We had the good fortune of connecting with Celeste Figueroa and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Celeste, how do you think about risk?
Quitting your stable 9-5 job with benefits & sick pay, to pursue self employment is probably the biggest risk you can take. The hardest part for me, was deciding when was the “perfect time”. The truth is, there is no perfect time. I had a stable career with another company for 8 years but with my business growing on the side I felt stuck whether or not to slow down my business or quit my full time job. Ultimately I knew what was going to bring me the most joy, so with lots of planning, preparing & saving, I was able to quit my full time job to finally go full time with my business. My odds were against me as many around me were telling me how bakeries fail, its not a sustainable income, etc. but I knew I was confident that with this risk, I was not going to fail.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Cake decorating is definitely a labor of love. Throughout my cake journey it definitely took me very long to figure out what I really wanted to make and what I wanted my brand to look like. Once I was able to narrow down exactly what I wanted to offer and what I wanted my brand to mean, was when I started to experience growth and consistency within myself and my business. Baking & decorating may have started while I was very young at the age of 12, but when I was 16/17 was when I really started to take it serious. In the past 10 years I have had cakes melt, collapse, taste terrible & the list can really go on. Since I decided to teach myself, I needed all of those bad experiences to happen in order to learn and grow. I was overwhelmed at times where I just stopped baking and decorating all together (I would really only last about a month without baking though). But I’d feel discouraged enough and think “Yup this isn’t for me, I need a job in an actual bakery” So, that’s exactly what I did! Straight out of high school I was hired as a bakery clerk. Then, after staying with the company for 8 years going from clerk, to cake decorator, pastry chef, training manager, to full blown bakery manager, I quit. It was that experience I needed to really see that THIS, Celly’s Sweets.. is REALLY what I wanted. The journey to get to where I am today was long and hard because I would work 2 jobs sometimes but then continue baking at home. I definitely was not able to experience my early 20’s in a way most would, but I like to think I am working hard for future me. My biggest lessons I’ve learned along the way would be #1- Take care of YOU. Without a healthy you, there can be no cakes or whatever it is you make. Ive recently had to learn the hard way that inconsistent sleep, meals & caffeine overload will catch up to you. It’s important to make sure you don’t let your job take over and that rest days are OK. #2-Pay yourself what you’re worth & track how long it takes you to make things while including shopping, emails, cleaning etc. Since we start out by baking for friends and family, we forget that as we grow so does your costs. #3- If you don’t need it, DON’T buy it. The amount of clutter I’ve built up in my storage closet is pretty insane. I have 10 years of cutters/molds I refuse to part with, that I never really needed or I’ve used once haha!
When people see my name Celly’s Sweets, I hope they not only see the brand but the person behind it. I love to share with my followers the things I go through and what happens on a day to day basis. With that I feel I’ve built such a strong community of customers and friends because they’ve been able to witness the full journey and feel like they are with me along this journey, because they are! I started in my parents kitchen, then built a studio in my home and now I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Also, not only do we have amazing cake options like churro, Cookie Monster or confetti.. we have the BEST cupcake you’ll every try & that is our top selling strawberry shortcake cupcake. We have it available to order last minute on our website when we aren’t having our monthly sales, because we believe everyone needs to have the chance to try these if you don’t need a custom cake.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
OMG this is so hard because honestly, I don’t go out much haha! But when I do, I love a good coffee & bakery run. I like to think in another life, I’d be a dessert blogger because I do love to go around the valley and try new restaurants and bakeries. I would definitely start by taking them to the west valley visiting amazing bakeries like Abbies Cakes & The Boyer Bakery. Then we’d head through Arcadia in Phoenix because there are many more amazing spots to have lunch & grab a cup of coffee. We would head to Scottsdale, probably the next day because we’ll need a long nap after visiting all over the west valley. Sweet Dees is a super fun spot to stop at, then Sprinkles cupcakes in Scottsdale has always been a favorite of mine because I feel they they started the era of cupcake shops. Then just walking around near Old town and all of the cute shops. Gilbert also has amazing spots including tons of small businesses. My favorite bakery I always stop by when I’m in the area is The Great Gadsby Bakery. Then I love a good milkshake over at The Toasted Mallow. But of course, I definitely can’t let them leave without taking them around Mesa! I am so happy Downtown Mesa has been up and coming again with some awesome small businesses! I’d definitely take them to Worth Takeaway for lunch, a sweet treat at Novel ice cream while visiting the small shops walking through there, and finish with Myke’s Pizza. There is so much to explore because we are central to so many amazing things around us.

Overall my favorite things to do when family and friends are in town is take them on hikes wether its Camelback Mt or take them through gold canyon to my favorite trail at the Superstition Mt. Grabbing good food like pizza or tacos, getting something sweet at bakeries or visit some awesome ice cream shops, and always starting our day with some good local coffee.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to shoutout the support of my family, friends and husband for helping me reach this point in my career. They have all played a huge role throughout the years of my cake decorating journey by helping with late nights of decorating, dishes & last minute supply runs. My grandma who I call Nanny, is the one who really got me into baking and decorating because she was always the one baking cookies and cakes for holidays and birthdays. Once the obsession kicked in, my parents allowed me to basically take over their kitchen. When I was in high school, I was at the peak of my cake decorating phase as I just started making cakes for people outside of my immediate family so they were very supportive throughout that journey. Now my husband Alex supports all of my crazy dreams and helps around when I need him to. He also loves to see that I’ve not only taken over our kitchen in our home, but basically the whole house haha! Last but not least, one of the best parts of being in this industry is having my best friend Kristina who owns KD Cakes, working along side me going through all the same things cake and business related.

Website: www.cellyssweets.com

Instagram: @cellyssweets

Facebook: @cellyssweets

Youtube: @cellyssweets

Other: tiktok @cellyssweets

Image Credits
La Vida Cruda Photography LLC 3TV Jamies Local Love

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