CIC News

Cakes by Rachel Entrepreneur Profile

Posted by Waverly Davis in Entrepreneur Profile on December 20, 2016

Cakes by Rachel is located in Crozet, VA. They renovated and remodeled an old home into a cozy bakeshop filled with sugary smells and sweet treats. Rachel’s business transitioned into this lovely space when she joined the Entrepreneur Workshop at CIC.

Rachel Willis is a seasoned chef and cake designer. Since an early age, she was convinced that her passion lied in creativity through cooking. After completing culinary school in New England, Rachel sought opportunities to advance her career in France. Eight years passed by and she found herself back in Virginia looking to settle down. After working as an executive chef in several restaurants in Charlottesville, Rachel decided to open her own business. She started in her house kitchen but was soon limited by space. Just as Rachel planned to expand her business, she learned about CIC and the Entrepreneur Workshop.

Rachel claims that running a business sometimes produced feelings of loneliness and anxiety for her, but being in a community with two dozen other aspiring entrepreneurs helped her overcome those negativities. In Spring 2015, Rachel and her classmates participated in the CIC Entrepreneur Workshop to cultivate a comprehensive understanding of business. She explains that she was able to not only meet with other entrepreneurial-minded people and build her network but also learn and develop her business literacy and ideas through continuous discussions with like-minded entrepreneurs. Rachel recalls that the biggest challenge for her during the Entrepreneur Workshop was balancing the renovation work for her bakery and the course load, but she explains that the hard work paid off when she applied her newly acquired entrepreneurial skills during her business transition.  

Rachel says that she is grateful for the resources provided by CIC and that she continues to take advantage of them. To further boost business productivity and sales, she sought out and received consultation from CIC. As her business continues to grow, Rachel realizes the importance of management. She is currently taking a part in CIC’s “second stage” workshop, which focuses on business management for growing businesses.  

In the near future, Rachel would love to have more time to herself and her family. Her next step is to build a strong foundation that allows her business to grow and become more efficient. With support, Rachel is confident she can achieve this. She advises other CIC entrepreneurs to, “Believe in yourself. People are going to tell you that you can’t do it. Be assertive, but realistic, when making decisions.”