Taylors Business Becomes Frontier For New Financing Model
Cake Notice, which opened in February and has continued to grow its operations, is the first Smallknot campaign in South Carolina.
For Molly Simons, the last four months has been a whirlwind of activity. In February, she opened her custom cake business, Cake Notice. The idea at the outset was to harness her reputation for creating unique custom-designed cakes, and to have in-store cupcake retail serve as a way to simply get passersby through the door.
"It's fun that people are still discovering us. That's reassuring," Simons said. "The neighborhood has been so supportive and positive."
Driven by strong consumer response and an aggressive pace of growth, Cake Notice has broadened its appeal in just a few months. The shop now offers fresh-roasted coffee from Leopard Forest Coffee in Travelers Rest, as well as locally-baked artisan breads from Hoot & Challah and Simple Gifts Artisan Bread to go along with their constantly evolving cupcake flavors and custom cake business.
Now, Simons, a Furman University graduate, is hoping to raise $2,500 so she can stock even more locally-produced goods on the retail side of her business.
Smallknot, a crowd funding platform geared at providing micro-financing for small businesses, was founded by Jay Lee and Ben Rossen and until this point has focused mainly on local campaigns in New York. The business model relies on everyday people, not banks or wealthy investors, to provide funding.
"The way it works is that people can pledge to one of their businesses, and if the campaign reaches its goal, they will be repaid in kind — with goods, services, perks or special events. The great thing is that the repayment will be something really valuable — so if you're contributing $100, you could easily get $120 to $200 back in value from the business, whether that comes in free stuff, lessons or other ways," Lee said.
Simons so far is a little more than $600 to her goal, with two weeks left. Both Simons' funds and investors' returns of goods and services are only realized if her $2,500 fundraising goal is met.
Cake Notice's campaign represents Smallknot's first campaign in South Carolina. The project offers a variety of deals for investors; $10 for six cupcakes (a $15 value), or a $60 investment for 24 custom company logo cupcakes, all the way up to a $300 investment in exchange for a kids decorating party.
To Simons, who is working with Smallknot's local representative Sydney Williams, as well as Lee, the new platform is indicative of her generation's dissatisfaction with current economic state of affairs.
"I think that Jay and I and Sydney are all cut from the same cloth in that we're all educated, and we're all products of a generation that graduated into a recession," Simons said. "I think the trend in young people being supportive of local business, instead of big box stores, is a reaction to that."
"I think over the past 20 years, you've seen these (small businesses) businesses turn into fossils," she added.
Cake Notice is located at 1316 Stallings Road in the Pebble Creek area of Taylors.