10 coolest entrepreneurs: Pete Tidwell

Fake it 'til you cake it

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SOCKSTAR: Tidwell is a connoisseur of contrast. He chose these brightly colored socks because they reminded him of how much he loves color contrast in his cake designs. (Photo by Dave Blackhurst/UVBizQ)

The Mighty Baker: Pete Tidwell, 35

Oh, how the mighty has risen. After years working as a marketing maven in New York City, Pete Tidwell turned up the heat. He made his cake hobby and bake shop dreams into a reality, and then made his way to reality TV to win Food Network’s “Cake Wars” not once, but two delicious times. His Provo bakeshop is now a strong and sweet staple of the neighborhood, and people come from near and far for Tidwell’s epic cakes, Brioche Donuts and Dutch Stroopwafels.

BABY STEPS As a kid, I wanted to be a professional snowboarder.

FOOT IN THE DOOR My big breaks were my wins on Food Network’s “Cake Wars.” Shortly after I opened my Provo Bakeshop, I applied to the show, competed and won. This provided me capital to reinvest in my business and help its growth.

SPRING IN YOUR STEP I love to dream up ideas and then figure out how to creatively execute them. I feel empowered knowing that each day I get to choose my success. I love being my own boss and determining my own destiny.

THINK ON YOUR FEET I do my best thinking in the middle of the night, alone at my bakery while working on cakes. Inspiration also strikes when I go snowboarding; I love being in the mountains and enjoying the beauty and silence of the snowy slopes.

WHAT’S COOL TO YOU?

Terje Haakonsen, a Norwegian professional snowboarder, and the hero of my youth.

PUT YOUR FEET UP After I am done with my long bakery days, I head home to my wife and three kids.

PUT A SOCK IN IT I have a lot of respect for my work and the time and effort it takes to execute each cake. When I get requests for elaborate cakes in exchange for exposure, or when a would-be client wants to haggle on pricing, my expertise is undervalued.

COLD FEET Sharks. Not necessarily at the bakery, just in general.

SOCK IT TO ‘EM I would often tell coworkers that my dream was to open up my own bakeshop. Some were supportive, but most were naysayers who did not believe I would actually do it. When you’re an entrepreneur, there will always be negative voices. Do not let them inside your head. Keep working toward your dreams. When you prove them wrong, the naysayers become respectful admirers.

IF THE SHOE FITS I have wanted to own my own business since I was 16. I knew for certain I would be a baker when I was in New York City. I was 28 years old and working at L’Oreal USA on their product marketing team. I learned a lot, but the job did not provide my creative mind with the outlet I needed. That’s when I started developing recipes, sketching kitchen layouts and bugging people to let me make their wedding cake.

BEST FOOT FORWARD I’m most proud of taking the leap and quitting my steady, reliable, full-time job with benefits to start my own business and do what I’m passionate about. I worked hard through countless sleepless nights, and I was able to open my bakery without investors or partners.

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