How sweet it is!

In New York City, cupcake bakeries are so popular the Wall Street Journal reported last month they're responsible for growth in employment numbers.

Here in Kamloops, the number is a more modest single shop - Sweet Spot Cupcakes - where entrepreneur Teresa Bepple gave up a job working for the B.C. government as a financial analyst to make the tiny cakes for a living.

The Journal story reported the trend started a decade ago with Sex and the City characters making regular appearances at Magnolia Cupcakes.

Bepple took a mini-cupcake sized chance when she first set out in April last year. She opened her shop in the same premises as Cook's Cuisine on Victoria Street, at first working three days a week at her Ministry of Transportation job here and the rest of the week at Sweet Spot.

"It was a trial to see whether it would be worth going for it," Bepple said. "I couldn't do two jobs."

The trial, while exhausting, convinced her to jump deep in the icing, quitting her secure job, moving up the hill and working at her business seven days a week.

Bepple always loved making cakes and did so on the side for friends and friends of friends, for weddings and parties.

"I was working full time, doing cakes all night," she said of her earlier life.

That got her thinking about moving into business for herself. She'd also heard about the popularity of cupcakes, providing a sweet twist on something she'd been doing for years.

Some of her specialties available recently at Sweet Spot off Hillside Drive in Aberdeen were bubble gum blast, cherry shot, express-oh, going bananas and root beer float.

At first, Bepple focused solely on selling cupcakes out the door or supplying them for parties, particularly weddings where a typical order is 100 to 200. After years of baking wedding and party cakes at home, she got bored and vowed not to go back to it.

But TV shows about baking got her interested again, when she discovered it was more than a two-dimensional world. Bepple said she baked cakes in two-dimensional flat forms for decades before seeing what could be done, outside of wedding cakes, in tiers with three-dimensional form.

Her grandest creation is a $425 four-tier zebra stripe wedding cake. The next big project is a "topsy-turvy" cake on the same scale. Both projects came out of a magazine clipping that Bepple copied for her customers.

She estimates she makes 1,400 to 1,500 cupcakes a week in her shop.

While the satisfaction of being her own boss, along with the creativity of the profession, is satisfying, no one said it would be easy.

Sweet Spot is open six days a week, with Bepple there all the time. She makes everything from scratch.

The big day is Saturday for parties, meaning late Friday nights preparing. She estimates many days are 12 to 16 hours. Sundays are spent doing books and contacting customers who've called.

Yet, the creativity and independence couldn't be sweeter.

cfortems@kamloopsnews.ca

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