From 3D custom cakes to lavish cupcakes, Kara Bustos from Sift By Kara has her gifted hands on them all. Sift By Kara, based out of Los Angeles, CA has amazed many with her unique and talented skills! Kara has over 25K followers on Instagram and over 22K followers on Facebook. Kara also has a Youtube page full of tutorials and cake decorating. Check her out!
A Little About Kara
Sift by Kara was created by actress turned cake designer, Kara Bustos. Our cakes are made to order from scratch and taste as good as they look. We are a small internet-based cake & cupcake bakery specializing in custom cake designs, located in the greater Los Angeles area.
Q. What made you start baking and decorating?
A. I started baking and decorating out of a need to make a special birthday cake for my then 6 year old daughter. I found myself in a cake decorating store with wall to wall cake decorating supplies, including fondant, and I walked out with a heart shaped cake pan and a tub of pink fondant. It was that cake that I found a new creative outlet, giving me a way to express myself outside of being a stay at home mother.
Q. What advice would you give to an up and coming bakery business?
A. Never to stop learning! Practice practice practice before you start taking any money for your creations. Be sure to follow all laws and regulations to conduct your business legally, safely and ethically.
Q. What new events or specials do you have coming up that you would like to share with our readers?
A. I would love to say that I am bursting with possibilities, but honestly I am a stay at home mother first to three beautiful girls and I appreciate my quaint cake decorating business at home that allows me the flexibility to be a mother first and a business woman second.
Q. How did you turn your hobby into a profitable business?
A. Word of mouth and producing a good product that wowed the party is how I got started. Posting on social media and spreading the word of my cake skills was key to turning my hobby into a business. Having a clean website and posting beautiful photos of my cakes. An eye catching and professional approach is key to growing. People eat, buy and make decisions with their eyes.
Q. What was your biggest weakness in your business?
A. My biggest weakness is marketing beyond the casual cake buyer. Branching out to clients who are hosting large scale events like weddings has been a difficult challenge for me here in Los Angeles. When my business is second to my family, that is a weakness to my business ultimate success.
Q. What are your biggest challenges in this field?
A. One of the biggest challenges is to reach those clients with more disposable income who trust my creativity. Most clients want a fabulous cake without the expensive price tag. My cakes are expensive because of the time and talent I put into them and I will not compromise my price. I lose a lot of potential clients because my talent deserves a higher price point.
Q. Do you have any educational background in baking and decorating? Do you think it is required to have an educational background in baking before anyone begins his or her business?
A. I do not have an educational background outside of YouTube University. However I do believe if and when I decide to take my home business and grow it to a brick and mortar, a business degree would be vital to the longevity of my growing business. But an artist is an artist and typically can learn their craft without much formal training, however learning is vital and should always continue in whatever ways one can squeeze it in and afford it.
Q. What new decorating techniques do you foresee bakers using on their cakes?
A. I would like to see more bakers learn the craft of buttercream. Fondant is so pretty and it seems to be what most cake decorators tend to focus on. There also seems to be a trend towards many cake techniques that don’t lend to palatable cakes for the consumer. I would like to see more cake artist go back to the basics, beautiful and tasty cakes. One of my favorite cake artist who has taken buttercream to another level is Shannon Bond. We can all learn a lot from her. The everyday cake decorator can make lots of beautiful and affordable cakes for the consumer by just perfecting the basics.
Q. Did you have a cake mentor when you first began? If so, what key advice did you take from them and continue to implement today?
A. I had many cake decorators that I followed but the most important advice I learned was from Richard Festen at Baking Arts in San Francisco, CA. When I asked him about different cake flavors or fillings that gave me stress when it came to cake stability, he said, “just don’t offer it” It was that statement when I realized I am my own boss and if I am not comfortable, just say no. Just don’t offer it.
Q. How do you spend most of your time before you finish an amazing cake?
A. Most of my time is clearly laid out and scheduled during the course of the week for optimal and efficient use of my contracted time on any particular cake. You will rarely find me up all night or stressed out as I have clearly laid out my schedule as to when what needs to be done on a cake to have it finished the night before it is due. With my family needs, a schedule is crucial to getting everything done on time.
Q. What are you trying to accomplish this quarter with your decorating?
A. This quarter as my children return back to school, I am working on increasing business now that I will have more time to dedicate to my cakes.
Many thanks to Kara for taking out the time and allowing us to blog interview with her! If you have enjoyed this blog interview as much as we have and want to find out more about Sift By Kara, follow her on social media!
Connect with Kara
Photo Credit: Images courtesy of Sift By Kara