Orlandough Cakes and the future

Hey everyone, Liz here!

I want to start utilizing the blogging capabilities of Orlandough.com to communicate with you. And now is a great time to start because I have some news: Becky, who has been running the Orlandough Cakes side of the business, will be stepping down effective basically now. She has rebranded her instagram account to @tbexbakes and will post her baking there which she will continue as a hobby, for now (see her latest post). For now, I will fulfill current orders we have on the books after tomorrow, 3/15.

Being myself the type of person who wants all the tea, I’m here to tell you that unfortunately for those of you who live off intrigue, there is no drama here. We didn’t have some painful parting, no one screwed anyone over, and we don’t hate each other, in fact I’d say we’re pretty good friends and maybe will even be better ones now that we don’t have to deal with the stress of the business together. It was weirdly mutual in the sense that Becky wanted to take a break from baking for pay while I wanted full autonomy over the business again to navigate some difficulties I’m currently dealing with. Sorry we aren’t more dramatic.

So where does this leave Orlandough cakes? Well, that’s a question with a longer answer than you might be interested in reading. Short answer: I’ll be handling all the current orders we have. The cake order form was taken offline for now as I sort out some things.

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Long answer:

I love baking, all kinds, and I love this business I’ve built, and would love to continue growing what we offer. Very recently I’ve come to recognize that I need to step back and make sure I’m moving the business forward in the direction I want to take it. In the social media age, even business owners are subject to the outside influence of the success we see daily on instagram. They’re doing it, shouldn’t Orlandough?

Orlandough has been in business for over 2 years and is currently my only source of income. I believe I accomplished this by growing it slowly and keeping my expenses down as much as possible, mainly by remaining a cottage business. There is a good amount of pressure to take a successful cottage business and turn it into a brick and mortar—generally, this is a compliment that people believe in my business to make this transition. However, the reality of it is not simple for someone like me who built a business from the ground up and has no financial backers beyond my lovely customers.

I did look at some retail spaces last year and ballpark estimates to transform them came in around $150,000 for build out, plus rent while the construction went on (between $3000-$5000 per month for what I was shown), plus impact fees which were generally around $20,000-$30,000. The spaces I saw and the accompanying numbers to transform them were too big, unless someone has a quarter million dollars lying around they’d like to give me. Do I think revenue from Orlandough could support a brick and mortar once it’s up and running? I have no doubt. Am I in a rush to enter into a 5-year lease on a space that isn’t ideal for the business? Nope. Did I think it would be easier than it turned out to be? OH BOY DID I. If you’re not up on the commercial real estate market in Orlando right now, it’s sort of a terrible time for a business to find a small space (under 1000 square feet). It’s an even worse time to get a second generation space to avoid some of those impact fees and build out costs. And as a young, untested concept, some landlords just flat out say no to Orlandough and instead opt for businesses with better records and more money backing them. Which is understandable but it was an unanticipated road block.

Almost exactly one year ago today I quit my office job to run Orlandough full time. It was less a leap of faith and more a hop of faith. But looking back on the past year, the business has grown, the customers have multiplied, and more businesses in the community are supporting me in my pursuit. It’s been a great year. It’s also been a SUPER stressful year. And a source of the stress has been expectations I have put on myself. So I’m taking this anniversary to reconsider what will make me happy going forward with Orlandough.

But also: Don’t worry, regular events are still scheduled and donuts will continue as per usual. Speaking of which, check out our calendar for upcoming pop ups which we will be adding today.

Elizabeth Doerr