A Piñata Smash Cake is exactly what it sounds like: a gorgeous creation of confectionery that is smashed open with a tiny mallet to unleash a mixture of candy and chocolate goodies that party guests delight in sharing.
Piñata Smash Cake has grown from a home business into both an online and bricks-and-mortar presence.
And that is no small feat in the competitive world of home and corporate catering.
Stephany Rasmusson is the brains behind this Canadian small business success.
A simple beginning
It all started in 2019 with her toddler’s birthday. “I wanted something original for my son’s party, and I was trying to come up with interesting ideas for cakes. I heard through a relative that smash-type cakes were popular in Mexico, where I’m originally from, and I thought it sounded interesting.”
“I did a bunch of research and looked for smash cakes online. I Googled a lot of bakeries and found there was nothing available to order in Canada.”
“I don’t know what possessed me, but I went ahead and found molds online and decided to try to make it myself.”
Though it took over two months of trial and error, Stephany finally cracked the mystery of the smash cake and settled on a recipe she was thrilled with.
“The smash cake was such a big hit at the party. Our family and friends loved it and couldn’t get over how original and fun it was.”
I had never even baked a cake before making this one!
“I thought to myself, ‘I have something good going on with this smash cake.’ I wasn’t looking for a job or work opportunity, as I had left work and recently gave birth to my second child. But it made me start to think about launching a business. I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to run my own business instead of working for someone else.”
Her success came through:
- Hard work
- Many late nights
- Some deceptively simple marketing strategies
Stephany knew that happy customers meant repeat customers and that word-of-mouth referrals were as valuable as gold. Her birthday party smash cake business soon began to take off locally in Stoney Creek and then further afield in Hamilton and Toronto, Ontario.
When life gives you lemons, go online
“When COVID first hit, we had to completely shut down, and that was while I was still working out of my home. That was the biggest hit we took as a business.”
Any other fledgling entrepreneur would have called it a day, but Stephany decided to use that time to revamp the Piñata Smash Cake website.
Enter GoDaddy’s easy website builder, a tool her husband had used for his business in the past. He was so pleased with his results that Stephany decided to give it a try.
“I’m not a very techie person and the GoDaddy Website Builder being easy-to-use was key for me. I was able to do it all myself. They have so many different templates on their website builder that were very aligned with my brand. Everything else was so simple, including adding prices and photos.”
“The online store has helped the business tremendously. We knew we needed to streamline the process for taking and filling orders. It used to be done manually, which was not time efficient.”
“Now, having all the order information in the same place makes it easy for our customers to find what they need and for us to fulfill their orders.”
Updating the website also helped move the business in an entirely new direction, shifting focus from primarily children’s birthday parties to a wider variety of celebrations and social events including:
- Gender reveals
- The hugely successful corporate market
Making lemonade out of candy
“The corporate market is where I feel we have thrived the most,” says Stephany.
When the pandemic hit, a lot of large brand name companies reached out to us online for their year-end gifts.
“Others wanted to use our smash cakes as part of their marketing campaigns. We made nearly 100 custom smash cakes for the largest coffee chain in Canada.”
The successes of 2020 led Piñata Smash Cake to branch out into a rental space in Stoney Creek, Ontario in early 2021. This was, Stephany says, “one of her proudest moments.”
“When I got the keys for our store — it had to be one of the biggest accomplishments for me, a stay-at-home mom who started in her house. In the span of two years, we opened a physical location!”
Growing her company and hiring coworkers has led to a better life-work balance and enabled Stephany to become the voice of her company, a role she took to naturally.
A born entrepreneur, her enthusiastic attitude and charming demeanor made her an easy choice to be featured on GoDaddy’s Moguls In The Making video series about small business owners in Canada.
“It was amazing to be on camera! A little nerve wracking, I’ll admit, but it was flattering for sure!”
“Piñata Smash Cake has also been featured on a few segments with morning TV programs in Toronto (Breakfast Television) and Hamilton (CHCH) for Halloween and Easter.”
The future of fun
“Our long-term goal is to open multiple locations across Canada. We are aiming for this in the next few years. We’ve developed so much since the days when I had to explain what a smash cake was.”
“As time has gone on it’s become so popular, there’s no need to explain the concept anymore.”
Creating a powerful online presence is what helped propel Piñata Smash Cake through the pandemic and into the corporate market beyond birthday parties. Stephany seriously advises up and coming entrepreneurs:
If you haven’t moved your business online yet, now is the time to get your products streamlined and online!
Piñata Smash Cake has a variety of cake options available as well as options for customizable candy mix fillings. Visit PinataSmashCake.ca for more information.