Wednesday, April 4, 2012

You Should Get Bitten ~by design~

As those of you that read my blog know, I love to eat! I must attribute my love of Red Velvet Cupcakes to one person though...my friend Tamela.


We first met in middle school and became fast friends. Both of us were nerds who also happened to be athletes, which made us kind of popular. We were cool. Yep. Plaid shirts, bad hair days and all, we were cool. I still remember the "Crochet by Numbers" rug she made that I was secretly jealous of. My mom wouldn't buy me one LOL.


After middle school though, we separated and went to different high schools and lost touch. This was before the age of email, cell phones and social networking...but through all that both of us remained true to our cool nerdiness and graduated at the top of our respective classes.


I want to say it was 2007 or 2008 when we reconnected through Facebook. I was having a party (as I usually am) and I invited her. I don't know if I really expected her to show up, but she did. Before she went to her PT night job (cuz she's awesome). And she even bought a bottle of wine! The rest is history and we became close friends once again like we had never been separated.


So it was at another party that I got a taste of her delectable mini red velvet cupcakes and instantly became hooked. I mean like crackhead hooked...only replace the crack with yummy red velvet and cream cheese frosting!


Enough of my babbling about how obsessed I am with her cupcakes. Here is the interview. You should totally check out he Facebook page Bitten ~by design~ and order something...I'm just saying!


Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I'm not sure what to say about myself. Hhhhmmmm??? I'm very close to leaving my trying twenties behind, I have a beautiful eight year old son, and I still have not figured it all out yet. But I'm excited about what the future has to offer, while keeping my focus only on the present. I'm on my way to becoming an "in the now" groupie...(lol) Believe it or not, I have a degree in Applied Mathematics with a minor in Computer Science. Is my current job related to any of those fields??? NOT EVEN! And what's even more worrisome is that I'm looking into starting a Master's of Accountancy program next.


What motivated you to start baking? How old were you when you started?
My motivation, not really sure. I just love a challenge. Everybody always told me growing up that I had the book smarts, I was the family's academic, but there wasn't much else I had to offer. That developed in me a desire to prove that I could do other things and I was more than just a report card. I was probably a toddler in the kitchen begging my mom to let me help, or just playing copy cat. I was good at mimicking what my mother and paternal grandmother did in the kitchen, but never asked to be taught what they knew. I first started baking on my own in high school. I can remember making mini loaf red velvet cakes for our annual May Day Picnic and bake sales. My friends loved those things. My first custom designed, character cake was for my son's 3rd birthday back in 2007.

What is your favorite thing to bake?
CUPCAKES, preferably mini!!! You can do so much with those things when it comes to the design. And they almost always come out light and fluffy. Amazing little things they are...

What is your most popular creation?
I would say the mini Red Velvet Cupcakes w/ Cream Cheese Frosting... Everyone loves those things! I have to give Jessica Reese and Kimeche Spears @ The PYNK Signature Salon and Spa for ordering them for every event they sponsored, helping to broaden my customer base. And yes I stole that recipe from my mom! She is where I get about half of the recipes I use.




Where do you find inspiration?
My inspiration definitely comes from my customer base. I am a full time single parent with a full time job and full time responsibilities, so I don't get a lot of time to experiment in the kitchen. I have my go to recipes, so what it boils down to is the "design." When I get a call and the person on the other end says I have this vision that I want to know if you can make happen for me, I get all excited. I almost immediately start to sketch out options based on what the person wants and what their budget will allow. So, most of my work is unique. I do not have many repeats for my custom designed cakes. Everyone gets as close to what they ask for as I can possibly get!

Do you have a certain method or mode for developing recipes or do you just go by what a customer orders?
Everything is based on the customer. I have several basic recipes that I tweak to fit the needs of my requests--Vanilla 1-2-3, Chocolate, Pound, Carrot, and Red Velvet, all made "from scratch" as we like to say in the South. But I will put it out there that I do incorporate box cake mix into some of my other recipes, the sky is the limit with box cake mixes, because there is so much you can add to them to make a recipe that is uniquely yours. And everyone cannot make a basic box cake, don't let the simplicity fool you!

Do you see yourself moving into a bakery and doing this full time?
You know, people always ask me that. Right now, it's a nice thought to one day be able to do just that. I love the hobby I've made of it. I love the thrill that I get when I have the opportunity to do something new. I'm not at all business savvy or people patient, so it would definitely have to be a team effort. I'm definitely at my best when I'm in the lab and not when I'm trying to coordinate the order. My brother Patrick is enthusiastic about growing and taking Bitten to the next level, but he doesn't have the time or resources right now. His passion is viral though, always getting me incomplete orders that take too many calls and text messages to finalize; but, I love him for it! Truly grateful actually, because every order has definitely been an economic blessing during trying times.

 Just a little background information on Bitten ~bydesign~

Bitten is definitely a work in progress, started due to the overwhelming demand for the signature mini red velvet cupcake, between 2010 and 2011, and the constant question, "Do you have a card?" It is not by any means at the level of small business just yet. More like a start-up meeting the demands of a small customer base. All requests are prepared on a pre-order basis; nothing is pre-made for future sale. I came up with the saying, "It only takes one bite," from one of my most loyal customers Jessica R., owner of PYNK. She'd always "sell" the minis to her patrons by saying that all they needed to do was take one bite and they'd be hooked. It begin to ring true and my orders tripled in no time... The ~bydesign~ subtitle was added because everything I do is based on the customer's vision, by their design. And I do more than just sweets--I can coordinate your inexpensive paper and decorating needs with the sweet treats you order for any special event. I just love to make things!

This last question isn’t so much of a question…but are you looking for taste testers?! I’m always available!
This is always the first question I get after someone tastes a BittenBD creation for the first time. Maybe one day it will be an open position... I'm thinking I may throw tasting parties for new flavors. Anything to get the girls together.

Please "Like" our page on Facebook, Bitten~bydesign~ and let us know what you think of some of the work I've done... Peace and Love ~bydesign~tamelamichelle





Here are some pictures of Tamela's amazing work! Be sure to Stop by her page and check her out! You can also follow her on Pinterest!


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Enter below to win a custom dessert from Bitten ~by design~!!!! Winner must be local to Columbia, SC. Dessert will be chosen by me. Winner will be contacted to arrange pick-up/drop-off of dessert. Good luck!!

This giveaway is now closed! Thanks to everyone that entered...
AND THE WINNER IS....

Crystal J.!!!! Congratulations Crystal!!
XOXO
RoJo

2 comments :

  1. Thanks RoJO! This is awesome! And I can't believe you remember all of that... Well, yes I can.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You know an elephant never forgets! :)

    ReplyDelete