How unexpected obstacles led Randi Smith to her sweet career as founder of Sugar Euphoria
Randi Smith sits down with us to talk about the realities of starting a business as an immigrant and how unexpected challenges led her to pivot and achieve new success within the baking industry.
Describe Sugar Euphoria in a few words?
A cake design and confectionery studio that creates sweets for all of life’s special moments.
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I was pushed to start my business when I was no longer allowed to work in the US. My student visa expired and I hadn’t received my Green Card, so I couldn’t look for a new job at the time. I just ended a contract working on a project for the Department of Health and Human Services, and needed something to keep me busy. That’s when I decided to pursue baking as a career.
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
Prior to starting Sugar Euphoria, I worked in the public health implementation field.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I actually wanted to be a doctor up until my senior year of college, but my options were limited because I was an international student attempting to go to a US medical school.
Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?
My marketing plan involved signing up for a ton of large bridal shows peddling cake samples and handing out a ton of flyers. I received a bunch of inquiries but only a few of those people were my ideal client.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
The most challenging time in business happened when I opened up a brick and mortar store without a solid financial plan. It was extremely difficult to stay afloat when I was undercharging for desserts and not taking equipment repairs and overhead into account.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
I’m most proud of the fact that I was able to double my revenue in 2020 by offering a line of signature cakes for all types of celebrations.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
The wedding industry has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. With all of the cancellations, postponements, and down-sizing of guest counts, it has been an extremely difficult year for my colleagues. We’ve been asked, and sometimes forced, to give back non-refundable contracts, have been taken to court over our contracts, and watched as dozens of clients have moved their weddings (and their payments) months past the anticipated due dates.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
I’m currently making plans to dive into the destination wedding market. I would love to travel around the world creating beautiful cakes in amazing locations.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
That entrepreneurship requires tenacity and flexibility. I thought I would never create another birthday cake after I moved into weddings, but creating smaller cakes has been an amazing but unexpected revenue generator.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
I wish I knew how important it is to become extremely familiar with the numbers – overhead, profit margins, supplies, taxes. It will save you from a lot of headaches down the road.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
I do! I believe the only way to achieve a semblance of balance is by asking for help. Whether that’s help with the kids, with your administrative work, or help cleaning the house. Create a village and lean on them. I know so many women who believe that they have to do it all, and they have to do it by themselves. That is the quickest way to feeling burnt out.
What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?
That I was born and raised in the land of sun, sand, and sea – The Bahamas.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
- Write out your tasks. I love to use Asana for business and a paper planner for household tasks and errands.
- Take a break to do something that you truly enjoy. It doesn’t have to be long, but carve out some time for self-care.
- Write down something that you’re grateful for or an accomplishment that you’re proud of.
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
It means creating a career that you can be proud of, through all of the ups and downs.