In search of a new hobby, a former stay at home mother in the Tri-Region joined cake decorating classes.
Little did the Stony Plain resident know back then, that she was embarking upon a new phase in her life.
Debra DeBernardo, LauraBella Custom Cakery owner, had a licensed cake studio built in May 2014 – right in her backyard.
“I just expanded (by taking the cake decorating classes) and I truly found a hidden talent that I didn’t know I had,” she said.
DeBernardo first started out practicing late in the evenings at home, when her family – a husband and two daughters were sleeping. Soon after that, not only was she decorating treats at her daughters’ parties, but their friends’ parties as well.
She knew this was her calling because she enjoyed it so much, which wasn’t the case with her former career in an educational setting – sitting in front of a computer all day.
She said she always felt dissatisfied being on someone else’s timeline in her former career.
After the birth of her two daughters, DeBernardo, was home with her kids and a casual worker in healthcare. But even then, she knew something was missing.
DeBernardo wanted to foster her creative side, on her own terms – working from home – so she wasn’t missing out on family time.
Of course, the journey has been a long challenging one, but it’s also been rewarding and satisfying.
“I didn’t just become a cake designer overnight, I had to take classes and I have been trained by master sugar artists and chefs, you can have artistic skills but you have to be trained,” she said.
That’s what her advice is to other women too – who may be embarking on their new career or joining the workforce after a break.
“Explore things, take a class – whether it’s a cake decorating class, writing class, a painting class,” she said.
Like many new business owners, she started out, not knowing what was next. So she decided to join the local chamber – Stony Plain and District Chamber of Commerce – and today she is one of the board members. She said she knew networking was the word of the millennium so she joined in whenever the local chamber hosted events to find like-minded people.
She did the same when it came to her creative side. She was up late on most Friday nights experimenting with her spatula and some Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut™ chocolate.
Anytime she got stuck, she would reach out to the fellow cake decorating community on her phone. She said it’s imperative for women starting out their own business to reach out to people with same interest. “If you’re stuck on something, you can call on someone and say ‘how do you do this,’” she said.
Soon enough, top cake decorators in Edmonton were referring to her as well when they were in need of help.
The dedication, focus and long hours paid off as her business grew – winning awards like 2015 and 2016 Couple’s Choice Award – Wedding Wire.
If you feel like you’re in need of some inspiration, while satisfying your sweet tooth, try LauraBella Custom Cakery’s cupcakes, birthday cakes, wedding cakes, cakepops, cookies and personalized chocolates. For more information visit www.laurabellacustomcakery.ca.