Local Business Owner Kimberly Brittenburg Talks Applesauce in Cakes and Covid-19

Local businesses have made quite an impact on our economy. Towns and cities are filled with passionate entrepreneurs who want to showcase their skills while making some money. However, with the Coronavirus pandemic hitting the country back in March 2020, many had to shut down or change their strategies as soon as possible to stay afloat. One of these amazing local businesses located in Allentown is Kym’s Creations, a home based custom bakery that makes confections of all mediums such as pastries, cookies, and cakes. Trumpet Staff Member Gianna Rivera spoke with the owner Kimberly Brittenburg to talk more about her business. 


What inspired you to start a business?

“I’ve always tried businesses throughout my entire life but nothing ever stuck until my daughter’s first birthday and I was doing a homemade cake and I didn’t have any butter one night or Crisco, so I put applesauce in there. It was the beginning of a low-fat revolution and I thought ‘It is not going to taste good, but it is going to look great.’ Nobody ate the cake, so I took it to my work and told everyone to please eat the cake, and so they ate the cake and they loved it. It just bloomed. I was not trying to be a baker, it just happened.” 


Was baking a passion you had, or did it just happen to be something you were great at?

“Baking is not something I had a passion for. I went to school to be a physical therapist and interior decorator, so to fall into this is to expect the unexpected. However, I had a passion for being creative and baking was a way to do that. It was in the sense that if you did a picture and someone did not like it, they would have to hang it on the wall anyway. If you made a bad cake, it was not a big deal because you would eat it and it was good. You did not have to store it. My daughter is an artist and you have to store all of the art and then you run out of room. This way, you get to do art, eat it, and then it is gone.”


Did you have a professional mentor and if not, who was your inspiration?

“I do not have a professional mentor, and really I just fell into it, so there was no Cake Boss when I started it. Growing up, we watched Martha Stewart and she did everything. My aunt growing up also made homemade sheet cakes and you put coconut on them and they were mom made cakes. That was the closest thing to me thinking ‘I could do that.’ I never thought I could or wanted to, but now here I am.”


How has running your business changed since the pandemic last year?

“It has been a total challenge. You have to think on your feet because that was going to be my biggest year. We were on track to do double, if not triple what we did any other year. It was the key year. I was so excited about doing it. We just did two huge events and we were getting corporate accounts. That weekend before, the world ended and all of a sudden the world ended. Thank goodness we did those corporate accounts because for almost a month, no one did anything and they did not pay right away, so when they paid, that was what got us through the first few months. After that, I thought ‘What am I going to do?’ I could apply to jobs, but that did not work out because everytime I applied, now they see you as a business owner, so you would always have a priority to your business, which they were right. The neighbor had seen something on a local news channel saying they were doing cupcake kits and they had people out the door of their bakery. I thought ‘Let’s try it.’ I posted it to Facebook and we got some takes on it. Soon enough people were saying ‘I cannot wait for next week’s special.’ So, I started getting outside my comfort zone offering different items for $10 each. It got repetitive, so I started thinking ‘What are the new trends?’ I made cronuts and macarons and all kinds of things I normally would not have offered since I was not loaded with orders, but it was enough for me to get to the next week’s bills. We did that, and when we were not busy at all during the holiday season and people were not going anywhere for the holidays, we started giving out gift certificates for cupcake classes. For $75, you could take a one-on-one class with me and then we made sure you wore your mask and the whole nine yards and that was a really nice Christmas present too.”


What was your most difficult baking challenge and how did you overcome it?

“People always ask me to do things that are not done before. I have no formal training so it is sometimes a hit or miss and I never watched youtube videos to help. I have been doing this for 22 years which is a long time. There have been a lot of challenges, but it has never gotten to the point where I gave up. You just bounce the ideas off yourself and play it like a trial and error. There are a lot of times where things go wrong. Driving to an event, a cake totally fell apart and it was my first time making a cake that looked like it would fall apart, and it did. They were slopey and the thing is, if it went against the wall, it would have been fine, but it was at someone’s house and it was at the entrance of the stairwell. So we attempted to cover the mess with flowers just to hide the cracking.” 


What is some advice you would give to anyone who wanted to open up a business, especially women?

“Do your research because there are always more things than expected. I thought this would be a weekend thing but now it is more of a seven day a week thing. So, make sure you love what you are doing because if you do not and you are doing it for the money, it will not last long. Your heart will not be in it and people will notice that. Try to do some research and the local community colleges have courses on businesses and running them. Do not go blind into it. Go into it with some knowledge, maybe do an internship with someone, visit their business and ask if you can hang out and volunteer at their business so that you know what you are going into because there is so much more than you will ever know behind the scenes.”

Image from LV Live