V E N D O R S P O T L I G H T
We are beyond excited to be featuring one of our all-inclusive vendors, Zell's Cottage Bakery, on our Blog today! We are always enamored by their stunning, artistry cakes & cookies, and we are so happy to recommend them to all of our clients! We reached out to the owner, Jennifer Watts, to see if she would share some of their backstory, and it is definitely one of our favorites by far! Continue reading to see their story as well as more photos of these gorgeous (and DELICIOUS) sweets!
"My love for baking started at an early age, as soon as I could drag a chair over to 'help' my mom in the kitchen... Measuring and pouring, piping, and eventually learning to make buttercream roses. However, it wasn't until my children were born that I started creating edible art. What began as just birthday cakes for my boys quickly became cakes for friends, and soon their friends. And before long, I was a hobby baker wanting to go pro. That was the birth of "Sweet Dreams Cakery." Though cute and sweet, the name didn't quite feel right. After a few years hiatus, I decided to rebrand and refocus my little business. I wanted my bakery to reflect who I am as a cake artist; my style, my family, my vision. And in April 2016, Zell's Cottage Bakery was created. I wanted emphasis on my roots; where it all began. I pride myself on being a third generation baker, learning from two of the most amazing women in my life. Baking was in my blood and I needed to share that with the world.
We obtained all required certifications, filed for LLC, got our insurance, and received our Cottage Food license to officially start production from my home kitchen in Loganville. While in Gwinnett, we were awarded titles of "Best Boutique Bakery in Gwinnett 2016" and "Best Bakery in Gwinnett 2017." As a part time baker, it was such an honor. In 2017, we moved to Gainesville and relocated Zell's Cottage Bakery. Scared to start over in a new city, we were given such a warm welcome by the entire community. I'll never forget meeting fellow bakers at a bridal expo and received so much encouragement and support. I knew this is where Zell's was meant to be! After the birth of my daughter in July 2018, I finally took the plunge and ventured into baking full time. In January 2019, I had 2 weddings and an army retirement cake on my calendar for the entire year. I was devastated and unsure how bills were going to get paid. I spent weeks brainstorming ideas, reaching out to venues and working on social media marketing. By Valentine's Day, the calendar was quickly filling, and it didn't slow down. By May, we were completely booked with the remainder of the year following suit.
In August 2019, I was invited to participate in my first cake competition. It was such an exciting and terrifying time. I had no idea what to expect but was ready to give it a shot. When I walked into the ballroom at Maggiano's Buckhead that Monday afternoon, I immediately felt defeated. The incredibly talented other competitors had amazing table displays, towering cakes with intricate detail and sculpted novelty cakes. I had spent the previous 2 days creating 2 display cakes and 100 cake samples for the competition and regretted not giving myself more time for it. The deliberations were over and it was time for awards. Much to my surprise, I won 3rd place in the novelty category, 2nd place in the wedding cake category and 1st place in the tasting category. I was elated! But to hear my name called as the GRAND PRIZE winner of Cake Clash 2019 was truly the most exciting moment of my cake career. I was named BEST BAKER IN GEORGIA!!! It was an absolutely incredible experience from start to finish and made some great friends and colleagues in the process. It was an honor to compete with some of Georgia's best bakers.
I have been faced with many hardships, challenges, and obstacles that have pushed me farther and have made me stronger and more passionate than ever. It has been a very long journey, but worth every bit of sacrifice, blood, sweat, and lots of tears.
What Makes Zell's Different?
When I bake for others, my favorite reactions are those of pure shock and disbelief that my creations are edible. The looks on their faces when they bite into my confections for the first time. That's what keeps me going. Every cake/cookie is a new feat and I pride myself on making my customer's days extraordinary. I've been told that I feed the heart and soul from my kitchen. I have spent countless years perfecting my recipes and broadening my menu. I pride myself on making everything from scratch using premium ingredients and sourcing fresh, local produce. Zell's has grown tremendously because our clients can taste a difference. While we do offer traditional flavors, we also feature some very unique ones as well. Each year we partner with our favorite local brewery, Left Nut Brewing, and host a "Cupcake & Beer Pairing." It's times like this when my creativity sparks! The awesome team at LNB allows me to sample their current brews and create a flight of cupcakes complimentary to a flight of beer. In past years, we've created buttered popcorn cupcakes, s'mores cupcakes, nerds cupcakes, grapefruit cupcakes, smoked toffee cupcakes, chocolate red wine raspberry cupcakes, and even blue cheese fig cupcakes! This year we sold out of 500 cupcakes in 2 hours at the event! It was remarkable!
I sincerely thank the two most influential women of my life, my mom, Phyllis, and my grandma, Zell, for their inspirations and building the foundation of my Southern Roots and the true inspiration behind Zell's Cottage."
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