For our May small business spotlight, we spoke to Rebecca Pham, owner of Becca Cakes.
Becca Cakes prides itself on making breathtaking and uniquely designed wedding and event cakes that are both high-end and whimsical. Established in November 2017, this quickly growing Houston-based business (with a storefront coming soon) is one you won’t want to miss!
Can you tell me a little bit about what you do and offer?
Right now, I do mainly wedding and event cakes, dessert bars, and things like that. We are in the process of opening a bakery so we can get into more retail—including cakes, cupcakes, macarons, cookies, and things like that—so we can expand our brand.
I guess for my business, we really like to do more artistic, high-end designs that are whimsical and floral-inspired … things that are really pretty and different from what you’d get from a traditional bakery.
We also do everything fresh from scratch. We want everything to taste great and look good, too.
How did you get into baking and decorating?
I used to work an office job out of school. I’m not a trained pastry chef, but I’ve always had a huge sweet tooth and have always been creative and artistic. I’ve always done painting and sewing, and other random, crafty things.
My sister and I would bake a lot and watch Cake Boss. Growing up, we’d play around with stuff like trying to make our own fondant, and when I got older, I kind of forgot about it.
Once I started working a 9 – 5 job in an office, I would come home and need things to do. So, I picked it back up as a hobby and then started learning more about different artists when it comes to pastries and cakes.
I am mainly self-taught. I’ve also done mentorships and workshops with well-known and famous cake designers. I have training when it comes to sugar flowers and modern cake techniques. So while I’m not a pastry chef, I have some background in it.
In my local industry (bakery), I was really able to grow a lot and succeed because the market was really traditional, so nobody was really doing what I was doing. It was something new and fresh to my local market. I was really lucky to be able to grow my business really quickly, and now we’re opening a shop, so it’s been a whirlwind.
What’s your favorite part of running your own business?
My favorite part of running my business is having the freedom to do something I love while also making a living out of it. I also love being able to serve my clients and have people on my team. I have employees I can really train, and it gives them a creative outlet where they can grow and enjoy.
It’s not just a bakery where we’re on an assembly line. I like to be able to teach and grow, as well as give people a place to grow. It’s something that’s creative and fun and not your usual job.
What are some of the biggest challenges of being a business owner?
For me, the biggest challenges are on the admin side: things like how to do payroll; how to file business things; the legal aspects of everything, like contracts; making sure you’re doing everything correctly; and doing your taxes right. For me—not having gone to business school or running a business before—it was a challenge.
How many hours do you typically work per week?
We can work anywhere from 40 – 60 hours a week. It really depends on our workload and how many events we have going on.
In Houston, our wedding seasons are in the cooler months, spring and fall, while summer is really slow. Summer is when a lot of people in the industry take their vacations. When things are busy, we’ll sometimes have three-four weddings in a weekend.
How does Patriot’s payroll software help you run your business?
It’s really easy to use, and I’m really glad that I found Patriot Software. I feel like it’s pretty straightforward in how you put your employees in, and how they can then go in on their end to enter their hours on their phones. We can both approve the hours, they can see their pay stubs, and it’s all laid out for me as an employer and them as employees.
Everything is in one place, so it’s easy to use on both ends—employer and employee—and I don’t have to focus on tracking their hours.
How have you adapted business operations to handle things beyond your control, like the coronavirus?
So for us specifically, we’re lucky that we can still serve food. We were very quick to adapt. For me, my business relies on weddings and events, so when the CDC said no more events under 50 people, and then 10 people, all of our couples had to postpone or cancel their weddings.
I decided I would do small cake deliveries (contact-less and free locally) and adapt to something with a much quicker turnaround. Whether it’s birthdays or anniversaries, people are still celebrating.
We went from custom cakes to small personal cakes that people can enjoy at home or send to their friends. It’s been amazing how my clients have been surprising friends and family on special occasions with cakes. It allows us to have some social interaction without seeing each other.
Adapting is really evaluating what you can and can’t do in your current situation. We have been getting so many orders every day—I was blown away at how people received it. Even other bakers locally were asking if they could copy my business model! If we’re lucky enough to work, we have to do what we can to pay rent and employees.
What are you most proud of when it comes to your business?
I’m most proud of how quickly it’s grown and how my community has received my business. Supported it so much in such a short amount of time. Being able to have loyal clientele, and continually grow, I feel really lucky that everything has been relatively smooth sailing since starting.
What’s the best piece of advice you could give to someone thinking about starting their own business?
My best piece of advice would be to really know your product or service—whatever you’re offering—and be really passionate about it. Think everything through and don’t be afraid.
Stand behind what you’re offering, and offer something true to you that you’re passionate about, and everything else can be learned and will fall into place.
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