Yesterday (July 25th) we had a chance to sit down and interview Emily Herbig, the Wedding & Event Sales Manager at Heavenly Cupcake
MGT Q: You want to tell us anything specific about yourself or the store before we jump into our questions?
HC A: To star off we are Heavenly Cupcake and Cute Cakes. Cute Cakes was our original store in Escondido, so they bought out Heavenly Cupcake downtown just to expand so we could do all of the San Diego area – as far as Temecula, as far as all the way down south we can really cover everything. We kept the name “Heavenly Cupcake” just for marketing purposes because everyone liked Heavenly Cupcake and knew it already. So the majority of our business is events, cakes, parties, corporate parties, stuff like that… and obviously Comic Con is a huge part of our store as well.
MGT Q: We know that the owners are self-made business people/entrepreneurs without any formal culinary training – what tips do you have for other people looking to do the same?
HC A: Well, our owners are Dave and Jill, they’re husband and wife. Now she never went to baking school, she never went to any sort of professional culinary anything – she just had a passion for it. So what we think, and what my advice would be is “you have a passion for this, you have a love for it and people can see that – and that’s how you grow.” We found we loved what we did, and Jill had a passion for it, and she just started producing beautiful things – and people could tell that she put her passion into it, and people loved it.
MGT Q: So how long have you been with Heavenly Cupcake? And what is your role?
HC A: I’ve been with them almost two years now. My role is the wedding and events sales manager, and store manager, and all social media.
MGT Q: Could you go over some of the awards you’ve won and which one means the most to you?
HC A: Hoo – let’s see if I can remember them all: we are in Wedding Wire; Bride’s Choice Award; we’ve won the Chocolate Festival – I love the chocolate one because we won the Chocolate Festival and we had the best fudge there, which I thought was really cool out of all the chocolatiers there; let’s see – I think the most honorable one for us is the Gaslamp Award, we won best desserts in the Gaslamp. I think they’re all in different directions – if we’re talking about right now to you guys I’d say the Best Desserts in Gaslamp, if I was sitting with a bride I would probably say Best of the Knot because Best of the Knot Wedding is the all-be-all.
MGT Q: What’s next for you?
HC A: Well – we’re thinking about opening another store, we’re also toying with how to ship our product [outside of the San Diego area], and we’re also just thinking about expansion – so expanding this store, expanding our Cute Cakes[original] store and then opening another store; so that’s what we’re moving towards.
MGT Q: Did the original store keep the Cute Cakes name?
HC A: The other store has a joint logo – so it has the Cute Cakes and the Heavenly Cupcake.
MGT Q: We know that Comic Con is a huge event in your area – how does it feel to be a part of that?
HC A: It is so fun. Last night, actually, Access Hollywood came in – they’re doing an interview with Harry Potter/Daniel Radcliffe today, and we made his birthday cupcakes. So his new movie where he has the horns (Horns, October 31) – so his cupcake looks exactly like that with the horns. We were all super-excited and star-struck. Stuff like that is just really cool to be a part of. We’re doing all of the events down at the Hard Rock. We did the – have you guys been to the Hard Rock for The Hunger Games? (No, we had not at this point) Not yet? So they turned 207 into Peta’s bakery from The Hunger Games and we’re doing all the desserts for that. We just feel so very honored to be a part of so many different events downtown, and to have a huge crowd of people – I had a guy come in yesterday and he was wearing his “Nom-nom Cupcake Comic Con” shirt from last year, and he said “I wore it all day at ComicCon. I was repping you guys, I love you guys.” And I was like really, out of all the superheroes or people you could be – you chose to rep our cupcake nom nom shirt: I thought that was really cool he loved us so much, y’know, and he came in to show me.
MGT Q: So you guys do t-shirts – what else do you do for Comic Con?
HC A: Well, we’re doing “The Riddle to Heaven”, so every single day is a different riddle; and they all have to do with different characters from Disney to Marvel – all over the board, so that anyone can be interested. And then on the seventh day – on Sunday, there’s going to be an overall riddle which has to do with something all of them are part of. And we’re going to give away a Comic Con dozen designer cupcakes, pretzel bouquets, cake pops. We’re also doing the superhero of the day – so a lot of our cupcakes have little superhero ring on top, so you can pick your own kind, like “I want a strawberry with Thor on top”; and then at 5 ‘o’ clock the superhero of the day gets turned out, and you say “So it’s Thor, Awesome.” Then you get a prize: you can get a Comic Con shirt or you get one of our cupcake designer shirts. I’m just trying to make it interactive and something a little different. Last year we did “Buy one of our Comic Con designer t-shirts, get a free cupcake.” So I wanted to switch it up because a lot of people were asking if we were doing the same thing, and I didn’t want to do the same thing. It’s fun and all the girls have fun with it. If you guys all came in, we’d all want to take pictures with you – it’s all like that. (Disclaimer: we were all in full Star Wars apparel while conducting this interview, who wouldn’t want to take a picture with us.)
MGT Q: What’s the most challenging order you’ve ever seen?
HC A: The Sycuan Casino way up north – we did a huge, huge, huge order which made us start setting up at 2am and we stopped setting up at 8am. And we had to do multiple shipments which is an hour both ways, and we had ginormous cakes which we had to place all there going multiple which-ways, we had 3-D sculptures, and we had to do that there all overnight. It was a humongous order and all kinds of crazy.
MGT Q: So that’s the most challenging – how many special requests would you say you get for Comic Con?
HC A: For Comic Con? This year I think we had the most ever because it seems like every hotel wanted to use us for their bakery and pastries – which is awesome, but we are a mom and pop shop, y’know. That’s what I think is great: is that so many people wanted to use us, but we’re not a huge corporation – it’s just gotten around word-by-word. I would say this year we’re doing – let’s see – six different events.
MGT Q: What’s the most interesting order?
HC A: Oh… I would say recently would be this Hunger Games order because before that, honestly, I had not seen The Hunger Games. When they first brought us in before we knew what to expect she was showing me all this stuff – like President Snow’s rose cupcake – and I was on this conference call with all these people from The Hunger Games and Hard Rock and me, and I don’t know what I’m talking about. So I was like, oh my gosh – I’m going home and that’s all I’m doing tonight: Hunger Games. I was watching the movies, I was reading the synopsis – I had to know, we had to do every single dessert just like in the movie. And now I know everything.
MGT Q: I guess one of the last questions we have is do you have a favorite sci-fi/fantasy/nerdy show or character?
HC A: Hmm. I would have to say I love Wonder Woman. I love Wonder Woman – she’s my girl. We had one of our girls come in dressed as her the other day, and I just love her.
MGT Q: Last question – what’s your favorite cupcake?
HC A: Ooh – my personal favorite is the Salted Vanilla Caramel. It’s sweet, it’s salty, it’s got a vanilla bean frosting. You cannot go wrong with it. It’s the very first cupcake I tried when I was hired, and I fell in love. (We tried it – it’s pretty awesome)
Food On The Fly
Located in San Diego’s posh Gaslamp District, this quaint little bakery setting produces some of the tastiest little snacks this Foodie has ever had. Disclaimer: I’m not a cake/cupcake (they do so much more) guy. Outside of a nice rich New York-style cheesecake I’ve just never had an affinity for the sweets. I’ve got to say they converted me: hands down, no questions. The Ministers stopped by to start our Friday Comic Con adventures and tried a variety including: S’mores, Deep South Chocolate, red velvet swirl aka Twisted Love, and our favorite a Salted Vanilla Carmel. Delicate, not dense, cake. Completely flavorful, light frosting – almost reminding me of being hand-whipped (I need to know their secret), and eye-appealing candy garnish. A must stop for us now, it’s a totally fun atmosphere for cosplayers as well (pictures with the crew). Every time we come back we’ll schedule our breakfast at Heavenly Cupcake!
Heavenly Cupcake is located at 518 6th Ave. San Diego, CA 92101, they can be reached at (619) 235-9235 and are open for all your dessert needs.
Thanks for having us!