PALMDALE – Wendy Gonzalez and Crystal Ruelas are fulfilling their dreams. They made the leap to entrepreneurship and now they’re making a living out of doing what they love.
Gonzalez opened Simply Sweet this past November inside the Palmdale International Shopping Mall, located at 2520 E. Palmdale Blvd.; while Ruelas opened Sinful Treats in October at 40008 10th Street West in Palmdale.
The motivated Antelope Valley residents recently shared how they made the leap from employee to successful business owner.
For Gonzalez, it all started when she decided to make her daughter a specialty birthday cake. After many hours of research and restarts, the cake was finally created and it was a hit! The requests soon began to pour in. For birthdays, weddings, quinceañeras, and baby showers – or even cakes that looked like purses, cartoon characters and pets – family and friends all looked to Gonzalez.
To make sure she was doing it properly, Gonzalez said she watched baking shows on television and spent hours on YouTube. To hone her craft and become a professional, Gonzalez enrolled in UAV’s professional baking and pastry program.
“I wanted learn the science of baking, new and professional techniques, how to control costs, and how to purchase the best supplies within budget,” she said. “I wanted to become certified in professional baking and pastry, and I accomplished that with education, hard work and sticking to it at the university.”
After graduation, Gonzalez went to work at the Los Angeles Country Club, a job she acquired through referral from one of her instructors.
When she was confident her custom cakes were at competition level, she decided it was time to strike out on her own. After a few discussions with her family, her former instructors, and the LA Small Business Development Center on UAV’s campus, Gonzalez prepared a business plan and secured financing. She said she knew it wouldn’t be easy, but she was ready to begin her journey.
Simply Sweet opened November 2014 with a collection of custom cakes, cupcakes, éclairs, napoleon creams, French baguettes, pan dulce, cookies, and more. View a photo gallery on Facebook here.
While browsing and deciding what to order, customers can enjoy a slice of cornbread – baked daily with fresh kernels off the cob!
“I am grateful to my instructors, especially Chef Gino Anaya, without whom I could not have stayed on track,” Gonzalez said. “As an entrepreneur, I must have the same resolve chef taught me – I have to keep my head down and get it done.”
“My entrepreneurial leap is scary sometimes, but with the support of my team and husband, it’s going to work out,” Gonzalez added.
Simply Sweet is located inside the Palmdale International Shopping Mall, located at 2520 E. Palmdale Blvd. in Palmdale. For more information, call 661-718-7193.
Talent, education, family support paved path for Crystal Ruelas
As a child, Ruelas would sit with her parents in front of the television and watch cooking shows. Their home always had the aromas of scrumptious meals, Ruelas said, and at the end of each meal was dessert, which she usually had a hand in preparing. This reinforced her love for cooking, especially baking and pastry, Ruelas said.
Ruelas always knew she would attend a culinary arts school, but she thought it would be in San Francisco or maybe Pasadena. Then she toured University of Antelope Valley, and she knew it was the school for her.
After graduating from UAV’s culinary arts program in 2007, Ruelas worked for renowned baking and pastry chefs, and she spent several years at Universal Studios and Le Bon French Bakery.
“I was tired of working for employers who took advantage of my talent and took my work and creativity for granted,” Ruelas said. “An investor convinced me that I should not waste my time and talent anymore working in Los Angeles for someone else, and instead come back to the Antelope Valley, where I had grown up.”
In October 2014, Ruelas opened Sinful Treats, a dessert shop that specializes in organic artisan ice creams, custom cakes and cupcakes – all made from scratch.
Best sellers include a honey-based ice cream with freshly baked baklava folded in and a refreshing icy Greek frappe.
Sinful Treats also serves many other organic blends of frappes, coffees, and teas, which are brewed with 100% spring water.View a photo gallery on Facebook here.
Ruelas said the local university helped prepare her for entrepreneurship.
“If I had not attended UAV, I would never have thought of taking ownership of my career,” she said. “I learned a lot from my instructors, and they made the difference.”
Sinful Treats is located at 40008 10th Street West in Palmdale (next to Wingstop in the Walmart parking lot). For more information, call 661-274-7688.