When Robyn Fietz was growing up, all she wanted to do was watch “Cake Boss.” Fast-forward 10 years or so and Fietz has become her own boss of sorts. Her product of choice? Cake pops.
Originally from Edgewood, Washington, Fietz is a sophomore at Gonzaga University who has a keen understanding of the business world and knack for decorating cakes, which have translated into a high-functioning baking business. Her colorful logo adorns business cards boasting the name “Cake Pop Girl LLC” and GU students might recognize her booth in John J. Hemmingson Center every Wednesday.
Growing up, her grandfather owned his own butcher shop while her father owns a certified public accountant (CPA) firm in Federal Way, Washington.
“It kind of runs in the family,” said Fietz, whose cake pops can be purchased online at cakepopgirl.shop.
While it seems, based on her background, Fietz was blessed with the entrepreneurial spirit, her passion for cake pops is completely her own.
After winning a cake pop cookbook at a fifth-grade bingo night, Fietz began making them for fun and occasionally selling to friends and family.
“I didn’t really think much about it,” Fietz said. “But over time, it just started evolving to where friends of friends started buying them.”
On the recommendation of a family friend, Fietz decided to set up a Facebook page advertising her small business. Within the first 24 hours, a legitimate business began to take shape.
“I instantly got five orders from family and friends that day, trying to support me,” Fietz said. “It got to the point where I needed to make it an actual business for it to be legal.”
A sophomore in high school at this point, Fietz insured her business and certified her house in Edgewood so that her cake pops could be legally made and sold from the comfort of her own home.
This means, according to Fietz, her home is inspected yearly by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department just like any other legitimate business.
From there, her success continued to grow. She began filling orders for various weddings, parties and other events. Cake Pop Girl LLC grew to the point of wholesale, as Fietz had local coffee shops reaching out to her to order large quantities of cake pops to be sold in store.
With the possibility of wholesale on the horizon, Fietz was forced to expand from her home to a commercial kitchen, which she rents hourly.
Five or six years later, Fietz said she attributes all her success to that first cake pop cookbook.
“If I hadn’t gotten that book, I really don’t think I would have started my business,” Fietz said.
Her business and credibility have increased as she moved operations with her to Spokane to begin college at GU. When needed, Fietz rents out a commercial kitchen in Spokane Valley by the hour.
She sells at the Wednesday Bazaar in Hemmingson while also accepting large orders from faculty members and sells at a pop-up shop in the downtown Nordstrom.
“I buy a minimum of a dozen from her every time at the Wednesday Bazaar,” said Amy Guth, the business service manager for GUEST and facilitator of the Bazaar.
Guth said Fietz approached her at the beginning of Fietz’s freshman year about selling at the Bazaar and ever since, has brought an air of uniqueness with her business.
“Right off the bat, as a freshman, she already had the total business sense,” Guth said. “I was always really impressed at how she stood out.”
The “business sense” described by Guth has translated into Fietz’s academic life at GU. As a participant in the Hogan Entrepreneurial Program, she is studying accounting and entrepreneurial leadership.
“When we are learning stuff in class, a lot of times, I will apply it to my business to help me understand,” Fietz said.
Despite only being in her second semester of Hogan, her understanding of the inner workings of the industry surpass most, made evident as she stressed the importance of her name over the actual product.
“The value is in the name and the brand versus the actual product because anyone can make a cake pop,” Fietz said.
Fietz said she witnessed this at a cookie dough shop called DŌ while on the New York Business Trek hosted through GU.
“There was a two-hour line just to get cookie dough and, I mean, it’s cookie dough,” Fietz said. “It’s not like it’s that great, but it’s the name.”
In addition to an in-depth understanding of the business world, Fietz also demonstrates capability when it comes to creating the cake pops, despite being self-described as “incredibly uncreative.” Cake Pop Girl LLC is almost single-handedly run by Fietz with occasional help from a friend at home.
“My mom used to help me with my orders, but she messed up one time and I was like, ‘You’re done,’” she said.
This cutthroat nature may be unexpected, especially in association with a woman who made Mickey and Minnie mouse cake pops for a child’s birthday party. However, when Fietz has to hand-produce nearly 1,000 cake pops in a matter of days to fill orders for Christmas, it’s necessary.
“I remember that very first order I made about 100 [cake pops],” she said. “It took me and my mom all day.
“Now, I can make 600 in about five hours just because I’ve gotten it down.”
For anyone else dreaming of starting their own bakery business, Fietz had advice.
“It has to be something that you are truly passionate about,” she said. “Anyone can create a business but if it’s something you enjoy doing, you’re going to put more effort into making sure it’s just right.”
Fietz tentatively models the future of her business after the cookie dough shop, DŌ.
“If I can get my business to be that big, then I would stick with it,” she said. “But for now, my plan is to do the five-year accounting program here and probably become a CPA or eventually a partner at an accounting firm.”
Despite this, Guth joked she doesn’t need to go to school.
“She’s just a shining star,” Guth said. “I used to tell her, ‘You don’t even need a degree, you’ve got it all figured out.’ She would laugh and say, ‘Yeah, but my parents wouldn’t be very happy.’”
Fietz remains at GU, in spite of Guth’s lighthearted suggestion, and the little girl, who simply wanted to watch “Cake Boss”, continues to find success in her cake pops for one reason.
“It’s just something I truly enjoy,” Fietz said.