About the Biz
- Company Name: Beyond Decadence, Inc.
- Who we talked with: Maria C. Kemp, Pastry Chef/Owner
- Year established: 2014 (In Illinois), 2017 (North Carolina)
- How to Find Them: www.beyonddecadence.com
- Socialize Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Get to Know: Beyond Decadence, Inc.
I am Maria Kemp, Owner and Pastry Chef of Beyond Decadence. Beyond Decadence is Lake Norman’s first and only pop-up bakery. Each American, French, and gluten-free dessert is handcrafted from scratch in a kitchen not open to the public. We then deliver the desserts directly to your desk, yacht, home or venue. Our desserts use only the finest ingredients available and are not made from mixes, nor do they not contain chemicals, fillers, or preservatives. Beyond Decadence provides desserts and dessert catering for private and corporate clients around Lake Norman and Charlotte.
As a business owner, what resource organizations have helped you along the way, and how?
When I moved from Illinois to North Carolina, I knew precisely one person. During my first year and a half here, I did an enormous amount of networking and met a lot of contacts that opened up doors to grow my business. However, when I stop and think about the foundational piece that connected or exposed me to events or resources, it would be CBI (Charlotte Business Inclusion). Another entrepreneur told me about the certification process and all the networking opportunities I would then be privy to. Attending various networking, meet-and-greet, and outreach events provided access and exposure to individuals that would later play a pivotal role in advancing my business.
What has been the biggest lesson learned during your entrepreneurial journey, and how have you used that to grow your business?
Do not give a product, or our time, away for free; the return on investment doesn’t support the loss of revenue or productivity. We’ve learned to donate free product, and time, selectively.
What unique challenges do you face in the business world as a baker? How have you overcome those challenges?
Staying top-of-mind in the absence of a brick-and-mortar location; as well as, continually emphasizing Beyond Decadence’s quality surpasses that of franchises and big-box bakeries. We don’t see either as our competition, so we don’t price our products to compete with them.
I find being very visible in the community and on social media, and showcasing unique desserts, help us stay relevant. As for pricing, we continually look for creative ways to present desserts that can be offered at an acceptable price point while staying consistent with our brand.
What is your most popular pastry or service? Why do you think that is?
Oddly enough, Lemon Bars. They’re refreshing and a traditional Southern treat. We’ve been told repeatedly that ours are the best ever! As for service, clients love the delivery option.
What advice would you give other up-and-coming bakers dreaming of opening their own bakery one day?
Stockpile a lot of money you didn’t borrow, learn as much from seasoned bakery owners, and don’t rush into opening a storefront as they come with a hefty monthly lease payment. Don’t be enticed by the “build it and they will come” mindset. Customers will come but it takes time; plus, the monthly overhead of commercial space is suffocating while building your business.