‘I Do’ What I Do – VOL 1 – Cake Envy

Cake Envy is one of the most sought after cake designers in the Atlanta area. If you’ve seen any of their swoon-inducing cakes, you definitely know why! Cake Envy has been featured in publications such as Modern Luxury Weddings, Southern Bride magazine, The Perfect Palette and many more.

The woman behind this booming bakery is Natalie Bryn. Natalie was nice enough to take some time to chat with me about how she found her way to crafting these amazing cakes.

Lizzie : How did you find your way to cake design?

Nat : I started out As a single mom with 2 toddlers. I was very poor, but wanted to have amazing birthdays for my kiddos. So, having been artistic all my life, I bought a magazine and taught myself to decorate cakes. They weren’t amazing then, but they were far more artistic & creative than what the grocery stores were offering! From that, other kids’ parents started asking me to make cakes for them as well. I was doing small party cakes in the evening for years. In January 2011, I was laid off from my “real job” and that was the jump start I needed to get an actual cake business going. I was able to collect unemployment for 15 months and I hustled like crazy to meet venue owners and others in the industry. I took samples around and would work little staff events for anyone that would have me. At the end of my unemployment I was the preferred provider for about 5 venues who referred me to all of their brides and that is what launched me into weddings!  

L : When you begin designing and creating, what is your process like?

N : Everything is based on the brides desires. We start by seeing pictures of what she likes. From there, I look at the colors, the designs, the pinterest boards. I start dreaming of ways to do something totally unique. I try not to just copy past cakes, but to keep it fresh & new and exciting and give them something that hasn’t been seen before! It’s all based on how many people they’d like to feed and their design/inspo. From there, we dream and throw out ideas until we settle in on something that gets us both excited! This is how I came up with doing Cake Bars! Not that they were a new thing, but I had only ever seen cake bars that looked like a cake bake sale….. so when people would put 5 different ideas in front of me, I had to come up with a way to give them as much of what they wanted, when quite honestly, some inspo was just all over the place and would never look great together on one cake. So instead of sticking it all on the same cake, the idea hit me, “Let’s do a bunch of cakes!”  

L : What is the hardest part of your job?

N : All the administrative, behind the scenes stuff. Juggling emails, phone calls, shopping lists, appointments, contracts, taxes, supplies, inventory, social media, marketing. It’s funny, because people say, “Oh cake!!! What a fun job!” And yes, it totally is! But this is way more than just playing in frosting and creating. There is a huge amount of time doing regular old admin/sales/marketing stuff before I get to the part where I get to be artistic and play! It’s a serious business! But, I still love it! 

L : What is the strangest ingredient you’ve ever used in a cake?

N : Honestly, it’s anything gluten free or egg free. Those recipes are basically sorcery & witchcraft. 

L : What kind of cake did you have at your wedding?

N : I had my all time favorite summer flavor, Coconut rum cake with a key lime mousse (I put the lime in the coconut!). It was amazing! But I had a very simple, at home ceremony with only about 30-40 people, so I didn’t need a big cake! Fun fact, my wedding was actually to RE-marry my husband. We had gone through some awful years and eventually ended up getting a divorce. It was horrible. About 2 years later, after a lot of healing and thought and prayer, we came back together. We were better people. We were more compassionate and more willing to look at. and take ownership for our part in the failure the first time. We were married on the same date (Sept 12th) as our first wedding, so our anniversary date hasn’t changed. It was way more meaningful and emotional getting to say the “I do for better or worse” this time around now that we both truly understood those words deeply.  

L : What is the biggest piece of advice you can give your clients?

N : Depends on the client, but as a blanket statement, I like to tell people to take the time to have a meal after your ceremony. Do it alone, in the back. Sit, relax, breathe, eat. Spend some quiet time together and have your first meal as a married couple alone together while your guests are eating. You’re going to need your strength, and from the minute you show your face in the reception, you’re going to be consumed by well intentioned people who love you and only want to wish you the best, but there will not be one free second for you to do anything! So have a meal, go to the bathroom. Take 20 minutes to breathe and get ready for the best party of your life!!!  

L : What was the biggest adversity you had to overcome on your way to success?

N : I don’t know if I’d call it adversity, but I would say the thing I had to constantly overcome was my desire to be busier and more “elite” than I was. I always wanted to be a little bit bigger & to have a little bit more than I had at the time. I wanted to do better designs. I wanted to be busier. I now know, and advise people who are just starting out, to enjoy the growing process. You never start on top… the top is earned through hard work, consistent effort, wise decisions, and time. I now know that if I had been given my way from the beginning, it would have crushed me under the weight of it all. I needed all those years to learn and to get faster, to get more exact, to encounter the issues that come up & learn to resolve them without blinking an eye. I never could have handled what I do now back then! I needed every bit of the time it took. Time is always a gift, no matter how you get it. So when you have time, use it wisely and appreciate the fact that it’s there!  

L : What is the next step for you? How do you intend to keep growing?

N : I honestly have no idea! I plan to keep learning, to keep growing, to become more & more exclusive and to move into a place where I can do more of exactly what I envision myself doing vs executing ideas from pinterest. I’m already doing a good bit of that, but I’d like to do it even more (Think Jasmine Rae Cakes). I also have started dabbling in a little bit of teaching and I’m getting to explore that during this time of quarantine! So who knows where that may go!  

L : If people want to contact you for more information about your services, how do they do that?

N : I ask that everyone start out on my website with the contact form. It answers basic questions that start the process for us being able to work together! Once we’ve cleared the date, design, venue, and agreed on a general price/budget, we can setup a cake tasting and design session to pick the perfect flavors and design a one of a kind creation that will make them so proud they chose Cake Envy for their cake!  www.CakeEnvyOnline.com

April 10, 2020