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May 26, 2012

Shop Talk: Apron Springs Cupcakery

Apron Strings Cupcakery Chestnut Street, Oneonta Owners: Heather Ellis and Erika Heller Established: 2012

Daily Star

---- — Apron Strings Cupcakery

Chestnut Street, Oneonta

Owners: Heather Ellis and Erika Heller

Established: 2012

Shop Talk is a weekly column featuring locally owned and operated businesses. This week, co-owners of Apron Strings Cupcakery Heather Ellis and Erika Heller answered our questions together via email.

How long have you lived in the area?

Heather was born and raised here. Erika moved to the area before high school, in the late 1990s.

Tell me about your business:

After separately making cupcakes for other events, both of us realized we had a talent and interest in baking. We are both stay-at-home moms, so having a business from home has enabled us to spend time with our children and make a little bit of extra money doing something that we love. Anyone can purchase a boxed cake mix or a mass-produced cupcake from a grocery store; we focus on quality cupcakes made from scratch. It is our belief that homemade is always better.

Describe a typical day in your business:

Baking is a challenge. Baking with three young children nearby is a monumental task, not for the faint of heart. It is a careful balance of measuring, mixing, filling, baking, frosting, soothing boo-boos, refereeing toy fights, cleaning spilled milk and serving lunches _ all on a timer! The clock is always ticking ...

How did you get started in this line of work?

We were encouraged by family and friends who had tasted our treats to pursue our passion for baking and creating quality products made with love.

We were already friends, and realized that going into this business together would be fun and would give us greater results than attempting a business alone.

Where do you see this business in five years?

Though we don't really want to have a storefront, we would love to be able to sell to local businesses and peddle our goods at the Farmers' Market. We aren't in this to offer the customer an "average" cupcake. We want to be refreshing and original with our creations. We're always coming up with new items for our menu. We post monthly specials and regular updates on our Facebook page.

Describe a memorable moment in your workplace:

The day Erika's ancient oven toasted, charred and scorched four different batches of red velvet cupcakes _ and the order was due in just a few hours.

This is when we decided Heather's oven would be our only means for baking.

What have you learned from your work?

It's OK to cry over cupcakes.

What is the most challenging part of what you do?

Time is a precious thing not to be wasted. With three kids, one oven and multiple orders, planning is everything! But, plans don't always follow through as desired, as any parent can tell you. It can be very laborious, but we want our customers to receive the best, even if that means starting over. Again.

The most enjoyable?

When the timer goes off, the toothpick comes out clean, the frosting is applied, the boxes are sealed, and the kids are napping. Delicious cupcakes, happy customer, happy baby ... happy mommy.

How do you define success for your business?

Success for us is a satisfied customer. We love to see people post comments like, "Those cupcakes were AMAZING!" We know they really mean it, and it feels great.

What are some advantages as well as drawbacks of doing business in this area?

Friends and family have been so supportive of our cupcakery endeavor. Their encouragement is what motivates us to continue. Advantages of this area are that it is a small community and word spreads quickly. We are surrounded by our home base and biggest fans. A big thanks to all of those who have helped us launch our business.

For information on Shop Talk, call The Daily Star at 432-1000, ext. 217.