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Why Duff Goldman Started Charm City Cakes And How Collaboration Was Its Key To Success - Exclusive

Duff Goldman
Duff Goldman - Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images

If you're a fan of Food Network's Ace of Cakes, then you're probably already familiar with Charm City Cakes and Duff Goldman. This unique bakery is known for its artsy creations ranging from life-sized animals to edible items such as toolboxes and shoes (although Duff Goldman is rumored to hate working with small cupcakes). While the cakes themselves are spectacular, another thing that makes this bakery stand out is its backstory. At the Nassau Paradise Island Wine & Food Festival's Taste of Paradise event, Duff Goldman sat down with Daily Meal in an exclusive interview to talk about how his now-famous bakery got started.

Goldman says his creative passion is what drove the opening of Charm City Cakes: "I was a graffiti artist, I did metal sculpture and found art, all kinds of stuff...so when I started the bakery, I was just being myself. I wasn't like, 'I'm going to be artistic.' I was like, 'I'm just going to make cool stuff.'" Besides this love for creativity, he also explains that "the other one of the reasons why the bakery existed was I literally started it so I can make enough money to pay my rent to be in a band." Those motivations led to him to create a one-of-a-kind bakery, even if that wasn't exactly the original intention.

Read more: Cake Hacks Every Baker Will Wish They Knew Sooner

It Takes A Village To Build A Bakery

High roller ferris wheel cake
High roller ferris wheel cake - Bryan Steffy/Getty Images

Duff Goldman makes it clear that he wasn't the only one responsible for helping get Charm City Cakes off the ground. In fact, he explains that collaboration was key to launching the bakery and making it so successful. In the early days of the bakery, he says that things got going thanks to one young intern: "She came in and had never touched any of this stuff before -- fondant, cake, nothing, and was already amazing just off the bat. So I hired her and was like, "You got any friends?" And then hired her roommate, and then they hired some more of their friends." This motley crew, made up largely of artsy types who were in their own music bands wound up leading to a bakery that fosters collaboration, creativity, and innovation -- and hires a lot of art students, too.

Better yet, with so many members of the team having their own side gigs and hobbies they were working on in their free time, Goldman shared that they all came together to cover for one another as needed. That led to a workplace that was flexible and supportive and, ultimately, to a bakery that thrived.

Success Is For Everyone At Charm City Cakes

Charm City Cakes staff
Charm City Cakes staff - Lisa Lake/Getty Images

It's not just the employees at Charm City Cakes that have helped Duff Goldman. He's also done his best to give back to them in his own way, too. For one thing, he's proud to help get art students involved in their field and "actually making a living wage making art," which is something many people who study the arts aren't able to do.

In addition, Goldman makes it clear that at Charm City Cakes, the profits are a team effort, too. He explains that although they're not "an official co-op, everybody participates... So the better the bakery does, everybody makes more money." This helps stay in line with the bakery's original spirit of getting everyone involved and ensuring the success of those who work there.

At the same time, Goldman states that he's "really tried to teach everyone about just entrepreneurship, taking care of their finances" and not just to focus on the simple pleasure of baking and getting the creative juices flowing. This can be particularly helpful to the artistic types who work at the bakery but weren't always financially literate. In fact, Goldman told Daily Meal many of them have gone on to start their own businesses, and those skills helped them become successful entrepreneurs when they ventured out on their own.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.