Jennifer Welter, our NJ Mompreneur of the Week, has always had a spontaneous streak—it was what led her to join the military after high school, have a career as an organ and tissue recovery specialist, and have a few businesses. But through all her career changes, one thing that remained steady was her love of baking. So after a particularly frustrating shopping trip where she couldn’t find the finishing touches for a cake or help in the creation, she knew she’d found her next business. She launched Shore Cake Supply, a one-stop shop with tools, ingredients, classes in baking, and lots of inspiration to make the most beautiful and delicious cakes, cookies, and other sweet treats. And wanting to share the baking love (and ideas), Jennifer eventually launched a sister business, Jersey Shore Cake & Cookie Convention, where pro, novice, and beginning bakers watch live demos, attend hands-on classes, network, and experience so much more. We caught up with this Neptune mom of two teen boys to find out who inspires her daily, her family’s surefire way to relieve stress, and the NJ camping spot she can’t wait to head to this summer.
Please share a bit about your career path and how (if at all) it led you to this business. My career path has been anything but straight. Deep down inside, I think I always knew I wanted to be my own boss, but initially, I planned on going into nursing after high school. I was a candy striper and had always volunteered—helping people has always been part of my DNA. Still, instead of going into nursing, I joined the military and ended up working as a surgical technician. I followed that up with a stint at Community Medical Center and the NJ Sharing Network as an organ and tissue recovery specialist. I loved it and sometimes miss it, but it wasn’t conducive to raising my family. Working 24-hour shifts and having to drop everything at a moment’s notice to get where I had to go wasn’t easy. I knew I needed more of a routine and launched a few businesses before this one. Shore Cake Supply happened because I’ve always baked for my family and gatherings. I was shopping at Michael’s, and I came home so frustrated because I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for and get the help I needed. I wished there was a place that was a step up for baking supplies. By the time I came home, I’d already decided to launch a baking supply business and even had the name of it in my head, though it was 18 months of research and planning.
How has your business changed since you launched it? We officially launched on March 8, 2014, a pleasant surprise date since it’s International Woman’s Day, which is definitely apropos. Since then, we’ve moved to a larger location to carry even more supplies and add more classes. In 2019, we created a sister business where we hosted the Jersey Shore Cake & Cookie Convention. It was a huge success, but the pandemic put it on hold for the last three years. This year it’s going to be at Monmouth University on September 23rd and 24th. Over the weekend, attendees meet with industry leaders, shop supply vendors, enter a competition, learn new skills, and connect with other like-minded people.
Jennifer’s business has grown to include the Jersey Shore Cake & Cookie Convention, where attendees from pros to beginners learn baking skills and connect with other like-minded bakers.
What sets your business apart from other baking supply shops out there? I know it sounds cliché, but we really do have that small-town personal touch. We’re on a first-name basis with 80% of our customers and have shared countless stories and been a part of them getting married, having babies, and other happy and not-so-happy occasions. We know so much about each other’s lives. Cakes and treats are a big part of making memories, and it’s such an honor that we can be a part of that. Often, customers will proudly show us photos of their creations or come to us for guidance to help them hash out what they want to do.
Happy customers making chocolate lollipops at a Shore Cake Supply class.
Is there anyone in particular who’s been an inspiration to you? My husband, Michael, has always inspired me. He’s conquered every challenge thrown his way, been a special education teacher for almost 30 years, and runs his own business working with blind students. He has his master’s degree and keeps learning more. He works hard and gets stuff done because he stays focused on the prize. And because he is the way he is, he’s a great sounding board for me—he helps me stay the course and brings me back down to earth when necessary.
Jennifer Welter, with her husband, Michael, and their sons, Christopher (13) and Nathan (14). Their dog, Harley (6), was named in homage to Jennifer’s dad, who loved riding his Harley Davidson.
What’s your favorite way to relax or de-stress? No matter what the season, I’ll head to the beach for some fresh air salt therapy, where breathing in that salt air is magic medicine and always does the trick. Just last week, after a particularly challenging day at school, my son asked me if we could drive to the beach and do just that. It works!
What do you find to be the best thing about being an entrepreneur? Like most entrepreneurs, I would say being able to set my own hours is pretty great. I can pick my boys up from school and attend their sporting events and anything else that I feel is important. And I also find it very satisfying to see my own ideas come to life. When you’re working for someone else, you can’t set everything up the way you want to. I can have an idea, work it through, and make it happen. I’m also really fortunate that I have a great staff that helps me keep everything organized and running smoothly.
Please share some places in NJ that you and your family enjoy. My husband was a lifeguard in Asbury for more than 15 years, and my kids are Junior Lifeguards. Clearly, the beach is something we really love, so that’s a big one. A favorite spot is Avon by the Sea—it’s heaven. We also own a camper, and we’ll load it up with our surfboards and head to different places around NJ. This summer, we’re looking forward to heading to Sea Pirate Campground in West Creek. We take our camper, but they also do have cabin options, plus it’s pet-friendly, and there are lots of activities there.
What’s your best piece of advice for a mompreneur just starting out? It’s important to learn to be flexible with your business plan and flexible with what’s inside your heart. Go where the customers and the town permits lead you and know that things will work out the way they’re supposed to. Also, have a box of tissues handy that first year because you’ll cry a lot in the beginning, but know that it’s worth all those early tears.