By: Danae Edmonds
The first thing I noticed was confections galore on Sugar Euphoria’s Instagram. Hand-painted desserts and beautiful layouts caught my eye and I had to know more. I had the pleasure of visiting Sugar Euphoria and I was so pleased I did! First off, the cases were almost cleaned out so I knew it had to be delicious! One bite and I knew my instincts were correct. Not only were the treats super tasty, but Randi greeted me with a smile and her daughter Finley. The space that she has created felt so warm and welcoming and the rest is basically history. I am so excited to share Randi’s story with you!
Name: Randi Smith
Job Title: Owner at Sugar Euphoria
Education: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and University of North Carolina at Charlotte
1. Tell us a little about who you are.
Hi, my name is Randi and I love creating confections that are both
delicious and gorgeous! Since 2011, I’ve had the pleasure of taking
people to their happy place with my desserts. You’ll love my
different combinations of unorthodox flavors, tweaking of old family
recipes, and designing elaborate cakes and dessert bars. Born and
raised in Nassau, The Bahamas, I now live in Raleigh, NC with my
husband, Jeffery and our daughter, Finley. I’ve deemed myself a
hybrid island/country girl. I’m a disciple of Jesus, a lover of sweet
tea, and an aspiring yogi. I’ve recently become obsessed with
lipstick, I love everything metallic, and have a ton of chambray
blouses in my closet. One of my dreams is to travel the world,
although my happy place is on a beach with a minty drink in hand. Oh,
and I’m a Tar Heel through and through. I absolutely adore being a
part of weddings – I get such joy knowing that my cakes help sweet
couples celebrate a life-long commitment to each other.
2. What sparked your interest in starting Sugar Euphoria?
After spending hours binge-watching Cake Boss during the summer after
college, I figured that I could create cakes like those guys. I
frequently made cupcakes for friends and family members, and wanted to
try my hand at specialty cakes.
3. Do you have a favorite flavor combination or profile?
My answer to this question always changes! Right now I’m loving our
Bahama Mama cupcakes. They’re made with vanilla rum cake and mango
buttercream. So delicious and reminiscent of the islands.
4. Who are you most influenced by?
Career-wise, I’m most influenced by Melody Brandon of Sweet and Saucy
Shop and Jenna Rae of Jenna Rae Cakes. I love the way they’ve created
a name for themselves internationally as the place to go for wedding
cakes and unique desserts.
My parents are also a huge influence. They’ve sacrificed so much for
me to move the States and I feel like I can never thank them enough.
My first job was working as a social and behavioral research assistant
on a study geared toward Women of Color who were HIV positive. I
loved that job so much, but only worked on the project for a year
between undergraduate and graduate school.
6. Can you share a career defining moment with us?
Between 2014 and 2015 I was renting space in two separate kitchens.
The hours were short and I never had enough storage space. I was
getting really frustrated and knew that it wasn’t an ideal situation.
Unfortunately, both of the business closed abruptly and I had little
to no notice with a ton of cake orders ahead of me. On a whim, I
decided to find my own place to spread out and create in a manner that
worked best for me. Luckily, I came across our current space and it
completely changed the structure of Sugar Euphoria.
7. What were your initial goals with your work? How have they evolved?
Initially, I only wanted to take on specialty orders, primarily
wedding cakes. Now, I own and operate a retail bakery where we do
everything from grab-and-go treats to elaborate wedding cakes and
everything in between.
8. What do you think is the most important life skill you learned from
being an entrepreneur?
Work-life balance. It was so easy to get completely immersed in
getting the business off of the ground, but after having Finley I’ve
figured out how to spend time with my loved ones and run a successful
business without burning out.
9. Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
I hope to have a larger bakery and coffee shop where people go to hang
out, have meetings, and get work done. I love my little space, but
we’re quickly outgrowing it.
10. What is a typical day like for you?
I usually wake up around 7:00 AM to feed Finley, get both of us
dressed and eat breakfast. I’m out of the door by 9:30 and headed to
the bakery for 10 o’clock. I typically do an inventory check and run
errands before getting into the kitchen with the girls or doing
administrative work. Oftentimes, I leave the bakery around 4 PM.
Once I get home, I fix dinner, feed the baby and get her ready for
bed. Then I usually eat dinner on the couch while watching a nature
show or Netflix with Jeff. I function best on a good night’s rest, so
I’m usually in bed by 10 PM.
11. What was the biggest obstacle you’ve faced so far in the process
of pursuing your dreams?
Since I’m not an American and haven’t had a SSN or credit for a while,
it has been really tough securing funding. I would love to buy
equipment that will help us grow and make some of our processes a
little easier, but that stuff is really expensive. It would be great
to move into a bigger space, too. Obstacles are meant to be
conquered, so I’m actively seeking a solution.
12. What is the best piece of advice you have received?
Create a business plan and a budget. As a creative, I want to wholly
immerse myself in all of the pretty details and I tend to neglect the
other important things, like finances. After a few hurdles, I
realized that it is really important to balance both aspects of
running a creative business. Also, having a business plan and a
mission will help you create a sturdy foundation for your business.
You can build and expand on it, but it’s so important to stay true to
13. When do you get your best ideas?
They come at random times. Sometimes it’s a conversation with Jeff or
my friends and other times it’s from flipping through a fashion
14. Can you share with us one time that you failed and what you
learned from that failure?
Whew! The first few years of business were HARD. So many unplanned
expenses, especially with owning a storefront. I hadn’t budgeted well
and I was in way over my head. I thought I was going to have to close
up shop, but with the help of my parents and great financial advice, I
was able to turn things around, which is why I think it is so
important to keep a close eye on your expenses and revenue.
15. How do you unwind?
I’m most relaxed when I’m hanging out with my family. I love talking
and laughing with them around the kitchen table. It’s the best way
for me to relieve stress.
16. What would you tell someone else who wants to start their own business?
Create a business plan and a budget! Seriously, I can’t say this
enough. And don’t be afraid to follow your passion.
17. What do you hope people take away from your story?
It’s ok to change paths in life. I went from pursuing two degrees in
Public Health and working in HIV to owning a bakery and I couldn’t be
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