We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennifer Watts and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennifer, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Happy clients! Ultimately, without happy clients, there would be no success nor a business. I am truly thankful to have the most amazing clients. They have literally followed me from one county to another to support my business. I’ve had clients that I’ve created cakes and cookies for starting with a bridal shower, wedding, baby shower and now every year for their kid’s birthdays. It is truly amazing. Every single order gets the same attention, whether a dozen decorated cookies or a 5 tier wedding cake. I put the same quality and love into each order and I think that speaks volumes to my clients. When you love what you do, the world will see it and appreciate it. That is success.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Zell’s Cottage Bakery is a home-based luxury cake and cookie studio in Gainesville, GA. We specialize in the most amazing made-from-scratch confections using premium ingredients and source fresh, local produce when available. While we stay booked with weddings throughout the year, we also offer special occasion cakes and cookies, as well as host incredible Cupcake & Beer Pairings with our local brewery and teach cookie decorating classes.
The era of wholesome home-cooked meals and made-from-scratch baking is fizzling out. We are in a time of convenience. Pre-packaged dinners, take out, boxed cake mixes, frosting in a can, weird, slimy fillings….instant everything. I didn’t grow up in a “convenience home”. We didn’t order take out, we rarely ate dinner out, and my mom didn’t bake out of a box. There’s something nostalgic about the taste and texture of a baked-from-scratch cake. Not only the love that goes into it, but also the flavor, the richness. It’s like no other. It has taken YEARS of research and product development to perfect my recipes. I offer my clients truly amazing treats that are like your grandma used to make, but with a little modern flair. In fact, many of our recipes started in my grandma’s kitchen.
The thing that sets me apart from others is my lack of fear to try something new….to be able to break the mold on traditional designs and flavors, especially when we host our Cupcake & Beer Pairings. We’ve created flavors like Smoked Salmon, Blue Cheese & Fig, Buttered Popcorn, Meat & Potatoes, Sour Pucker, Nerds and so many other fun flavors that really get your mind working.
Getting to where I am has not been an easy road by any means. I’ve been through the ringer. I’ve had to take time away from burnouts. I’ve wanted to throw in the towel on numerous occasions. But it kept coming back to me as if this is what I was meant to do. I have pushed myself to extremes, overbooked myself way more times than I care to admit, but at the end of the day, it’s my passion to share incredible desserts with the world. I truly believe that you feed the heart and soul through the kitchen. Cakes make people smile and I wouldn’t trade that feeling for the world. Am I where I want to be? Not yet. But I’m so proud of how far I’ve come. If you have something that you’re passionate about, keep pushing yourself. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Network. Market. And don’t give up. Others will start to see that love and passion and your business will grow.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I absolutely LOVE to visit the wineries in North Georgia, so I would definitely have to hit up some of our favorites like Cavender Creek, The Cottage Vineyard and CeNita Vineyards. After an afternoon sipping wine, we’d head back to Gainesville for some Mexican food at El Sombrero or amazing seafood at Atlanta Highway Seafood Market. Another fun spot is checking out the local brews from our friends at Left Nut Brewing.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I wouldn’t be where I am today without the love and support from my family. They are true rock stars. Although they do often complain about the massive amount of dishes that are created from a life of baking, but they are there to help with events, deliveries, daily clean up and a lot of taste testing!
Tags Photography captured the first photo with the red, pink and purple as well as the miniature orange cake photo.