Hello, hello! And welcome to another Feature Friday blog post! I’ve been highlighting some amazing women from Indy recently, and today we’ll take a little pivot away from weddings, into the small event and workshop world! I’m SO thrilled to have Asia Coffee on the blog today sharing her talents with us.
The first time I met Asia was at a small event that the co-founders of Hive Indy hosted for all of their speakers and sponsors. I’ve been following Asia on Instagram ever since, and love seeing the creative things she is doing. Read on to hear from her and learn about her business!
Tell us a little bit about yourself, where you’re from, and what you’re passionate about.
My name is Asia Coffee (yes, that’s my real name), and I’m the woman behind “Cakes by Coffee”. I’m an Indianapolis native, and I have a passion for cake decorating! I’ve been sharing my passion through teaching cake decorating classes and workshops since 2012. I also create custom cakes and other sweet treats for small celebrations throughout the year. I aim to help others realize their creativity through cake decorating and gain an appreciation for cake artistry!
Can you share a little bit about Cakes By Coffee? How you started, and what that journey has looked like?
I had tried a few hobbies; photography, sewing, etc. but nothing really stuck with me. A co-worker I had at the time encouraged me to try a cake decorating class at a local cake supply shop, so I signed up and took the class with my mom. I really, really enjoyed it! At the end of one of our classes, my instructor (who was also the store owner) leaned over to me and said “You’re really good at this. Have you thought about teaching?” That was the turning point. I kept practicing and improving my skills, then I applied to be a Wilton Method Instructor about a year later. Wilton is a major manufacturer of cake decorating supplies worldwide, and they maintained independent instructors around the globe.
I started offering classes at Hobby Lobby in Avon. Next, I started teaching at the Hobby Lobby in Carmel/Westfield, then I eventually picked up Michaels in Traders Point. After that, I had opportunities to offer classes and workshops through OASIS, Ivy Tech, and Marion County 4-H. In 2018, Wilton discontinued it’s education program. This was devastating news… This meant that there would no longer be Wilton instructors in the US and Canada. Instructors who taught at Michaels, JoAnn and other retailers were greatly affected, as they could no longer teach at those stores. All instructors could still teach, however we had to find our own locations. We also could not refer to ourselves at “Wilton Method Instructors” or say that any of our class material was a part of a “Wilton” class. I was still able to teach at Hobby Lobby, so I did. I found out about The Hatch by chance in 2017, and started offering classes there.
Last year, I decided to revive the YouTube channel that I’ve had since 2011. I’ve been really consistent this year and hit the 1,000 subscribers mark just last week! The COVID-19 pandemic put a damper on in-person classes, and I had to get comfortable with teaching virtually via Zoom. Having a YouTube channel has still allowed me to share my passion for cake decorating with others, everywhere. People who are interested in taking a class can go to my channel for a head-start!
What kinds of events do you work with – weddings, private parties and events, others?
I make cakes, cupcakes, cookies and cake pops for small gatherings; usually birthday and graduation parties! I’m available for any occasion if it’s a private cake or cupcake decorating party/workshop. No special occasion necessary!
For people planning parties or events, what advice would you give on how soon to reach out about working with you?
The earlier the advance notice, the better! However, at least a month’s notice is appreciated!
Can you share a little bit about what the process working with you looks like for decorating workshops and private parties?
Anyone can contact me by sending an inquiry via my website: www.cakesbycoffee.com; or sending me a message on Facebook or Instagram. During our first conversation, I confirm the date and occasion. Then, I ask questions to get a sense of the attendees’ cake decorating experience. I work with my host to figure out what would work best for their get-together and what to expect. Each one is a little different!
What if someone has NO clue about baking or decorating – are your workshops geared toward beginners, or can a variety of skill levels attend?
My classes and workshops are geared primarily towards beginners; no experience necessary! If there is someone who tells me that they already have some experience, I make it a point to give them some intermediate/advanced tips. That way, they come away from the experience feeling like they learned something new. Most of my students already enjoy baking, so they take my class to learn how to make their baked goodies look beautiful!
What’s a good starting point that hosts should expect to budget for workshops or private parties with you?
About $25 per person to start. I typically provide all supplies. This makes it easier for everyone to simply show up and have a great time!
You mentioned you have a Youtube channel – can you share how that process started and what people can find when they come over to follow you on that platform?
I posted my first YouTube video in 2011 to demo how I created a plaque for a cake using the “royal icing run-out” method. I didn’t expect much, as I really just posted the video for fun. I let my channel sit for 5 years before I posted my next video.
Looking back, I only posted about one video per year. Though I was rarely active, I kept getting subscribers! One person left a comment encouraging me to keep posting, and that motivated me to keep going. I committed to staying consistent starting this year, and I’ve posted more videos since January than I’ve ever posted. It’s been really exciting! My channel is for anyone who has an interest in cake decorating. I have videos geared toward beginners, those at an intermediate level and even a few “advanced”skills videos. A majority of my videos are step-by-step tutorials, but I also have several videos where I offer tips and share cake decorating advice!
Where do you work, do you have a studio, or a home space?
I wish I had a studio! I still teach classes at Hobby Lobby in Carmel/Westfield and at The Hatch in Broad Ripple. I’m working some new class locations as well. Additionally, I work out of my home as a home-based food vendor and a YouTube content creator. Most of my YouTube videos are recorded during the day (for the amazing natural light). I detach and erase the audio. Then, I write a script and record in my special sound room at night: my closet! I typically add and edit the voiceover into the video last.
What is something you love to create just for fun – not work related?
I was really into making pancake art a while back! The whole process is really fun. Because it’s pancake art, my family really got to enjoy it!
What’s been a really memorable design or party/workshop you’ve done in the past? Can you share a little about it and why you loved it so much?
My most memorable party/workshop was one hosted by a lady who just wanted to host a “girls-day-in” for her co-workers. One of them in particular had been having a rough time, and everyone wanted to come together, have a great time, and not have to think about work. It was a rainy, early afternoon, and we all just decorated cupcakes in the host’s sunroom. It was so calming/relaxing/chill/laid-back.
Is there anything else you would want to share that I might have missed?
My husband and I are parents to four boys, ranging in age from 19 months to 16 years old. Of course, I love making their birthday cakes! I’m also a Sugar Angel for the organization Icing Smiles, through which I volunteer my time and talent to provide a cake to families who have been impacted by the illness of a child.
Ok, so I want to end all my interviews with these same questions:
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Surprisingly, I really enjoy watching YouTube videos that are not related to cake decorating!
What’s your favorite tv show right now? Outlander on Starz. It’s in between seasons right now… 🙁
What’s something you’re really proud of?
Each week, I post a “Student Spotlight” featuring a creation by my past students. I’m really proud of my students and the beautiful work they choose to share! This makes me feel like I’m making a positive impact on the lives of others.
Are you a night owl or an early bird?
Definitely a night owl…. I typically don’t go to bed until after midnight!
What is one big dream you have for the future?
I would love to compete on a Food Network show one day!
A huge thank you to Asia for sharing a bit of her amazing talents with us! I loved reading when she said she aims to help others realize their creativity: how beautiful is that?! I think we all have creative parts to us, and it’s so wonderful when people like Asia help us tap into our creativity.
Maybe you are looking to expand your hobbies this year, explore a new class, polish up your old baking skills, looking for a creative way to host a party, looking for amazing desserts for your next private event, or just want to relax with friends while you get instruction from a talented baker. Go check out Asia’s info on her website, follow her on Instagram, and don’t forget to subscribe to her YouTube Channel!
If you are a creative in the wedding or events world here Indy, or you know someone who is, send me a message and I would love to feature them here and spread the love!