SEASONAL SPECIAL- NEW PETITE PIES IN A JAR!
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.
It was an honor and a great time decorating 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.