Thanks to some clever marketing and promotional ideas, Sonya Newton's four-year-old, online bakery business, Love My Cake Boutique, Morristown, N.J., is finally taking off.
“Since I got out there and started doing events, sponsorships and really getting exposure, business has been great,” Newton says. “Starting out as an online bakery, you don't really have much of a physical presence, so you have to create one for yourself.”
A recent tasting event held in conjunction with Amanti Vino, a local New Jersey winery, proved to be her most successful to date. Along with Amanti Vino's owner and sommelier Sharon Sevrens, Newton set up a wine and cake-pairing event that coupled complementary bakery products and dessert wines to teach people about flavor pairings and promote the products.
“I set up a meeting with Sevrens, and we decided that one thing that we both needed was exposure to new customers,” Newton says. “I brought in some of my product to show her what my business was all about, and she walked around the store and paired each of my items with one of her wines. With that in mind, we set up the event.”
Newton operated the event at a loss, but believes the exposure invaluable. She hopes to continue to host similar events at different locations across New Jersey, thereby increasing her client list without having to change her marketing model.
The tasting model allowed for a lot of cross-pollination between loyal customers of Amanti Vino and Love My Cake Boutique. “A lot of her customers became mine, and vice versa,” Newton says. “I think that both Sharon and I came out happy.”
Local liquor laws will determine what can be sold, at what volume and where, but a baker doesn't have to sell wine to benefit from its increasing popularity.
“At each table, we had several placards describing the dessert and wine. They also explained why the two flavors complemented one another,” Newton says. “Learning new things about food can excite people and inspire them to buy, and wine is something people seem to be particularly excited about.”
Key Lime pie: This refreshing dessert should be matched with a light white dessert wine that has aromas of spring flowers and hints of honey and dried fruit
Love My Cake Boutique's exclusive Coy Carrot Cake: This is a cake that blends very well with a sherry that has hints of chocolate, coffee, figs as well as some spice and floral notes.
Sensual Red Velvet Cupcakes & Chocolate Torte: From Newton's special formulas, these products go with a red dessert wine that has a hint of winter flowers, vanilla bean, apple and white chocolate.
Caramel Cheesecake: A white dessert wine that has hints of tropical citrus fruit, such as lime and kiwi, and also a hint of fine honey, would be a perfect match for this cake.