In the words of the much beleaguered Janice from ‘Friends’…..Oh….My….God! How chuffed to bits am I to be asked to provide the very first guest blog for the brand new Tring Buzz Website!!! Everything about Tring Buzz just screams of its involvement and support of local businesses, and I couldn’t agree more with that ethos. We are a small but vibrant community here in Tring, and it’s a great place in which to live, work and play. Its actually easy to ‘keep it local’ in such a thriving market town.
So, who am I?
Well, in real life my hubby and I decided to make Tring our home in 2006, buying a house that needed a LOT of work, and a German Shepherd puppy, who also apparently needed a lot of work! We are incredibly lucky with our great neighbours, and when we aren’t at home we can generally be found atone of Tring’s great restaurants or bars with a bottle of red wine, or trudging around Tring Park in our wellies (generally with the dog).
In work life I’m a cake artist. I used to refer to myself as a cake maker, but that isn’t really the whole truth. I do of course make cakes, but I decorate them in a way that makes you want to take lots of photos before you eat them!
Here’s some good examples:
My company is called Sherry Hostler Cake Artistry, and I make very unique cakes for weddings, birthdays and any other celebration you can think of. I also provide cake decorating classes for anyone who wants to learn the art or just to have lots of fun!
Before I dipped my feet into the cut throat world of cake decorating, I wasted an inordinate amount of years floating from one nine to five job to another, and I loathed it. I was sick of lining someone else’s pocket, sick of being underpaid and sick of all the politics. Eventually I found myself working as a marketing assistant in a very beige office, where even the plants were on a bid to starve themselves to death as an easy escape. It got so bad there, that I used to spend most of the journey to work every day in tears. Cue the violins. Obviously it got to the point where my husband got sick of seeing me looking like Alice Cooper with my face covered in mascara, and he suggested that I actually tried doing a job that didn’t make me want to shoot myself.
You can see his point!
I ummed and aahed for a while before I finally decided on doing a cake decorating course with West Herts College. Both my parents were arty types, which meant I had to have a few of their genes tucked away somewhere. I spent two years learning the basics of cake decoration, and as it turned out, I was pretty good at it too. My first ever booking for a birthday cake was for a friends 40th birthday. I was extremely excited, and I planned and sketched and came up with the perfect design for this cake, before realizing that I didn’t actually even have a recipe for a simple sponge!
Anyway, to cut a very long story short, I rang a friend in the middle of the night, got a recipe, and made the cake, which in turn received glowing thanks. From that moment on I was hooked. It wasn’t so much the minimal payment that I received for it, but the unadulterated joy of being praised. Obviously that does wear off after a while though, when you realise that you cannot live on love alone.
It was at this point though, that what was essentially a hobby, really turned into a viable business. I started off on a part time basis but before long the order board got so full that I could eventually afford to quit my horrible office job and go full time. As a leaving gift I was presented with a beige mixing bowl and Im happy to say that it is now the only beige thing that resides in my kitchen.
For nearly ten years I ran my business single-handedly from my home kitchen, which was the perfect solution for a long time, but I did actually reach the point about five years in, where my house could have been featured in “Britain’s Worst Hoarders” as there was cake paraphernalia literally everywhere!!!
My customers over this period of time have ranged from friends and family, all the way up to a few famous faces that you might have seen on the telly. Most importantly though the majority (and best) of my clientele come from Tring and the surrounding areas. All of my customers have helped me on my journey, and I have to say Ive been asked to make some very ‘interesting’ cakes over the years, including body parts, chickens, dogs, skeletons, even a very shapely bottom! What can I say?…… It never gets boring.
I’ve always continued to try and challenge myself too, by trying out new methods, some more successfully than others. There was the incident of ‘Tardis Gate” for example, where I had made a 3D Tardis, which looked absolutely fine when I went to bed, but overnight decided to morph into the leaning tower of Pisa. I decided to do the only reasonable thing, and throw it out of the window in disgust! I do believe you can still find the video if you type in “Flying Tardis Cake” on You Tube.
Nevertheless I do love a challenge, and Ive tried lots of different things over the years to grow my company. Ive entered cake decorating competitions, some successfully, and some not so. The on-line shop selling cake decorating equipment was an absolute disaster, which sucked up lots of time and money, before I gave up and sold all my stock to a local shop, and there’s the ongoing time-management issues of trying to maintain a life and then stupidly agreeing to make a cake shaped like the Eiffel Tower just because I’m really bad at saying no. You’d think I’d learn wouldn’t you? but to this day, I pretty much work 7 days a week.
More positively, I absolutely love helping people to celebrate their big occasions, I’m a regular project designer for two magazines, a preferred supplier to some fabulous venues across the country, and a multi-award winner in the world of cakes!! Is that a trumpet I can hear blowing???
I’m very happy to say that my company is now supporting itself, and its grown from being a small part time home venture into a full time, satisfying business in a dedicated studio in Wilstone. Im lucky enough to be able to help people’s dreams come true on a daily basis, and the people in this fantastic community of Tring have helped me to do that.
I still have days where I look like this:
But now I have the opportunity to eat cake for breakfast, they are few and far between!
If you would like to see some more examples of the cake art that I provide or enrol onto a class yourself, come and find me at www.sherryhostlercakeartistry.com