Hi! I'm Jen Jacobs, the woman behind the whisk. I was born and raised in sunny Florida. Wandering Whisk blends together the two things I'm most passionate about - baking & traveling. For the last 4 years I have been baking out of my home as a cottage food business while working full-time as a TV producer by day. I am now focused on growing my part time business to full time and I'm thrilled to be expanding into my first brick & mortar location! (Check out the video at the top of this page to hear my story & get a tour of the new bakery).
Wandering Whisk's new space is very centrally located in the heart of Pinellas County- only a short drive to downtown St. Pete, Tampa, Clearwater and the beaches. This space will be referred to as a 'boutique bakery studio' where I will create all of my custom orders for weddings, birthdays, showers, corporate events and pretty much any party under the sun.
Wandering Whisk Bakeshop will be opening up to the public on specific days as a "pop up" with a case full of desserts for purchase. We will be focusing on lots of holiday and seasonal treats because who doesn't want pumpkin spice macarons or Christmas cream puffs?! We will also be offering a variety of private classes for all ages and skill levels such as macaron making, decorating colorful buttercream cakes and lots of seasonally-themed classes! Our goal is to be up & running by August with our first pop up at Halloween and classes starting around the holidays.
Since we will not be a retail storefront on a daily basis, we will be wholesaling our sweets to local businesses so you will be able to get your dessert fix any day of the week! Supporting local is a big initiative for our business.
What Sets Wandering Whisk Apart
Wandering Whisk specializes in modern, whimsical sweets. I love to incorporate bright colors and unique designs into every dessert. The main focus of the business is cakes - everything from small vibrant party cakes to towering, elaborately designed wedding cakes. I'm extremely passionate about all different types of pastry, not just cakes. French Macarons are a big part of Wandering Whisk and we've been told ours are just as good, if not better than the ones you would get in Paris. Other popular items are cookie sandwiches, dessert bars, tarts, cupcakes and cream puffs.
Our dessert philosophy is pretty basic. Everything should TASTE as good as it LOOKS. The world is full of a lot of mediocre desserts but ours is not one of them. You eat because you have to but you enjoy dessert because it is an indulgence, a reward and something that should make you incredibly happy. We pride ourselves on really unique flavors with some of our most popular being Banana Nutella Cake, Chocolate Sea Salt Cookie Sandwiches, Lavender Macarons and Passion Fruit Tarts. We also offer a variety of gluten-friendly items.
How I Got Started
I've been baking since I was old enough to climb up to the counter. My mom and I spent much of my time growing up in our kitchen, especially around the holidays. My mom is pretty famous for her Christmas cookies, especially her Dream Bars (buttery brown sugar walnut bars that are slightly addicting). I now proudly make my mom's cookies and sell them around the holidays. I love incorporating my family recipes into my menu.
In 2014 while working overnights at my then TV job, I would spend my days baking and trying any new recipe that came my way. I brought Red Velvet Cookie Sandwiches into work around Valentine's Day and before I knew it, people were asking if they could buy them from me. These cookie sandwiches were talked about all over the office and suddenly everyone was coming to me to order desserts for their parties.
I entered the Morean Arts Center 'Great St. Pete Cupcake Contest' in 2015 and to my surprise, won 1st place Peoples' Choice Award beating out 70 other local bakers with my Banana Nutella Cupcakes. In 2016, I entered my Chai Latte Cupcakes and won 1st Place Peoples' Choice yet again! The judges also came up with a spontaneous 'Best Buttercream' award, noting that my buttercream was the best they had ever had. Over the last 2 years, I have now become a judge for the annual competition.
I'm primarily self-taught and although I have taken classes at the San Francisco Baking Institute and Le Cordon Bleu Paris, most of what I've learned is from reading. In the early days, I would check out culinary textbooks at the library and immerse myself into the world of pastry. Over the years, I have been featured on several local morning shows doing baking segments and in The Penny Hoarder, Cherry Bombe Magazine, Tampa Bay Times, Best Friends for Frosting and on various wedding blogs (1, 2, 3). My most exciting accomplishment is airing on July 8 - I'm a competitor on the Food Network show Holiday Baking Championship: Christmas in July!
The Next Chapter
Wandering Whisk has completely outgrown my home kitchen. When you're working out of a home kitchen, there is a limited amount of orders you can take on with only a standard size oven, a single mixer, and a residential fridge. I spent the early part of 2019 looking for the perfect new home for Wandering Whisk. I kept in mind my monthly budget as well as finding an easily accessible location for people coming from various parts of the community. Having my own brick & mortar space will allow me to increase the number of orders I take on a weekly basis along with supplying us with retail and classroom space.
Wandering Whisk has grown into a vibrant business and it couldn't have been done without the help of a loyal community that truly believes in supporting local business. We are growing to meet the demand of our customers and want to make our desserts even more accessible to people in our area. As with the expansion of any business, money is needed to make the dream a reality.
Where Will the Money Go?
Starting a business isn't cheap, let alone a food business that requires expensive equipment and specific building requirements. We will be using the Kickstarter funds in a variety of ways.
Where will the $20,000 go?
- Kitchen equipment: Convection oven, commercial fridge and freezer, Hobart mixer, sinks, prep tables, shelving, furniture
- Renovations: Flooring, painting, electrical work, plumbing, lighting, signage
- Architect, contractors, permits, insurance
- Help with overhead costs for the first year
Kickstarter is a great medium to raise funds but, in case you were unaware, it is an all or nothing campaign. So this means if I don't meet my $20,000 goal in 30 days, then I don't get a single dime and the donations are returned to the donors. You can see how important it is that I reach my goal! That's where you come in. In exchange for a donation, you have the option to receive a really awesome reward. No donation is too small! By making a contribution to my campaign, you've now become a part of the Wandering Whisk family and we can't wait to welcome you into our new bakery!
Now we get to the good stuff. Every time you contribute to the Wandering Whisk Campaign, you have the opportunity to claim one of our rewards in exchange for your donation. Keep in mind, some of the rewards like our private classes, will only have a limited amount available so don't wait until the last minute. Whether you're in Tampa Bay or on the other side of the country, there is a reward for you. For the first time ever, we will be shipping our desserts as a reward option! Do you love to bake but want to see first-hand what it's like to decorate a Wandering Whisk signature cake? Then come be our 'Baker for a Day!' You can wear our beautiful new logo on a tee or whisk around town with our tote bag. Want to make someone's day by surprising them with a cake? We have a 'PA(str)Y it Forward' option which we will personally deliver to the person of your choice! Want to spend the day in Paris without buying an expensive plane ticket? We are thrilled to be offering gift boxes of macarons or our hands-on Macaron Class as rewards! P.S. Many of these rewards will be fulfilled around the holidays so any of them can be used as a holiday or hostess gift!
On a daily basis, I get to transform eggs, flour and sugar into wild, colorful pieces of artwork. Baking is truly magical. Opening a bakery has been my dream. I have worked incredibly hard to build a solid foundation for Wandering Whisk and I know that the time is right. I walk into the kitchen every day excited to see what's next, knowing that I get to spend my days being creative and putting everything I have into making this dream a reality.
Risks and challenges
When I first started my business, I set a plan for myself. I wouldn't open a shop until I had been in business for at least several years with a steady customer base and an understanding of how to run a successful business. Most small businesses that fail don't take the time to build up their business before making a huge jump into a brick & mortar. I know that there are risks associated with every big move but I am a planner and have made every attempt to set myself up for success!
Video Credit: Jeremy Boguslaw
Audio Credit in Video:
Daily Beetle Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Song 1 / Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
Cheery Monday Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Song 2 / Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
Music Title: Happy and Joyful Children Song 3 / youtu.be/lv1YPeP1O8k / Released by: Free Music www.youtube.com/channel/UCqpifMUDQ-HQNO12t7wKBmw
- (30 days)