by Tom SimsCaroline Wade is first an artist and then a pastry chef. After that, she is part of a new breed of entrepreneurs who incorporate social networking in real time and online to create relationships and buzz to build their businesses. She describes herself as “Owner, Artist, and Pastry Chef of Caroline’s Creations.”
Caroline’s Creations is Caroline Wade. She is the heartbeat of it and, even though her product is compelling, her personality is even more compelling.
Caroline has been doing what she does best for eight years. In 2001, she graduated with a degree in art from Reedley College. Her intention was to find her way to art school and develop her career as an artist. However, she took a slight detour and went to pastry school “just for fun.” It also figured into her long-range goal of establishing a bed a breakfast, a dream she has had since she was seventeen. She still plans to do that down the road in retirement. In the meantime, she is in the business of making edible art.
“I just want to make everything pretty,” she says with a smile in her voice.
It is that audible and visible smile that infects everything that Caroline touches. It is her vision and laser focus that drive her. It is her work ethic that combines with all these to make her a shining success and a role model for other young entrepreneurs.
In 2002, she graduated from California Culinary Academy and, in 2003, she launched Caroline’s Creations in Fresno, California. Her typical customer is anyone who wants a nice edible centerpiece for events. These may be birthdays, business openings, weddings, anniversaries, holidays, or just about anything. People may come to her with an idea and say, “Here’s an idea; create something!”
They may also just have color themes in mind. It may be a character theme for a child’s birthday. In some cases, clients have no idea what they want, just how they want to feel. Caroline is up to any challenge.
“I make happy cakes,” she says, “I like to create fun, happy, colorful deserts.”
Her portfolio has hundreds of examples of her creativity, but no two assignments are the same. Every job is a custom assignment. There is also a full list of flavor options.
Caroline has mastered the principles and integrated two disciplines. She brings her creativity and joy to the mix and the result is Caroline’s Creations. Her creations are beautiful and delicious.
What she has learned, she passes on to others. Her workshops have been a big part of her outreach. She also hosts cookie exchange parties. Her next one is December 3, 2011. Of this she says, “Everyone who comes will bring a few dozen cookies. They can be small cookies. We all taste each other’s creations and vote on our favorites. I give out prizes for the best in a few different categories. We tell stories of where the recipe came from or why we chose to make the cookies we made. It’s a lot of fun!”
A particular passion for Caroline is the Gingerbread House Competition, hosted at Sierra Vista Mall in Clovis, November 1 – December 1. The competition benefits Clovis community groups and projects. Caroline conducts workshops on how to make the houses and the actual competition began November 15. There are three levels: Amateur Competition, Culinary Student Competition, and Professional Competition.
Caroline was recently interviewed about this event for a Fresno Bee article and on several local television shows where everyone got their hands messy making Gingerbread Houses. By all reports, it was a great deal of fun!
At present, Caroline’s Creations is a sole proprietorship. Caroline does all the baking, promotion, business management, and creative work. She would love to grow, but not at the expense of the art or its quality. She has plans for expansion, but she is moving forward systematically.
She has a mission as well, creating good tasting, gluten-free deserts. This she does as a tribute to the inspiration of her mother who has gluten allergies.
Caroline has not spent a dime on advertising. Her entire strategy has been, from the start, social media marketing. “I started on MySpace ‘back when,’” she says. Her following grew into the thousands. Then she moved to Facebook. She has a personal account, but her fan page is her primary home base. She also maintains a blog, a website, and a Twitter account. In addition, she has a store on Etsy. Her principle fan page has 2400 followers. From there, one can view hundreds of pictures of her work. Her favorite quote from her fan page is, “Everyone knows something you don’t know, find out what it is.” That is what social media is all about.
One can “like” Caroline’s page on Facebook and begin to interact with her there. She will respond. She can also be contacted by phone at (559) 908-8405. You can also find her on Twitter: @EdibleCreations, and on her blog.