What’s The Story?
Sugarplum Studio is the sugar baby of South Jersey pastry chef Sharon O’Connor Spatucci. Sharon has spent the past fifteen years covered in flour and sugar and is rarely seen without clogs on her feet, food dye on her hands, and her hair in a bun. She has lovingly spent countless hours transforming simple ingredients into edible masterpieces to the delight of her family, friends, and anyone else who’s tasted her works of art.
Although working professionally as a pastry chef has been great over the years, it doesn’t quite match the joy Sharon experiences when she is able to see her own creations through other people’s eyes. Hearing a child exclaim, “I love it!” or a bride express “The cake was exactly as I envisioned!” provides happiness that only a pastry chef would understand.
Cake decorating has become an attainable hobby for the home baker, so Sharon is often asked for advice and assistance. One of the best ways Sharon has been able to expand upon her career skills is through teaching. She has conducted many workshops, parties, and private instruction sessions – from basic decorating for cakes and cookies, to building gingerbread houses, to more advanced techniques using rolled fondant and gum paste. Cake decorating can be a daunting activity for beginners to take on, but Sharon has always reassured her students that their skills will come with practice. Yet when it comes to the creative element, she teaches that there is no right or wrong in art – even when the medium is buttercream.
With that in mind, Sharon has dreamed of a place where both children and adults could go to learn and have fun. The idea of Sugarplum Studio was born.
What is Sugarplum Studio?
Sugarplum Studio will be an edible art studio where both children and adults can visit to custom decorate cakes, cupcakes, and cookies and express their creativity in edible form. You’ve seen “paint your own pottery” and “create your own canvas” – why not “decorate your own cake”? Sugarplum Studio will provide all of the materials, tools, and step-by-step instructions from professional pastry chefs. You bring your creativity, take home your masterpiece, and leave the mess behind!
The Studio will be able to host parties, play dates, ladies nights out, scout troops, class trips – any occasion where a fun activity is in order.
No party, no problem! The Studio will have Open Studio hours where you can come in and complete a themed, self-guided, edible decorating project. It’s the perfect diversion for kids, bored teenagers, or moms who just need to get out of the house for an hour. Plus, you get to eat your art!
Additionally, Sugarplum Studio will offer the custom-designed cakes, cookies, cupcakes, and desserts that Sharon has become known for. The facility will also have a pastry case where delicious gourmet cakes and desserts will be available for purchase.
Where do you come in?
Well, if Sharon had a dollar for every single time someone told her that she should have her own place to do this, there would be absolutely no need for a crowdfunding campaign! But unfortunately, New Jersey does not have a Cottage Food Law, so a studio like this requires a commercial kitchen to even get started. Commercial kitchens require lots of equipment, lots of insurance, and lots of expenses. For a pastry chef who just wants to spread a little sugar love, that’s a lot to take on. A little help from you would bring Sugarplum Studio to life.
Sharon has incorporated as an LLC, found the perfect space for the studio, and is working to raise the dough to make this happen. For the majority of the expenses, Sharon will secure a small business loan. Since it can be difficult for startups to borrow funding capital when they have no equity (especially in the food service industry), Sharon needs to raise some capital to get in the door first. Every single dollar of your donation will go toward getting Sugarplum Studio started with licenses, permits, inspections, signage, equipment, and additional expenses.
How much money are we talking about?
Sharon is estimating that she’ll need $65,000 to open Sugarplum Studio. This includes leasing the space, completing renovations to get it up to health department codes, purchasing a commercial mixer, commercial oven, and additional equipment necessary to get started. Food service operations are all or nothing propositions and she can’t open without being fully funded. Most SBA micro loans will lend up to $50,000 and require some kind of collateral. By raising $25,000, Sharon will be in a position to secure other financing options beyond the SBA.
What’s in it for you?
Okay, Sharon understands that sometimes “thank you” doesn’t quite suffice. With that in mind, Sugarplum Studio is offering various incentives for different levels of contribution. Check them out on the right!
How else can you help?
Can’t help financially? That’s ok, I understand! Your support is still important to me. Spread the word, share the campaign and help me make Sugarplum Studio a reality!