I had a lovely lunch with the owner of “You Betcha! Cupcakes.” Typically it’s hard to find someone who stays as busy as I do, but when Julie Herrera-Lemler started talking about her schedule, my head spun. Not only does she have a full-time job at a construction company, but she sits on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota Bakers Association, and she is the V.P of the Nation Association of Women in Construction as well as serving on several subcommittees. On top of all of that, she runs her cupcake company, raises 2 children, and tries to eat dinner with her husband every night. This list of duties has been prioritized from a larger list of commitments when she realized she was over-committed (yes, she used to sit on more committees).
From one over-committed woman to another, I asked how she narrowed her list down. Once she realized she was not taking as many baking jobs as she wanted because she was volunteering too much, she knew she had to make some changes. She told me she prioritized her passions and what made her happiest. She has a Sunday night check-in with her husband to go over schedules and plan what is most important in their week. Thankfully she has a husband who is a great cook and participates in the raising the children.
On a typical day she wakes up with her husband at 3:00 a.m. to see him off to work, gets some work done at home, and sends her son off to school on the bus. She will then go to her full-time job. She will eat dinner with the family and then proceeds to go to meetings or fill cupcake orders.
She never really anticipated going into business for herself as a baker. She saw a fundraising opportunity through the Food Network on the Great American Bake Sale, so when her neighbors held a neighborhood garage sale, she set up a bake sale to raise money for charity. Everyone who came to her stand asked if she owned a business and kept asking for business cards. She sold out.
The next year she did the same thing and made three times as many cupcakes. Even though it started to rain and she brought everything inside, people found her and kept knocking on the door for her cupcakes. One family finally convinced her to bake for their child’s birthday party. After that people kept asking her to do more and more baking for them.
She finally took the plunge. She took a 6-week course through Community Ed. that teaches people how to start a business, took food certification classes, and figured out how to get insurance. She then sought out a commercial kitchen to rent and got to work taking orders.
It was a slow start as she was meticulous in making sure she had all of the correct food certifications, and she slowly purchased equipment so she didn’t need to take out any loans. She figured she would try it out for a year and see how it went. It was a little slow until the second year when she put more time and energy into marketing. Her eldest son is a marketing major and helped get the advertising going.
She has now been in business for 6 years. She celebrated her 5-year anniversary at Cambria with a community party.
I highly recommend calling Julie for your next event. The cupcakes look amazing, but in my opinion, more importantly she has a good heart, embraces diversity, and is a phenomenal woman. I would give her my business for sure. You can contact her here.