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Fabulous Ladies of the ROC: Heather Saffer

Today begins Chic & Green's new weekly series about small, woman-owned businesses in the greater Rochester area. There are really so many creative souls right here in the area and I hope my local readers will enjoy learning about their neighbors! If you know of a Fabulous Lady of the ROC, let me know. I'd love to hear from you. This weekly feature is your chance to get to know the women behind the business.

First up is Heather Saffer, owner of The Cupcake Dreamery. If you'll recall, I hosted a fun cupcake challenge late this winter and Heather's cupcakes were my favorites.

Q: You own your own successful business, The Cupcake Dreamery. What are you most proud of thus far when it comes to your business?

A: I would have to say the thing I'm most proud of is starting this business from scratch out of a desire and dream to do my own thing. I taught myself how to bake and basically how to start and run a business. I'm proud of my products, brand, people I've met along the way, and how I've continued to go full force in the face of adversity.

Q: You know how much I love your Bananas Foster cupcake. It's heaven on earth. What is your favorite flavor?

A: Loaded question :) Of course I love them all and never get tired of eating any of them! I think my favorite to date is a tie between the strawberry champagne and the peanut butter cup although my favorite changes as I develop new flavors too.

Q: You do not have a brick and mortar bakery. When we first met at the charity brunch, Nick (Nick Rovisa, marketing director) told me that you were focusing on events. How do you envision The Cupcake Dreamery in 5 years?

A: We do focus mainly on events, catering, and special orders. Mostly because we don't just do gourmet cupcakes but we personalize most of them with hand-made chocolate toppers. I've gone back and forth on having a brick and mortar location but I think logistically it doesn't make sense right now.

We are open for retail on Saturdays at the market and might also open on Thursdays and Sundays as the weather gets nicer. As far as 5 years from now? Who really knows if the "cupcake trend" is really just a "trend" but I believe I have to plan for it being so. I'd like to build the brand so that it has the credibility of being able to be licensed.

I would definitely like to expand, whether it be purely through distribution or through actual storefronts. I also have aspirations of building the "dreamery" brand to encompass other products. I like to think I'm fairly creative and an "outside the box" thinker and I try to surround myself with similar people so I think the sky's the limit! (kinda have to think that, right?) :)

Q: Have you always lived in this area? What do you love about Rochester?

A: I grew up in Irondequoit and have lived all over Rochester pretty much since then. I love the spring and summer and how it doesn't get too scorchingly hot. I also love that there are so many local restaurants and cafes to go to and new ones opening all the time. For Rochester being a medium sized city, it's pretty cool how when I meet new people (which is often and fun!) there are never many degrees of separation between myself and them. Everyone always seems to know someone that I know.

Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Rochester?

A: I go to Benucci's a lot for their awesome happy hour special (I'm the mayor on foursquare!). I also call Chocolate & Vines my second home (although it's not really a restaurant).

Q: If you had a completely free day, where would you head?

A: I'd probably hit the gym, then a coffee shop (where I would inevitably wind up doing some work), maybe do a little shopping (of course it would be a warm sunny day), then head to chocolate & vines to visit and have a glass of wine, and then a late dinner somewhere that I haven't tried yet. Or maybe I'd take a short roadtrip somewhere :)

Q: Beyond your business, what are your hobbies and other interests?

A: Well I wish I had a more interesting answer to this but my business is pretty much my life right now. Outside from working I like to workout, and eat out! That's pretty much all I do. I like meeting new people and checking out new places around town. I also love social media. Foursquare and Twitter are amazing tools to not only help business but to help with networking and just meeting cool new people! If I could travel more, I absolutely would do that.

Q: As this is a series about the actual person behind the business, I'd like you to feel free to add anything else you'd like to share. Thank you so much, Heather, for your time!

A: I probably don't want to delve in too deep but everything isn't rainbows and roses running a business. There have been A LOT of struggles that I never anticipated I would have been confronted with in my life. At this point, I wouldn't give it up for the world though. I've put every ounce of my being into my business and having supportive people and a supportive community that loves my product makes everything worthwhile!

Look for a meeting with two local "Artsy Chicas," Heidi and Kristen, next week on C & G's Fabulous Ladies of the ROC series.