Sarah Paz-Claro founded The Office Cake, a cake delivery service that takes orders by phone or via the web. It turns out Sarah isn’t the only successful entrepreneur in her family . Her mother, Ana Paz is the owner of Ana Paz Cakes. The Miami Herald has called her the “baker to the stars.” Click here to see the birthday cake Sarah’s mom created for Jennifer Lopez.
What motivated you to become an entrepreneur?
SARAH: My mom is a business owner and in being able to continue helping her but developing a brand of my own it seemed to be a natural progression.
What is your favorite thing about being your own boss?
SARAH: First and foremost I love that I designed a business that is conducive to being a wife and mother. Being able to develop my own creative line of cake designs and flavors.
What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome them?
SARAH: The first challenge is that I believe I am the first in my category to develop this concept with the quick turn around in which we do them added to that the amount of detail we include. I am good under the gun. The challenge was it was not a common service.
Also, when I opened The Office Cake I decided I did not want to include my mom’s famous name in this venture. I wanted to brand it differently. So the biggest challenge was proving my product and service. I overcame these challenges with persistence and perseverance. Whose going to say no to a free sample of cake? Not a lot of people. I wanted to create a sense of community. I went to my local police department, hospitals, schools, banks and businesses and introduced myself the old fashion way. Mediums like Facebook help keep the connection. We also knew we wanted to give back to the very community that was supporting us so finding a non for profit was important to us. We initially wanted to do something with Baptist Hospital since they had saved my life in a near death experience but there wasn’t room for the right use of my resources. A friend introduced us to kakes4kidsflorida.org, a non-profit bringing cakes to kids in foster care. And the rest is history.
How did you figure out the legal aspects of starting your business?
SARAH: With an advantage in already having an existing family business, my mom paved the road. Since our business is a little different in its service and currently undergoing the process of franchising, we hired a good attorney.
What marketing tips can you recommend?
SARAH: I talk to everyone and manage to communicate what I do to many people. Again, a characteristic I learned from my mom.
Who inspires you?
SARAH: My clients, together with my experiences and the possibilities of translating that into flour, eggs and sugar. Parents will call me with requests for kids studying in local universities. We try to personalize it to their interests, major or they may just be crazy about their school. Whatever the selection we fulfill it and once complete we typically email or message a photo so they can participate in the gift giving process and exchange comments.
What advice do you have for those who dream of opening their own business someday?
SARAH: Do what you love with conviction and things will unfold organically. Constant action to gain reaction is essential. Never stop reinventing yourself or your business. Keep your consumers excited about your service or product.
Where do you see your business in three to five years?
SARAH: I see The Office Cake Franchises in every major city providing cakes to offices, schools, residences, hospitals and businesses while giving back through offering internship programs to young adults in culinary schools and making sure every child in foster care celebrates their precious life with a cake that was made with LOVE.
If you or someone you know owns a small business in South Florida and would like to share your story, please e-mail Kara Franker at email@example.com. Don’t forget to check back here for our next interview with a South Florida entrepreneur!