop. But there’s still times that I get crazy requests. And I tell, I just have no clue how I’m going to accomplish it.

[00:16:47] David Crabill: So what’s the process like for you to make a cake pop and has it changed over the last decade?

[00:16:52] Jennie Gibson: Oh, yeah. The methods have changed in the beginning. So with bakerella’s initial book she explains how you, you bake a cake and you basically turn it into crumbs and then you mix in icing and you do all this by hand. And in the book, it says to add three fourths of a can of icing. And I remember they were so sweet and just soft and it was just too much.

And so over time I was like, there has to be a different way. There has to be a way that I can reduce the amount of icing that I’m using and speed up the time. And so I started switching to like a food processor to break down the cake, and then that allowed me to add a little bit of less icing. but I didn’t like the consistency that a food processor gave me.

So there was a lot of trial and error, even though there’s a book, there’s still a learning curve of how you’re going to do this and make it your own. It was too gummy with the food processor. So then I started thinking about the kitchen aid. Could I have more control that way. So we use a stand mixer and we throw, I mean, a whole cake.

I can just break up the cake, toss it in, let it turn to crumbs. And then I only use about one tablespoon of icing. And I have, the recipe has changed too because the moisture level of the cake has to change. Like we use less butter, probably half of the butter recipe calls for, and that will give me the consistency that I liked, that I don’t feel like it’s too gummy.

It’s not too sweet. I let the chocolate coating be a part of the sweetness for that. And it’s made things faster. I also don’t put my cake in the refrigerator because my cake pop dough is so sturdy. That I don’t have to refrigerate beforehand. I also don’t have to dip my stick and chocolate to put it in a cake pop, which saves a ton of time.

So things have changed and I, I still change them. I’ve changed how I store my candy. I’ve changed how I heat my chocolate things change over time, all the time. They’re still changing even 10 years later.

[00:18:46] David Crabill: Do you have a commercial mixer at this point?

[00:18:49] Jennie Gibson: No, I don’t have a commercial mixer, but I do have about four or five stand mixers.

[00:18:55] David Crabill: That’s phenomenal me. I mean, considering the size of orders you’ve done, I can’t believe you don’t have a commercial mixer yet.

[00:19:02] Jennie Gibson: Yeah, no, actually. So in Florida, unless they’ve recently changed it, we’re not allowed under the cottage food law to own commercial equipment. So no commercial stove, no stand, no commercial stand mixers. So I have to do it with what somebody uses at home

[00:19:17] David Crabill: I’d forgotten about that. But there are definitely some states that have that restriction.

[00:19:22] Jennie Gibson: Yeah. Not for Florida, Florida doesn’t allow that, which has made things a challenge. But as we learned, I like to face a challenge and I’m going to figure out a way to overcome it and we’re going to make it work.

[00:19:34] David Crabill: So what are the kinds of flavors of cake pops that you make and which ones are the most?

[00:19:40] Jennie Gibson: So I make the standard flavors of vanilla chocolate, red velvet strawberry. But over the years, I would say the last few years I’ve started adding on what I call gourmet flavors. And these are going to be things that have a different base and then maybe add ons. Like I have a. A white chocolate raspberry, where we add dehydrated raspberries to the dough and then white chocolate chips.

that’s a separate menu and they cost a little bit more, but people have a tendency to not be very adventurous or they’re trying to please the masses. So our most popular flavor is birthday cake, which is just a butter cake with sprinkles, even chocolates, less popular than a vanilla or a birthday cake, but my favorites to do, and my favorite is a strawberry champagne cake pop it’s delicious.

It’s got real dehydrated strawberries in it. We use champagne when we’re baking the cake and I changed that menu seasonally. So in the fall, you’ll see things like pumpkin added to it. And we add carrot around Easter. And this time of year strawberry champagne is added to that seasonal menu.

[00:20:44] David Crabill: Outside of the mixer. Are there certain tools that you use or that you think somebody who makes cake pops really needs to have on hand to do it well?

[00:20:55] Jennie Gibson: Yes, but they’re, they’re basic tools really the only tools you need to make a cake pop is the oven. And you don’t even need a stand mixer. You can mix this by hand. You could probably mix this with a hand mixer to grind up the cakes and things like that. But you just need a microwave, a container, a spoon.

I mean, if you really want to know what you’re doing and make it professional. I always recommend a thermometer. It helps me know what the around the temperature of my chocolate should be. So I don’t get bloom and I can avoid streaks and things like.

[00:21:26] David Crabill: Now, what kind of equipment do you have these days? Like you know, you do so many designs. Um, you do pretty much everything. Like, what is your kitchen look like? What is your, what are your storage areas look like?

[00:21:39] Jennie Gibson: First of all I have I call it my office, but it’s the cake pop room. So the kitchen only has about four stand mixers. We only bring in more when we have these gigantic orders, but my office has, I have hundreds of hundreds. I’m sure it’s thousands of molds at this point. fondant cutters.

have a sprinkle dresser. So if it’s a dresser with eight drawers that have tons of sprinkles and they’re organized by sanding sugar, non-pareils and holiday ones, I have so many sprinkles and sticks everywhere. Boxes of chocolate. I have so much. And then I have a whole nother storage closet where I keep equipment.

[00:22:19] David Crabill: How often are you buying new equipment or new molds?

[00:22:23] Jennie Gibson: I have an addiction to molds and sprinkles. So I buy them pretty frequently, not as much, not as frequently as I used to because I have a lot of what I need now. But as trends change as new things are going on, and that’s the hardest part of what I do is keeping up with the trends and staying relevant.

I might need to buy new things because the community, the baking community kind of sets these trends and when they start making things and they’re using a specific mold to make it, for example, hot cocoa bombs, we do those now. So that’s, that’s something new that we were that I had to buy, but as these things are happening, we’re trying to keep up with them so we can give our customers what they’re looking for.

And so I would say not as frequently as I used to, but at least every few months I have, I buy molds because I come up with ideas too, and I want to try them out.

[00:23:11] David Crabill: I did notice that you now do like hot cocoa bombs and you do a lot of other different types of things that are not cake pops. Can you describe a little bit about what else you offer?

[00:23:22] Jennie Gibson: So one of the most important things, and I think this is something that bakers don’t think of when they’re first starting out is that you really do have to limit yourself. And so while I have things on my menu, Chocolate covered strawberries and apples and Oreos and rice, crispy treats. These are things that don’t require baking and that I can dip in chocolate.

So these are things that I still can do in my office. And I have a mini fridge in my office where I keep things that need to be refrigerated, but it’s still in the same realm. Like I’m not baking cookies, I’m not making cupcakes because I don’t work with buttercream. That’s not something that I’m doing regularly.

And over time, I’ve kind of played with that menu a little bit. And this year I actually reduce that menu significantly. So I could concentrate a little bit more on teaching

[00:24:09] David Crabill: why wouldn’t you just like, at this point, just only do cake pops. I mean, you got the niche, you got plenty of business customers. Like, why wouldn’t you just hyper-focus on only doing that. Why do you offer all of these other things?

[00:24:24] Jennie Gibson: in the beginning when I added these things it was because I wanted to appeal to more people. So now that I’m at the place where I want to be in my business, that is one of the reasons why I’ve kind of brought it down to just cake pops and strawberries, and maybe one other thing. But in the beginning I wanted to do the whole dessert table.

People were wanting the rice Krispie treats and the Oreos, and I didn’t want them to go somewhere else. And sometimes they were going somewhere else because they wanted all these items, but they could only get cake pops from me. So they would get cake pops somewhere else and also all those items.

So I included all of these things that they were looking for. So they would pick me, but like I said, now, I’m where I want to be. And people come to me just for cake pops and they will get dessert somewhere else. Even if that other person sells cake pops, they’re coming to me for cake pops because of my skill level, because of what.

[00:25:16] David Crabill: What’s the process like when someone comes to you for a cake pop order are they almost always now looking for custom designs? Do you still do a lot of just basic cake pops? Uh, What does the ordering process typically look like?

[00:25:30] Jennie Gibson: So, this has taken many years of finessing right now. I have an, it took a little while, and this was one of the things that I’m really proud of, which is a weird thing to be proud of. But as a business owner, I’m proud of this is that I have an order form, and this order form. I had to build myself.

And it took a lot of. Tweaking here and there to get it perfectly, but it asks the questions that I need to know. I do custom orders. That’s what I do. I prefer to do a basic cake pop because actually make more money on that. Because even though they’re less expensive, I can do them a lot quicker, but I do a lot of custom orders.

And so somebody will submit to me in order form that I have, it’s connected to my website and they’ll give me all this information, including pictures. I allow them to upload pictures because I get inspiration from that. They’ll tell me what they’re looking for, what their color theme is, what their theme may be, how much their budget is.

And I will send them back a quote with the ideas that I have according to the theme of their party or what they’re looking for. And on this quote, there are multiple options. And I, I say the design. So this is the design of this cake pop. And this is how much this specific cake pop would be per cake pop.

And then they’re allowed to pick up to three designs. Per dozen and tell me what they want. So they’re creating their own budget. This allows them freedom to stay within the budget they want. And it also allows me to create multiple things and they know what to expect when they’re getting it. They’re not going to get something random that they weren’t expecting.

So they’re really, I’ve never had a complaint about what they thought they were going to get versus what they got, because I tell them what they’re getting straight from the beginning and they pick it.

[00:27:05] David Crabill: Yeah, I was impressed by your order form. And in particular, you use your order form to like weed out people who aren’t your right customer. Like you like actually like say, okay, if you’re looking for shipping, like you have to check the, yes, I understand you don’t ship box or I, yes. I understand you have a a hundred dollar minimum order box. And so I just thought that was really smart.

[00:27:28] Jennie Gibson: yes. that took at least a year or two to realize I have a personal assistant and she’s a virtual assistant. And so. I pay her to answer these. She replies to people. Yes, we have availability. Let me get that on the schedule for Jennie to provide a quote for you. And I was paying her and wasting too much time saying no to things.

We would go back and forth before the customer would tell me, oh, can you ship? Because sometimes they’re saying, can I deliver? And I’m like, absolutely we deliver. But what they really mean is can you ship? And then we don’t realize that until we’re well into it. So I’ve paid her all this time to respond to these people that aren’t going to order.

And it’s, it’s, it’s a waste of time when you’re really busy. So figuring out who your customer is and making sure that they understand your expectations is it’s, the form just works perfectly that way. And we’ve been able to weed out who’s serious and who’s not through those specific questions.

[00:28:23] David Crabill: Yeah, I was going to ask, I mean, we’ll get into a little bit later, like some of the humongous orders you’ve had, but like how you manage it all because, and you just mentioned you have a virtual assistant, like what you do is a lot. Right. And so when did you actually onboard that virtual assistant and what was the process like for uh, finding her and, getting to the point where it was actually taking work off your.

[00:28:46] Jennie Gibson: So a couple of years in, I was realizing I’m going to need help. I can’t keep up with all of this. And under the laws here in Florida, we can’t have, have somebody in our home, basically an employee in our home helping us bake. And so that wasn’t going to be possible. I mean, my husband’s a great employee, but I can’t have like somebody that I’ve hired outside of my home to come in and bake.

You need a store for that. And so one of my friends who actually put on cake pop con, they don’t do that anymore, but she sells cake pop stands, and she kept telling me, you need an assistant, you need a virtual assistant. And that was very scary. That’s a scary step to take because now I’m involving a person.

I don’t really know what I need her to do. I just know that I need her to help me. And also you want control It’s hard to figure out how to give up the control of this part of your business and how that might look for you. But I mean, if you think about it, that’s what we’re always doing. We’re always trying to find out, find ways To make our business better and having a virtual assistant was one of them. And so I just started Googling virtual assistants. How could I get one? At first, I was looking at locals who could help me, but I came across a website it’s called And there you can hire people professionals to help you with certain work.

And there’s a whole interview process and everything. Since then, I’ve hired friends of friends, even though they’re not local. They’re like friends of my previous assistants when they’ve had to move on. So I don’t really use that program anymore, but it was a scary process. I wasn’t quite sure what I needed.

I knew that I needed help answering a lot of these emails and weeding through these emails and just somebody who could help me build my business. I was looking for a professional who had experience in helping a small business, learn how to manage their small business. And so even though I call her my assistant, sometimes I feel like she’s my manager.

She keeps me on track. She helps me come up with new ideas and again, it was a scary process. It’s one that’s well worth it. And you kind of grow into it.

[00:30:47] David Crabill: And so what does your virtual assistant actually.

[00:30:51] Jennie Gibson: because of my order forms, and this is what’s forced me to get into making these forms and setting up a process for myself before then, I was overwhelmed with people who would just email requests to me. And I was so overwhelmed with the request that a lot of them were going unanswered. It was impossible to respond to them and by not responding to them, I was missing out on big clients.

Like I almost missed doing work for the Jaguars because I wasn’t able to respond to their email initially. And so. I hired an assistant who started responding to the emails. And I would tell her, this is what my availability is. This is what it’s looking like, let me know if it’s going to be a big order and I can let you know if we can do it.

But then over time we made the forms. And so basically what she does is we get an email that a form has come through and she looks at the form and she lets them know if we have availability or not. We’re so used to each other now that she kind of knows what I want to do and what I can do and what’s going on because we’ve worked for each other for, with each other.

For a few years, she answers the emails. She responds to them. She tells them what they need. She collects all this information from me, all the information for how to do the quote. And she puts it in one location. We have it on drive where she puts everything in a folder. And then she reminds me when I told them that I would have their quote ready for them.

And then she emails them the quote, and I have scripts where like, okay, you’re going to say this and you’re going to send them. Message. And it’s all set up like that. So all of that admin work is completely taken off my table, which is great because that is the worst part of owning a creative business is having to do the computer work is having to do the admin work.

And it actually frees up time for me to be able to take more orders, to make more money, to pay her, to do these things.

[00:32:26] David Crabill: Well, it certainly enabled you to take on some pretty sizeable orders. So can we talk about that a little bit? What are some of the biggest words you’ve had so far?

[00:32:35] Jennie Gibson: I would say the largest order that I had was 2000 cake pops. And that was for the Jacksonville Jaguars during the playoffs. I’ve I worked for them for a few years and their orders were always at least a thousand. They’ve been some big orders, 1500, 2000 here. And it was pretty regular work except for the off season of football.

And then they would do a little bit here and there because I started working for the stadium itself. Only was I working for the NFL specifically during football season, but I would work for the stadium who did events I’ve worked for all kinds of people. I’m, that’s something I’m really proud of.

I love working with corporations to make big orders and to make their vision come to life. Like I’ve worked with Citibank and the Jaguars and coach. And I worked for a company in DC actually that flies down every year. Cause I can not ship to pick up cake pops and fly back.

[00:33:27] David Crabill: Yeah, it’s crazy. I mean a thousand cake pops 2000 cake pops. I mean, it’s just mind boggling. How do you even start to process that size of an order out of a home kitchen?

[00:33:39] Jennie Gibson: A cake po p order like that can be absolutely overwhelming 2000, I mean, 2000 of anything. I mean, especially when you’re making them each singly, and you’re rolling them. Each thing it’s an overwhelming thought, but like everything in my life, I’ve broken it down into manageable pieces. And that’s how I tackle these big problems.

So we break it down into, well, how many there’s a lot of math involved, which is just funny because in college it was the worst subject. I don’t know how many times I had to retake these courses, but in my practical life, I use it all the time. So we break it down into. how many cakes we’re going to need per day?

How many cake pops we need to roll this day and how many need to be dipped and wrapped by that day in order to meet our deadline. And I’ve learned over time, you need to give yourself a couple of days cushion because things go wrong and they don’t always go to plan. That’s. One of the biggest things I’ve learned in my business is things never go to plan, give yourself cushion for those unexpected things.

[00:34:36] David Crabill: So how many cake pops could you make in a single day?

[00:34:40] Jennie Gibson: So the most we’ve done in a single day is 500. and those are basic cake pops. That is weighing and rolling all of them. Cause we weigh each cake pop. At this point, we kind of can feel what the weight is, but I’m very consistent. So weigh each cake pop, we roll it, put it on the stick, dip it, decorate it, bag it 500. And that took all day, all day long.

[00:35:04] David Crabill: 500. I mean, like, I just did the math on that. Like, if you did a cake pop a minute, you’d have to be working for over eight hours straight to produce over 500 cake

[00:35:16] Jennie Gibson: absolutely. Yeah. I mean, that’s one of the biggest things that I think a lot of people like friends and family don’t get about working for yourself. When you work for yourself, you work all the time. They think when you work for yourself, you have the freedom to do what you want when you want to do it.

And that you get to work less and you get to make more money, but that’s not how working for yourself works. It’s a lot of work. I worked more hours than I would in normal job. And sometimes for less pay than I would in a normal job. I mean, we’ve done 20 hour days. We’ve done 24 hour days. There were days where we’ve had two hours sleep in two days.

And when I say we I’m talking about my husband and me, because he helps me a lot, he actually does a lot of the baking.

[00:35:56] David Crabill: Well that’s insane. Um, um, So mean, I know that’s for a huge order, right. You know, you’re pumping hundreds of cake pops a day and I’m obviously it depends on the design and complexity, but what’s a normal. Week look like for you. I mean, how many orders do you typically have? And how much, time does that take per week to fulfill them all?

[00:36:20] Jennie Gibson: I don’t even know if there is a normal because we do custom work and the week is going to kind of depend on the complexity, like you said, of the work. Like if somebody is looking for some really detailed cake pops, that’s going to take a lot longer. So it can vary a normal week can vary between six to 10 orders from me.

And those orders can consist of other things like rice, crispy treats or Oreos or things like that that are dipped in chocolate as well. it’s not just the baking and the rolling and the actual preparing. It is also the answering emails, doing the quotes and things like that?

So I would say that, I mean, I definitely work more than 40 hours. I do keep a log of it. I’m just horrible about looking at it after I’ve kept the log, But I work, I would say 10 hour days on the weekends, it’s 12 to 16 hour days. And that’s just so I can have more time off during the week, like early in the week, like Mondays and Tuesdays.

[00:37:12] David Crabill: I mean, you must just be really passionate about what you’re doing to be able to put that much time into it. I mean, has it, it gotten old to you to. Produce these cake pops over and over and over again.

[00:37:26] Jennie Gibson: so we’re looking at 10 years this year, that we’ve been, that I’ve been doing this. And I keep saying we. My husband bakes, I always see him as part of the team. He’s, he’s a baker. But I am the one that actually solely dips and decorates the cake pops. And I enjoyed the creativity.

I’ve always been creative. I used to. Try to paint. I don’t think I’m any good at it. I can paint in chocolate. I’m not good with regular paint, but I do enjoy doing it. And it does become old over time. But the most important thing, and this is something, another part that I’ve learned is that you have to be able to know when, when to give yourself a break and when to slow down, or you can burn yourself out.

You can work so much that it does get old. It can get tiring. And I want to remember that I have joy in this and it’s something that I like to do. And so I try to pace myself and take the time that I need for myself and with my family. So I can keep coming back to it and keep enjoying.

[00:38:22] David Crabill: in terms of, you know, some of the large orders that you’ve had, how did you even get an order with the Jaguars? You know, like how did that even happen?

[00:38:33] Jennie Gibson: So they actually found me through my website and that is important because I, early on, I felt like, oh, I don’t need a website. I was just selling just with Facebook and my friend who told me that I needed a virtual assistant before telling me I need a virtual assistant, told me I needed a website. She’s helped me tremendously.

I call her my mentor really. But so my website kind of changed, not the amount of orders that I could take per week, but the quality of orders that I was getting it opened me up to corporate people who are looking at this site that looks perfect. That is professional. And then. Feeling like they can trust me.

And so that’s how they found me. They probably Googled cake pops in Jacksonville. And if you’re in Jacksonville, you’re, I’m right at the top. When you Google cake pops you’re going to be taken to my Facebook and my website. And that’s how they found me. They gave me a call and I just happened to answer the phone that day. Thankfully,

[00:39:27] David Crabill: well, it sounds almost like magic, right? Like, oh, you know, you set up a website or you, you post stuff on social media and eventually, you know, this huge, these huge orders will come to you. I, I’m guessing it’s probably a little bit more complex than that. Like were there things that you did earlier in the earlier years of the business to market yourself to get to the point where someone like the Jacksonville Jaguars could notice.

[00:39:53] Jennie Gibson: I want to believe that the most important thing that I did was be consistent and what I give my customers. And, I have a a standard for myself that I always meet and people see that standard. They see that quality. And so I was very consistent with my customers on what I provide.

What you see on my website, what you see on my Facebook? That’s actually what I create if I create something that looks bad, I’m going to redo it. and what we do, we reach a lot of people because our treats are shared with other people and those other people are going to see the quality of that work too.

And so you become your own spoke person through your work. And so when they’re coming to parties, you don’t know who’s coming to that party that you’re providing cake pops for. So this is a kid’s birthday party. Oh, the only one 12 cake pops. You don’t think it’s a big deal, but did you know that the owner of the Jaguars is friends with this person and they came and they saw your cake pops, and now they’re thinking, wow, this would be so great in our stadium.

So always presenting yourself at your best, even at things that you don’t think is important is really important in marketing, always being professional, giving your best is what I would say is the building blocks to reaching these big companies.

[00:41:01] David Crabill: Well, as you’ve had more and more success and obviously success begets success. I know you’ve done a lot of things. I mean, I even saw like your work showcased in some kind of target ad or something at one point, I mean, you’ve done a lot of stuff at this point. Like what about the pricing, right? Is that increased a lot? Like, are you priced really high on the premium end? And you know, if somebody comes to you with an order, what can they expect?

[00:41:26] Jennie Gibson: I would say yes. I would say that I am priced high on the more detailed work. I try to keep my basic cake pops consistent when it comes to pricing. This is always a touchy subject. When it comes to pricing, I don’t care what people around me are charging. I don’t care what my competitors are charging.

What I care. Is that I’m doing the work to make sure that I’m getting paid and that I’m getting paid for my time. And over the years, just like any job when you work this job and you have more experience, you can take that experience somewhere else and you can get paid more or you can stay within that company and you’ll be paid more for your experience.

I need to be paid for my experience and for my level of work. So over the time things have become, you know, more expensive with me. And I would say that I am probably the most expensive cake popper in my city. And if not, then I want to make sure that I am, because I think that my work and the quality of the level of that is consistent.

And so that’s something that I never struggled with the confidence and knowing my value. I mean, that’s not true. I would say in the beginning, that’s something you struggle with. But over the years, when you start to realize what you’re able to provide, you really have to have that confidence to say, I’m worth this and I’m going to charge this.

[00:42:35] David Crabill: Do you remember what your base cake prop price was when you started out and what your base cake pop price is now?

[00:42:43] Jennie Gibson: Yes, it’s actually kind of embarrassing. my first cake pops for the first year, where $1, And this happens a lot when, when you’re starting a business, first of all, because what we think that other businesses should charge is not, we’re not looking at what they’re paying for the supplies to make these things, nor do we know how, what goes into creating them.

And so we’ll look at something, and oh, it’s not worth that, but once you start doing it, you’re like, oh, it’s definitely worth it. But I thought, no, one’s going to pay more than a dollar for a cake pop. So I was selling cake pops for a dollar. what that was doing was actually making me overwork myself. Yeah.

I had a lot of customers because I was selling cake pops for $1, you know, they didn’t care what they look like and that’s a completely different customer base. They want to take advantage of getting all the cake pops. They can, they don’t really care about how great the quality is. My cake pops now just a basic cake pop starts at $3.50. That’s just a basic cake pop. I have cake pops that go up to $15 each,

[00:43:40] David Crabill: Wow. So you’ve had customers that pay $15 for a single cake.

[00:43:44] Jennie Gibson: Oh yes. Uh huh. Yup. $15 for, and they’ll get like a dozen of them when, when you are charging, what you should be when you value your time. And when you charge more, you’re reaching a different level of people that want your work. And so I actually deal with less problem clients than I did in the beginning because they value my work.

They understand. Why it costs what it costs. And there isn’t a lot of arguing people that don’t want to pay it. They just kind of disappear. I’m in the beginning, I was getting things like, are you, are you crazy? How could, how dare you? I will never forget this email. I still think about it. How dare you charge this much money for something I can do myself.

I’ve had those emails I can try to explain to this customer, well, you don’t quite understand if you know, what I want to say is if you could do it yourself, why are you coming to me in the first place? You know, and that’s not something you’re, it’s not professional. But I remember those emails. I don’t get those types of emails anymore, and it’s not just because of the quality of my work, but it is, it has to do with a different client base that I have now because of how much my cake pops are.

[00:44:48] David Crabill: We also have a minimum order amount of a hundred dollars. That’s quite high. So I’d imagine that turns away a lot of people as well.

[00:44:56] Jennie Gibson: That’s actually something that I enacted this year. Now, that’s something I should have been doing for years. years ago I did set a minimum order of $50 because it’s some, some orders, they’re not worth your time to turn on. And in the beginning, please take everything you can, you’re building your business.

You need to be taking orders. And I’m not saying taking them for less than you deserve. What I’m saying is, taking orders that may be only $30 because you’re building your business. But when I got to a certain point, I’m like $50 because it’s not worth it for me to do just one dozen basic cake pops.

So it was $50 for a long time. But this year I was like, that’s it, I’m done hundred dollar minimum. And that just allows me to weed out other customers. So. It’s been again, more time on teaching. I’m trying to teach and focus on that a lot more this year. So changes things. When you set a minimum for yourself,

[00:45:43] David Crabill: So in terms of the designs you’ve done, I mean obviously you have done extremely complex design. So what are some of the hardest cake pops you’ve done or some of your favorites.

[00:45:54] Jennie Gibson: my hardest and my favorites Are definitely two different going to be two different things. You know, the hardest cake pops for me or anything where you’re trying to create a likeness of somebody. Again, I don’t see myself as an artist. so I always feel like I’m not getting it exactly right.

When I’m trying to create a likeness of somebody I don’t like to do those cake pops. I will do them if I feel like I can, especially for friends and family, but they’re not something that I prefer. So like what I said about people, Pop’s making it look like a person is not something that I enjoy doing.

And I find those the hardest, because it’s important that you get the shape of the eyes, right. And how are you doing this in chocolate or even edible paint? That’s very difficult. My favorite cake pops are usually cake pops where I have freedom to create what I want, because then you can, you can do fun things.

Like I like to do things that are very colorful and very girly. I have one son and all of my, my family members are brothers. I need to express myself through girly things. So I, I prefer, you know, to make things with flowers and bright colors and things like.

[00:47:00] David Crabill: Are there any orders you’ve had, you know, not maybe the largest orders that you’re making a ton of basic cake pops, but like an order from a design perspective, that’s been particularly memorable.

[00:47:13] Jennie Gibson: I’m sure there are, there’s a lot. There’s been a lot of orders like that. I think making Jackson Deville, that’s the mascot for the Jacksonville Jaguars. That’s a very memorable design for me. I remember when they first asked me being overwhelmed with the idea of it, and it took a little bit of time to figure out how the hardest part is actually shaping the dough.

I’ve learned that I’m basically a sculptor now, and I’m really good at games where we have to use clay to shape things But Jackson Deville is the mascot for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Definitely my most memorable.

thing to create. And what’s really funny about that is I actually ended up doing cake pops for the wedding of, the person who plays Jackson Deville. And I made Jackson Deville cake pops for him and his wife.

[00:48:00] David Crabill: I’m sure you’ve done a ton of different, you know, amazing design sets. But one thing that I came across was this baby Q design that you made. And I was just so impressed by all that you put into that.

[00:48:14] Jennie Gibson: I get some really strange requests and that one was, so I was like, you want to what a baby cue? So it was a barbecue baby shower and they wanted things that look like things at a barbecue.

So I was doing potato chip bags and soda bottles and hamburgers. And I think I had to do shrimp. That was a difficult one to figure out because it’s curly. I’m like, how am I going to dip this cake pop without breaking in half? So I mean, those kinds of things always challenge me because it made me come up with new techniques.

It made me make my cake pop dough in a way that’s more sturdy. And it teaches you, even though it’s difficult in the end, it’s teaching you new techniques. That I’ve created that other people use now, because I’m, as we said before, I’m very open and I’m always very open about what I’m doing to create these things and I share those things with other people.

[00:49:05] David Crabill: So as you’ve built up your business and gain momentum your social media accounts have just taken off. I mean, you’ve got over 40,000 followers on Instagram at this point. Like what has been the trajectory of your social accounts and what have you done to gain that much attention?

[00:49:22] Jennie Gibson: So my social media accounts Specifically Instagram. I focus a lot on that. The key to those is consistency that’s something that becomes a job in and of itself when you’re trying to produce orders for people. Because now you’re taking pictures, you’re editing, you’re posting and you have to do it pretty frequently as the algorithms changed over time.

I would say it kind of exploded around the time of Periscope. So before you were able to go live on Instagram and Facebook, there was something called Periscope and it was an app and you downloaded it and you could just go live wherever you were and share what you were doing. And I am very open and I wanted to share with other people how I was working.

And so I just set a camera up in my office and I just started recording or not recording. I was going live and showing people how I was working. I’m talking about late night sessions. They were with me at two or three in the morning watching me. Like, I think at the time I was making 500 cake pops for a a company in Seattle who was doing some business here and they’re just watching me dip basic cake pops and it blew up.

I think I was number one in the spot for that week on Periscope, which got me like 12,000 followers over. It was practically overnight, within a day and a half. And I always share what my Instagram information was. And so those followers started to transition to Instagram for me as Well, if you’re consistent with your social media and I’m not as consistent as I used to be, but if you’re consistent with your social media, you’ll get followers regularly. And one of the things they like to see is how you did something, how you made it.

[00:50:49] David Crabill: Well, You definitely done quite a bit of teaching at this point. Obviously I’ve massive amount of experience and I guess you started on Periscope, you started on social media. Where has your teaching gone from there? I, I, I know you’re charging for it now.

[00:51:03] Jennie Gibson: Yes. Um, Early on my husband was like, you know, you should teach how to do this. And um, times have changed so much in the past 10 years. You don’t think it’s not much time, but it has. I mean, early on, we were like, Hey, maybe we can make DVDs with teaching in it. Of course. Now there are all these other options for us But early on, I knew I pretty much wanted to teach. I enjoy working with people and I really enjoyed teaching. And when I would work at other jobs, I was always the person who was training because I’m just good at relaying the information in a way that helps people understand it. And, you know, because of Periscope, I was able to dip my toe in the water and figure out how I would communicate these things to people.

And I realized it was something that I had a good knack for. so I taught a class at Cake Pop Con. That was really my second in-person teaching. And then I just kind of continued with Periscope here and there. I thought about teaching and Facebook groups, but I just never pursued it but a couple of years ago now. I’ve taught a few classes and I teach them in Facebook groups live where I answer questions after I’m done. And it’s actually progressing into probably including prerecorded things in the group as well.

[00:52:14] David Crabill: How much are you charging for our class? And what does that class look like?

[00:52:19] Jennie Gibson: the classes that I have out right now is called back to basics. It’s a cake pop class, and it’s a class that, again, I taught two years ago, I think it’s been two years now. And you can still watch it in the Facebook group. It’s not live, but I do answer questions. When I have new students in the class after they’ve watched it, that’s only $55.

And I’m saying only because the information I give in there is so much more detailed than other classes that you can take. like I’ve seen hour long cake pop classes, but this one is, I’m telling you why the chocolate is doing this and how you can fix it why your dough looks like this. And what happens when it goes wrong. And what it might look like when it goes wrong? The class is three hours long, but I have a guide in there that tells you what times you can see specific things. I have other classes like how to sculpt because that’s a question that I get often. How do you shape the cake pops to look a specific way?

And so I have a sculpting class that’s $45, but this year I’m working on a class I’m about to take those classes completely off because I’m working on a class where I combine them all, and it’s called mastering cake pops. And then this class you’re going to learn the basics. The cake pops how to shape cake pops, and also how to run a business.

And so even if you don’t use cake pops, that portion is going to be a good portion. Like how I built my forms, how I’m charging, how did you pricing correctly

[00:53:40] David Crabill: And you said that this is something you’re working on this year?

[00:53:43] Jennie Gibson: Yeah, that’s something I’m working on this year. My goal right now is to have it out in April. I haven’t settled on a price yet. So as I’m building the outline for the class and I’m figuring out how much time it’s going to take and what I’m actually providing, I’ll know a little bit more, but my other classes, those other two classes will come down.

when I have a set date for this new class, but that class is going to be um, it’s a masterclass, it’s a big course class. And it’s going to start at least between $149 to $199 for that class.

[00:54:14] David Crabill: Well, you know, you have this class and you also run Facebook groups in addition to having your own like Facebook page for your business, You’ve been on the podcast before on episode 50, because you actually run a couple Facebook groups, one for Florida, and one is a cake pop group. I mean, that also is like a ton of time. Like, how do you manage to run these groups in addition to your business?

[00:54:40] Jennie Gibson: With a lot of therapy. No, I’m kidding. But running Facebook groups is so much work and I don’t know how I find all the time to do these things. A good support admins is the key to running a good Facebook group. The Florida cottage food law group was a group that, I mean, a few of my friends created to help other people learn how to legally sell your baked goods and Florida.

And that group, all the admins are gone now. It’s just me. And the other group, like that was not my group. That was a group I asked to help admin, but the original admins are also not in it. But that group is really, it really consists of people sharing their work and asking questions, technical questions of how do their cake pops.

[00:55:21] David Crabill: Well, considering how much time it takes to run a Facebook group. And I know it takes a lot. I mean, some people have businesses just based around their Facebook groups. Right. It would be very easy for you just to step away and say, you know what? I don’t have the time for this. Why, why do you keep going with.

[00:55:37] Jennie Gibson: really enjoy helping people. It’s, kind of a passion for me, which is why teaching is also a passion for me. I want to help other people build their businesses. When I started, there was nobody sharing information about how to do cake pops. I don’t know why they didn’t want to share this information.

They just didn’t want to share like how, how you do these things. And I was searching and searching for groups on Facebook to help me. I couldn’t find any information anywhere other than baker, Ella who sold the books. And So I found one Facebook group and that group helped me tremendously. And the friends that I made in that group helped me tremendously.

And we learned, and we grew together. And so that community is absolutely necessary for a person starting out to be successful. And I want to continue to foster that kind of community. And I want to help create a space for that. And so if helping run it, a group creates a space for other people can come together as a community and learn new techniques and learn how to run their businesses better and make their lives better, then that’s something that I want to be.

[00:56:39] David Crabill: So are you really trying to lean into the teaching side of things more than maybe just making hundreds of cake pops a day out of your kitchen? I mean, where is the future of your business?

[00:56:51] Jennie Gibson: this year, I really focused in hard on after promising myself for years, that I was going to focus on teaching more. And it’s very difficult to do. Teaching is not like I turned on my phone and here I am teaching this class and now it’s done. It takes months of preparation and marketing and keeping up with their social media so people can remember you and you can be relevant.

And I can’t do all that. And also do the amount of orders that I do because I do a lot of work. I make hundreds of cake pops a week. I mean, some orders can just be a couple hundred, so I just can’t do all that and teach. So this year I scaled back what I’m doing for customers. And so that’s when I put up that minimum to help weed out some of my orders I’m taking less orders.

I’m focusing more on doing holiday specials. Like right now, my focus is Valentine’s day. And that money that I earned from that helps carry me through the month more so I can do less custom orders and then I can focus more on teaching. And that is the goal this year. Cause that’s really Where my passion is at and where it has always been.

You know, I, I don’t see myself ever stopping making cake pops. That’s, it’s just part of a passion for me. It’s my creative outlet, but I would really like to do it for fun.

And for this is the design that I came up with and I want you all to recreate it. And so while I know that I’ll always be serving my community because I really enjoy being part of my community and I will always provide cake pops, at least for holiday specials, I would like to focus less on custom orders and only be teaching and helping other people build their businesses

[00:58:22] David Crabill: Well, you just said that you don’t ever see yourself stopping making cake pops And earlier in the episode, you revealed that at one point, you said, I’ll never make a cake pop again. So you’ve definitely come a long ways. It’s cool to see the kind of progression it’s taken you and you know, the surprising path that’s maybe taken you, but certainly your business is just super inspirational and a phenomenal success.

So thank you very much for sharing with us. Now, if people want to find you or reach out to you um, how could they contact you?

[00:58:54] Jennie Gibson: the easiest way to reach me is on my Instagram. You can see all my work there and you can message me there. And that is @the_cakepop_shop. You can also find me on Facebook @TheCakePopShopJax. And customers, which are probably not listening to your podcast, you can find me at, but you can also get information from my classes on my website as well.

[00:59:18] David Crabill: Perfect. Well, thank you very much for coming on the show and sharing with us today.

[00:59:23] Jennie Gibson: Thank you.

[00:59:25] David Crabill: That wraps up another episode of the Forrager podcast.

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And finally, if you’re thinking about selling your own homemade food, check out my free mini course, where I walk you through the steps you need to take to get a cottage food business off the ground to get the course, go to

Thanks for listening. And I’ll see you in the next episode.

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