From cakes to candles: how one local baker is using her skills to make dessert-inspired scents

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MILWAUKEE (CBS58) -- A self-taught baker turned cake decorator is venturing into new but somewhat familiar territory as she decides to make wax versions of her favorite desserts.

"I do a lot of cakes. Sneakers, food cakes, 3D people cakes. Stuff like that. Anything you think of, I can pretty much turn into a cake," Owner of Bake Something MKE Tamarra Bryant said.

Bryant, who grew up baking with her grandmother, got serious about cake decorating after working at a bakery inside a local grocery store. It was there she found her passion and decided to go into business for herself. Eventually, she began to offer cake decorating classes.

"A lot of people will just ask me,' how do you do that?' Or 'can you teach me how to do that?' I never really thought to do classes until my fan base kind of started growing on social media, and everyone started asking and I started traveling and doing online classes. I think up to date, I've probably taught around 200 students, either here in Milwaukee or all over," she said.

Making custom cakes and teaching others how to decorate them is Bryant's main focus, but recently, she saw something online that she figured she could start doing.

"I saw a lot of it on Tik Tok, and I was like 'I can do that,'" she explained.

What she saw were candles made to look like food. After seeing several shaped like nachos and other savory dishes, she decided to try her hand at them. As it turns out, this was not her first time dealing with wax.

"I used to do candles with my dad when I was really young, but it wasn't anything out of the ordinary," Bryand said. "It was fun. He used to have us going around knocking door-to-door to sell them."

It was a family business centered around candles. Something Bryant's mom Michelle Rodgers said helped the three siblings bond.

"People would make request candles from them. They just thought it was fun, and it brought their own money, so that was a good thing," Rodgers said. "I just think it's a good thing for her to be able to give her kids that experience that we gave her. I think it's amazing."

With experience in candle making and baking, Bryant knew she could bring something new to the trend.

"I kind of wanted to make it look like the desserts that I make," she said. "I think that makes it a lot easier too because, like the piping and stuff, I know that was hard for a lot of people, but I already had experience with that with cupcakes and cakes and all of that. So, it came really easy. I thought that my first candle was going to look crappy, and I called my mom all excited like 'oh my gosh, look what I made!'"

The mother of five added even more to her plate with the candles, but she tells CBS58 it has also brought her joy.

"That's really the only time I get to have like quiet time. Because I have two toddlers and three older kids so everyone's always in the kitchen, and they want to be in the way. I got to find some time to just have some me time, and it's pretty therapeutic for me. I like doing it," she said.

Bryant went from making candles at a young age with her siblings to having a full menu of dessert-like candles for people to choose from.

People who know Bryant describe her as an entrepreneur, with a support system that always has her back.

"My mom supports me in everything that I do. I'm really lucky to have her. If I was to say I wanted to start selling socks tomorrow, she would have a box of them at my door in the morning," Bryant said.

"I always like to see Tamarra growing. When she tells me she wants to do something, she'll talk about it, and she'll talk about it. So, I feel like I have to just like give her that push. So, whatever she wants to do, and if she mentions something to me, I'm always like the first to get her what she needs," Rodgers said.

It is not just her family that supports her. Bryant said the outpouring of support from those who follow her on social media has been amazing. Just last month, she did a test run of the candles online. She said her entire inventory was wiped out after she posted about the candles on her various social media pages.

"Yeah, a lot of people have been sending me Instagram messages or Facebook messages, like hey 'I saw this, you should do this.' So, it's going to be a lot of new candles coming," she said.

"I know there's a lot of people that do this style, but I don't think that there's a lot of people here in Milwaukee. Maybe that's why so many people are like 'wow,' because they've never seen them before. So, I'm excited to be able to bring it to them. That I get to be the one to bring it to them."

For more information on Bake Something MKE visit their website.


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