Today’s Event Expert Series feature has us chatting with Candice Hunsinger, owner of Cacao Sweets & Treats. Located about an hour outside of Chicago, Cacao Sweets & Treats offers a menu of entirely homemade items, including its vanilla extract! We came across Candice and her team’s work a few months ago when we featured this darling outdoor tea party and this rustic bridal dessert table. Sit back and listen to Candice’s tips and advice for brides-to-be from a baker’s perspective!
Introduce yourself and give us your 60 second elevator pitch.
I am the owner/baker of Cacao Sweets & Treats – a natural, organic, COMPLETELY made from scratch bakery. We make everything from scratch down to our peanut butter and vanilla extract! We bake fresh, daily, including handmade breads!
How did you get into your field?
Baking has always been my passion. After years in the restaurant management world, it was time to do it for myself!
What sets you apart from the rest in your field?
I had the best compliment just the other day – “your buttercream tastes like my grandmother’s. She used actual butter.” That right there is always my goal – I want our baked goods to taste like home that use actual real ingredients! Our specialty is using ONLY natural and organic ingredients, local when possible, and serving up only perfected recipes!
Spill the beans…how do you stay on the cutting edge of this ever changing industry?
I just try to do my own thing – do what I do best and let it speak for itself. Cacao definitely has it’s own style – rustic, yet refined. Classic, yet current. There is always room for classic no matter what the trends are!
What trends are you loving right now?
I love that quality over quantity is a “trend” right now. Of course, that’s my motto, but if anything is going to be a trend, glad that is it!
Best advice you can share with someone planning an upcoming occasion.
Eliminate the idea that you have to keep your guests in mind when planning your life events. Choose what YOU want and everyone else will love it. When your style and personality (and favorite flavors!) shine, your happiness shines, which is the whole cause for the event!
Describe a typical consultation with a bride.
We love to sit down in person with our brides if distance isn’t a factor. We have a gorgeous party room lined with rental pieces, which draws lots of inspiration! We sit down, go over the details of your event – style, colors, venue, etc. and then we dig into the good stuff… cake, candy bars, cheesecakes, whatever their heart desires!
What is something that surprises clients about you/your field?
Our ability to naturally fit into their theme/color scheme. A lot of our customers think that want some elaborate, brightly colored showpiece for their edibles, but we love showing them that even though we only use natural colorings and never use fondant, their showpiece will be just as beautiful!
What information should they have before meeting with you (i.e. head count, budget, theme, colors, etc.)? Why?
We love as many details as we can get! Head count, budget, favorite flavors, photos for inspiration, anything you’ve got!
What questions would you like the bride/client to ask you? What should be asked? We love knowledgeable clients! Ask us what goes into your treats (ingredients). Ask us when we will be baking everything (never more than 24 hours beforehand like most bakeries).
How do you overcome objections brought to you by a potential client? (i.e. Why do you charge so much for 1 day shooting/a cake/food/flowers, etc.?)
We typically don’t have this problem after one bite, but we definitely understand that there is always a bottom line. We let our clients know in the first meeting the range that they may fall in. We have full transparency in our pricing – natural ingredients, made by hand, etc. We also take limited large events. Never more than 2-3 per day. That way, we have a designated person for each event so no detail is lost!
What is your deal breaker/breaking point? Is there anything that when a client asks you say no to/won’t take them as a client? (i.e. ridiculous low budget, extreme/outrageous demand, etc.)
We have had clients try to “negotiate” our prices. We get it – you want the best that your money can by. We don’t over charge for a reason – we want to be fair. And we are not a flea market. We want you to be happy, but the cost is the cost.
Any advice you would like to give to potential clients?
We understand last minute changes, but the sooner you contact us, the better we can serve you! Sometimes, things are lost in translation when we only have a week to plan your wedding dessert table. Having a bit of time gives us the ability to iron out every single wrinkle!
Every party needs…? Cake!
Take time to…? Enjoy!
Splurge on…? Food!
Save on…? Décor (you need less than you think if you have a great venue!)
Why should I hire a wedding planner versus delegating tasks to my family/bridal party?
Professionals exist for a reason! Ask for references, and let them do what they do best!
How can I trust a wedding planner to pull off the wedding I’ve always dreamed of when I’ve just met them?
Plan early enough that you can get a feel for their style and even ask if you can sneak into one of their events for a minute or two to see how they handle things live!
Does wedding planner = wedding designer? Or are they separate?
Oh, not the same! Planners organize your day and keep all of the vendors on task. Designer’s create all of the days details.
Connect with Candice Hunsinger and team on Cacao Sweets & Treats’ website!