By Lydia Smith
While winning Food Network’s Cake Wars twice was exciting, Jeff and Kathleen Taylor decided to try their luck with Halloween Cake Wars for the year 2020. Jeff and Kathleen are the proud owners of Sweet T’s Bakery in Oxford, Miss.
In a recent interview with HottyToddy.com, Jeff Taylor gave insight on the benefits of being a full-time firefighter, baker and business owner, his experience on Halloween Wars 2020, and how Sweet T’s plans to evolve over the next several years.
As a full-time firefighter and part-time cabinet builder, Jeff Taylor decided to combine his love for cabinetry construction and Kathleen’s baking expertise to start Sweet T’s Bakery. The success of the couple’s business grew immensely over the years, and their work has been showcased all over Oxford, Miss., and the world.
Jeff Taylor hasn’t always baked amazing cakes. First, he became a firefighter. The knowlege he gained fighting fires would later prove to be useful not only for daily problems at Sweet T’s, but especially helpful while competing on Cake Wars and Halloween Wars.
During the competitions, the pressure to present a beautiful cake, make it taste good and please the producers were the biggest challenges the Taylors faced.
While fire fighting, “You have to be ready for the unexpected and you have to be able to change tactics while in the middle of what you’re doing,” Taylor said. “On the show we had some things happen, and we had to adjust for the time limit and problems that came up.”
Many young adults are looking to become entrepreneurs while still juggling other responsibilities, much like the Taylor’s. Mr. Taylor’s advice to young hopefuls looking to start a business was simple.
“Do as much research as you can about the product that you are going into business for,” Taylor said. “Understand that it takes time to build a business. It’s not going to happen overnight. Believe in what you’re selling, and don’t give up.”
The many ways in which Sweet T’s Bakery has evolved since the doors first opened in 2014 is a testament to Taylor’s statement.
In the beginning, the bakery fulfilled many different cake orders for smaller cakes.
Later, the Taylor’s experienced major success with their first two appearances on national television by winning two competitions on Cake Wars. The couple also appeared on “Holiday Wars” in addition to Halloween Wars 2020.
After appearing on television, the Taylor’s begin getting orders for larger, more elaborate cakes which allowed them to, “cut down on the quantity of cakes and focus on quality by doing less weddings [and other events].”
In the future, the Taylor’s plan to do less of the baking, and focus more on teaching and helping others perfect their own baking skills.
Despite the plan of not baking as much in the future, the Taylor’s still plan to continue to gain knowledge and increase their skill set with specialty cakes.
Unfortunately, the couple did not win first place and take home the $50,000 prize this time around on Halloween Wars. However, the Taylors were still pleased with the experience of competing on the show.
“I didn’t go in with the mindset that we were going to blow everybody away,” Taylor said. “I just went in with the mindset to give 110% and let it play out how it was going to play out.”