An Interview with... Michelle Green
If you are serious about the BUSINESS of making cakes, you NEED to know Michelle Green.
With 13 years of industry experience, including Pastry school, running her own Cake Business (and all while raising TRIPLETS!), she KNOWS her stuff.
She is also my friend and Mentor, and the awesomest Cake Yoda in the biz.
I pinned her down before she starts her Business of Baking Tour (with Cake legend Sharon Wee), and asked her, what's one thing you wish people knew about Caking?
"As a craft, caking is enormously rewarding but can also be enormously heartbreaking - so we all need to remember that it's just cake! Important, fun, exciting...but still cake. As a business, I wish people understood that you can't rely on your skills as a creator to keep your business going, so while you're investing in tools you should also be investing in business education."
I can personally vouch for the importance of Business education! Are you only about the business of Cake, or can Cookie creators come to you too?
"My business is called the Business of Baking, and I teach business skills to anyone who is wanting to make a living out of their sweet food skills - the bakers, decorators, cookie makers and cake poppers!"
You actually had your own custom Cake business for 10 years (luckily for me you decided to teach the business side of baking or we probably wouldn't be here!) How did you get started in cakes?
"I started in this industry 13 years ago - originally I trained as a pastry chef, even though I knew decorated cakes was the direction I wanted to go in. At that time the options for cake decorator training was very limited, so I learned what I could from books and sometimes a class. These days you don't need to go the route of formal training at culinary school but I have zero regrets - it was some of the best times I've ever had, and the challenges were exhilarating (and okay a little exhausting!)."
Thank goodness there's so many options available to learn Cake Decorating now! Did you end up finding your groove in decorated cakes?
"I was very well known for kids' cakes, and cakes that were a little different or off the wall - if we did wedding cakes, rarely were they very traditional. The funny thing is that I never intended to do that, originally my big dream was to become a high end wedding cake maker! I had visions of me delivering white, piped, huge multi-tier creations to all of the world's famous people. Seriously I had this huge vision of being very haute couture, which is ridiculous when you consider that my idea of "couture" is wearing jeans which have been recently washed. I started out really pursuing that market then realised it wasn't my thing at all. I found that style of cake beautiful but I didn't like making them. I struggled to market myself to that crowd too as it's so far out of my comfort zone. Plus the stress and pressure of it all was not my thing. Once I realised I both excelled at the fun stuff / kids stuff and I liked it much more, it was not at all difficult to leap over into that market."
What's been your favourite parts of your work?
"As a cake maker, I love to pipe and I love that final moment when you realise that no, it does not need one more flower or star, it's well and truly a finished masterpiece. As a cake business owner, my favourite part was the people I worked for and with, I loved hearing their stories and being a part of their lives. As a writer and mentor, my favourite part is still the people. I'm really honoured that people share their lives and stories with me, that they trust my advice, and that I get to be a part of improving our industry."
For my part, I'm grateful for the help, and advice you have given me. You really KNOW what its like to face the challenges that people that come to you face. What's something we don't know about YOU?
"This is a hard one to answer since I'm such an open book about things - most people who read my blog already know most of my quirks and traits! Maybe the most surprising thing about me is how emotional I am. I am a total crier - I really feel so strongly about people, stories, events. I am sure I come across as confident and "out there" and while that is true, it does not mean I won't cry while teaching a class (this happens a lot), or cry because I'm overwhelmed (with joy sometimes!). I've been known to cry while watching commercials, reading books or in movies - sometimes even a song will make me cry. Yep, total waterworks here."
Thank you so much for speaking with us Michelle! Any parting words of wisdom?
"Honestly, there is much more to me - and to baking, and to the business of that baking - that can ever be adequately expressed in an interview. Rather than come up with one big takeaway, instead I'll share my life philosophy with you, which has served me well in previous, current and I'm sure future businesses:
Love your clients.
Love your craft.
(and do it all with gratitude.)"
Michelle Green ladies and gentlemen! If baking is your business, you NEED The Business of Baking! Reach out to Michelle through her links below!
The Business of Baking