While sitting around a rustic table in the cozy consultation room at LadyCakes Bakery, clients sometimes exclaim, “I have no idea what I want!” Bubbling with personality and an infectious laugh, co-owner, Bess Charles reassures her client, “Well, I’m going to tell you what you want!”
Beginning with questions, Bess goes into action. She asks about centerpieces, flowers and colors. She builds a mental image and designs a perfect cake to compliment the special day.
“Figure out what you’re good at and do it!” say the experts. With the encouragement and support of her husband, co-owner, Jeff Charles, Bess did just that. She’d always designed birthday cakes for her kids. Others began taking notice. Requests for her cakes started pouring in. Before long, she realized she could start a business doing what she loves to do.
The couple quit their jobs and established LadyCakes, a custom bakery in Cape Coral. Touring the shop, one finds Jeff, who does the baking, overseeing the operation of four huge mixers. There’s an “invisible line” drawn in the kitchen that separates Jeff’s baking area from Bess’ design area. It’s a line “that shall not be crossed,” laughs Bess. In the same breath, she adds, “But, we are here for each other. He’s my rock!”
Along with Lead Cake Artist, Ashley Wilson (who sculpted a mind blowing Harry Potter cake), Cake Artist, Melody McNulty and the newest addition, Cake Artist Krista Sorgenti, Bess creates unique, as well as traditional designs which enhance the theme of any occasion.
She says she cannot draw or paint on paper, “Any attempt at doing so would result in something unrecognizable! I’ve never really considered myself an artist.” When looking at her designs, however, an observer is convinced…Bess is a creative genius.
Her favorite cake is hand painted. She’d been asked to make a cake for a baby shower. It needed to look just like the detailed, water colored floral design on the cover of the shower invitation. Bess’ efforts resulted in a gorgeous confection; an exact replica of the invitation.
On meeting them for the first time, it’s obvious that Bess and Jeff are a loving, warm-hearted couple. They contribute, “Even if it’s just a cake,” to community charities including auctions and raffles benefiting various charitable foundations, the Wounded Warrior Project and The Mighty Mike Foundation. “We have been blessed. The community has been so good to us. We want to give back.”
The twosome have built a life of happiness, hard work and contribution to their community. They labor twelve hours a day baking, designing and delivering cakes for life’s biggest and smallest occasions. This dedication has resulted in LadyCakes receiving national recognition as well as being awarded Best of Cape Coral – Best Bakery – 2015 and 2016.
Bess and Jeff take a vacation at least once a year to celebrate their own special day. They leave a sign on the door, “Mr. and Mrs. LadyCakes are away for a few days celebrating their anniversary.”