by Nancy Stiles
It's difficult to find a "new concept" these days that is actually new. But we really can't think of anything like Sweetology, a bakery (sort of) opening in Ladue this March. It's more like Build-a-Bear Workshop, but with cakes, cookies and cupcakes -- not to mention drinks from hot chocolate to chocolate martinis.
"I wanted to start my own company, and I wanted to do it around something that was just completely fun and whimsical," co-owner Kara Newmark tells Gut Check.
Here's how it works: First you pick a six- or nine-inch cake, a cookie or a cupcake to decorate. Then you choose its flavor from vanilla, chocolate or chocolate gluten free. You'll next have a choice between buttercream and fondant frosting, but the options don't stop there. Vanilla frosting can be infused with different colors and flavors like root beer or butter pecan.
The last stop is the "Makery," where you'll select decorations like sprinkles, gummy bears, gumballs, lemon drops, Red Hots -- the list goes on. There's also the "Drinkery" to sip hot chocolate, wine, beer, coffee and cappuccinos.
Newmark has been involved with several startups over the past few years, though she's a lawyer by training. After deciding she wanted her own startup, she looked at many ideas and concepts before landing on the right one about two years ago. She wrote up a business plan; the idea snowballed and will come to fruition this spring.
"I would say the brand is chic, but not so Manhattan-white-glove that you don't feel like you could spread pink frosting everywhere," Newmark says. "That was, quite frankly, the challenge. How do you create that? In the Drinkery there are chandeliers, but in the bakery there's cool Willy Wonka magical machinery."
Newmark and her business partner, DeAnn Bingaman are planning soft openings in March and a grand opening April 12. Check out Sweetology's Facebook page for updates.