Scarlett and Paul Kilzer bake delicious treats that are so unique they go beyond just being cupcakes.
They are called “yums,” and they gave the couple’s business it’s name.
The Kilzers started Cupcake Yum Yum five years ago, with a cottage license to bake out of their home and a couple of weddings on the calendar.
They don’t have a storefront. Instead they’ve chosen to stick with a catering business they operate out of their commercial kitchen in Dublin.
“We had a trial period to see if it made sense to do wholesale through Stauf’s coffee shops. It was a great opportunity for us to work with them, but we realized that wasn’t congruent with where we were headed,”Paul said. “This year we’re scheduled for 40 to 50 events.”\
The couple has chosen to focus on catering corporate, community and private events. Paul’s background in sales and marketing has helped them establish a solid foundation in that market, Scarlett said.
“Paul has more than a little experience in sales: He has 20 years worth of background,” she said. “I was a quiet little mouse until he helped teach me self-promotion and how marketing works.”
Scarlett paid for college by working at Handke’s Cuisine, a landmark of Columbus food for decades, where she was originally inspired to combine her artistic skills with her love of desserts.
“I loved the creativity there and after seeing the back end of a high-end restaurant kitchen, I got the bug,” she said. “A friend asked me to do a wedding cake for them, so I experimented. I had no idea what I was doing but I did a ton of research and it was a hit.”
After a while, Scarlett said, she became tired of the traditional flavors clients looked for in wedding cakes.
“I got bored doing the same flavors so I gravitated toward the appetizer-size cakes that Handke’s made, so that’s the size of our cupcakes: two bites,” she said. “When we started, we’d think up the weirdest combos and one day Paul said, ‘Let’s put bacon in a cupcake,’ and it’s become one of our most popular flavors.”
According to Paul, that experimentation, along with Scarlett’s attention to detail, has been Cupcake Yum Yum’s main key to success.
“Scarlett’s unwilling to do this halfway. She’s obsessive about research,” he said. “If she has an idea, you can’t tear her away from it until she’s gotten to the bottom of it fully.”
The couple didn’t intentionally set out to be a gluten-free business but Paul uses said this is an example of his wife’s commitment to perfection, which he describes as “her passion for digging in and really understanding what she’s doing until she’s created something amazing.
“That’s why we get people normally uninterested in gluten-free products eating our cupcakes without knowing they are and being surprised,” he said. “Gluten-free or not, they’re just really delicious.”
Scarlett said it is important to embrace failure and the competition as well.
“Picking yourself up after you fail is key,” she said. “You can’t be afraid of that, and you have to understand your competition and embrace them. There’s plenty of business for everyone — you just have to find your niche.
“Personally though, Paul went through a year of chemo for cancer during this, and another key for me is balance. You can always replace money but you can’t replace family.”
Cupcake Yum Yum is committed to working with other local producers to obtain as many of their ingredients as possible locally and organically, Scarlett said, including their bacon.
More information about Cupcake Yum Yum is available online www.cupcakeyumyum.com.