HIGHLIGHTING KARINA FERRAGE
Karina Ferrage of Orlando, Florida has always had a passion for baking cakes. Recently baking has become full-time for Karina, amidst a lay-off from her job. Trying to think of a way to stand out in a sea of sameness, Karina posted a picture on Instagram of her incredibly realistic flower bouquets and instantly gained over 1,000 followers. Now, she is making her custom cakes for all occasions one "floral bouquet" at a time.
H&F; Please describe your career prior to this venture.
Karina: Most of my career was spent working for Disney. In 2016 I started dabbling in baking and taught myself how to decorate cakes. I shared my work on social media which led people to start asking for cakes. In 2017 I decided to leave Disney and pursue baking as a full-time job, but the timing wasn't right so I eventually went back to office work. Then in 2020, I was laid off due to the pandemic and, after months of unsuccessfully applying to jobs, I rediscovered my passion for baking and cake decorating, which led me to this point where I felt like it was the perfect time to rededicate myself to turn it into a business.
H&F: How has your career prepared you for what is next?
Karina: I've always worked in customer service roles and having that experience when starting your own business is invaluable. It helps you understand people a little better and treat everyone with kindness and respect.
H&F: Tell us about how you have redefined yourself. Describe your project, business, brand and/or platform.
Karina: Cake decorating can take many forms, but I've always been passionate about beautiful, floral cakes. It took me a while to figure out how to best position my business and make it stand out from the countless incredibly talented bakers we're lucky to have in Orlando. Everything fell into place when I saw a photo of a cupcake bouquet on Instagram and decided to give it a shot. Once I posted my first bouquet on Instagram, I received a huge response from my followers which told me that that was a niche I should explore. Now my business is mostly focused on cupcake bouquets and floral cakes.
H&F: When/how did you get that light bulb moment to start this brand?
Karina: There wasn't one "light bulb moment" per se, but rather several light bulb moments that culminated in me seeing a photo of another baker's cupcake bouquet on Instagram. By the time I saw the photo I had already been looking for a niche that wasn't oversaturated in Central Florida for a long time, so I was ready to seize the opportunity when it presented itself to me.
H&F: Tell us something unique about your brand.
Karina: I think the most unique thing about my brand is that it strives to make beautiful confections without sacrificing taste. Everything is made from scratch and to order and I don't use any ingredients that I myself wouldn't eat or feed to my loved ones.
"I think the most unique thing about my brand is that it strives to make beautiful confections without sacrificing taste." - Karina
H&F: Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
Karina: I draw most of my inspiration from nature, especially when creating new color palettes. I also am continuously inspired by other cake artists.
H&F: What encouraging advice would you offer someone unsure about starting their own venture?
Karina: If you have an idea that you can't stop thinking about, you owe it to yourself to at least explore the possibility of turning it into a business. It's much more preferable
to try it and realize that it's not your thing than to spend your whole life wondering "what if."
H&F: Anything else you want to share?
Karina: Make use of all the resources available to you. There are lots of free/affordable websites and services that aim to help small businesses, including SCORE and social media business promoters.
Thanks for Reading! If you'd like to submit to be an Innovator or know someone that should, click here and complete a submission form.
For more inspiring Innovator stories by H&F Redefined, visit our blog, and learn how furloughed and laid-off professionals from around the world are redefining themselves. We also offer Lifestyle content, Seasonal Solutions, and Industry Insights.