Check out Seasonal Specials for Christmas reservations close on 11/25.
Check out Seasonal Specials for Christmas reservations close on 11/25.
LOCAL STORIES DECEMBER 2, 2021
Today we’d like to introduce you to Kelley Finley-Urbania.
Hi Kelley, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
As a confectioner and culinary artist of Monarch Cookies And Cakes, I founded my business in 2020.
With a remarkable career in management, I decided to follow my passion for desserts and events into a business. Beginning as a young girl watching and eventually earning an “assistant” position in my mother’s home kitchen, I delighted in the opportunity to watch my mother’s techniques and learn the stories accompanying each dish. I collected recipes and cookbooks, pouring over the ingredients and photos obsessively. For me, cooking and eating together, sharing news and laughter, has always been the cornerstone of family time.
As I traveled through Europe exploring outdoor markets, bakeries, restaurants and grocery stores I was inspired with each bite. Old world, small batch, hand crafted dishes drove my imagination. I wanted to take flavors of popular dishes and recreate them into small bites. I knew I wanted to do something different. The monarch butterfly is the only butterfly to make a two way migration, it always comes home. After my mother’s passing in 2009 the monarch butterfly would take on new meaning, as it randomly appeared outside my kitchen window or rested on my herb garden. Taking cooking and baking classes became a family event with my husband and twins. I baked items that my mother and I once baked together and recalled wonderful memories. As we held parties for our family and friends I developed a cohesive menu with a theme and tied it together with the decor and desserts. Unknowingly, they were my taste testers.
I knew I wanted to be a part of everyone’s celebrations, big and small. I envisioned get togethers with joy and laughter, where memories were made. I planned my business menu, took photographs, built a website, and scoured everything I could about opening an online bakery. Then I said a prayer and made the jump. With the support of my family, leaving behind a career I knew, for the opportunity to be a business owner.
Monarch Cookies And Cakes has been honored to be a part of events for local businesses creating business card and logo cookies, we have baked small and large cakes for birthdays and wedding, cupcakes for retirement parties, bridal and baby showers, and so much more. I enjoy delivering, meeting my smiling clients, seeing the event set up and knowing that Monarch Cookies And Cakes will be a part of their memory.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I love a good challenge as it helps me to grow. I designed my own website and learned new baking techniques which helps to keep me engaged and build confidence. When I started planning I had every recipe I loved to add on my menu on my website. I had to learn to edit myself. I also remember trying new menu items that just didn’t work because they were too complex or time consuming. I added decorated sugar cookies because it seemed creative and easy, the first is true and the other was not. I had to practice a lot, there were many cookies being eaten or given away as I became proficient and improved. I was dedicated to the artistry and knew I had a delicious cookie. Today, over 80% of my business is decorated sugar cookies, with many repeat customers. This wasn’t even an item I had originally planned on offering, however, I became passionate about cookie artistry.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
My passion is creating cakes, cupcakes and sugar cookies with new and classic flavors. We offer unique custom speciality items including personalized chocolate covered Oreo cookies and custom marshmallows. We have made thousands of cookies and cakes for holidays, businesses and special events. Every order is distinctive and personalized for the occasion. It all starts with a cookie or cake consultation. I learn about the event, theme, and guest of honor. Once a menu selection is planned I begin designing cakes and cookies to continue to evoke the message of the special day. We deliver to you or your event to make the day less stressful. Drawing from my experiences in Europe, Monarch Cookies And Cakes is focused on small batch, hand crafted baked goods using the highest quality ingredients baked fresh in our licensed commercial kitchen.
We can design cookies for any theme from birth to retirement. Love Bigfoot? No problem! Princess theme or 50th Anniversary, we can do that! Anything is possible, from sport to occupations. We are proud of our delicious sugar cookie designs. Due to the detailing involved Monarch Cookies And Cakes takes limited reservations and during peak times we can book up 2-4 months in advance.
I love creating custom cookie gift boxes for business clients to give as appreciation and thank you gifts. As well as seeing the excited faces when delivering our Ultimate Dessert Buffet.
Are there any apps, books, podcasts, blogs or other resources you think our readers should check out?
Podcast and Facebook group Sugar Cookie Marketing has been a wealth of information. I use the Canva app for marketing and the Lightroom app for photo editing.
The books #Girlboss and #Make Chic Happen for social media planning helped to fill in my knowledge gaps.
LOCAL STORIES November 28th, 2022
STORIES & INSIGHTS1 DAY AGO
Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Kelley Finley-Urbania . We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Have a conversation to gather more information and build rapport. For many years I worked in retail management. I always believed that if I was looking to just make a sale I ultimately would end up with an unhappy client. It’s important to be a good listener, be honest, and make recommendations based on their needs. I learned the importance of listening and asking key questions, were they looking for value, to save time, was it a gift and other questions to illicit descriptive responses. This is particularly important when creating cakes and cookies for special events and celebrations as generally there is a budget and a theme. Most clients have a vision and many times are unsure on how to execute it on a 4 inch cookie or a 8 inch cake. When cookies were requested for a movie premier I asked about details and did additional research about the movie to gather more information and inspiration.
Monarch Cookies And Cakes creates custom personalized sugar cookies and cakes for corporate events and special occasions. As we only do custom work we do not have a traditional retail store front. We take limited reservations to ensure that each reservation has the attention it deserves. For our cookies we can add business logos, logos for sports teams, personalized cookies with names and colors and add other hand details. Cakes are baked to order using the highest quality and locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. Adding special design details to make it memorable. We deliver locally to make it easier for the clients and ship cookies worldwide. I have always believed that it’s not just cookies and cakes it’s part of a memory. Having a twin son and daughter I know they appreciate how special I have made every birthday and celebration in their life and they will carry these memories in their hearts for a lifetime. I love being a part of others special celebrations.
Having a business that relies on people gathering together was a challenge during the pandemic. I think more than ever people also realized how important family was and the memories that we make. During this time we had to adapt with smaller orders and pricing. It’s important to be able to quickly react to changes around you.
It’s important to deliver on what you promise. The first time may be your last time if you do not. We rely heavily on referrals and reviews. Each order has a thank you note and we frequently follow up to show our appreciation. Staying active on social media gets our name out there but the clients referrals are what keeps the ovens going.
It was an honor and a wonderful experience to decorate cookies on Taste Buds with Jen Picciano and David Kocab.
Jen is an Emmy award-winning reporter, creator of Cleveland Cooks, cohost of Taste Buds and author of the food blog Cheftovers.
David is an award-winning chef, with a long and established culinary career, working with numerous top chefs. His dynamic culinary talents can be sampled at Cleveland restaurant Bar Oni.