NY Biz Journal: “NJ baker has a passion for pastry (and rock ‘n’ roll)”

By  –  Bizwomen reporter

Kimmee Masi always wanted to be a rock star.

She grew up playing drums in local bands while working in her dad’s New Jersey bakeries, dreaming of opening her own when retired from being a rock musician.

A serious car accident temporarily sidelined her drumming career and she landed working in the insurance industry for a few years. During that time, the lead singer of her band was deployed to the Middle East. That’s when Masi finally found the time and opportunity to open her own bakery.

Masi’s longtime friend Lisa Lasky joined the venture as her business partner, and the two pulled from their 401(k)s to open Confections of a Rockstar. Located in Asbury Park, N.J., the bakery embodies Masi’s passion for pastry and rock ‘n’ roll.

Confections of a Rockstar was featured on Food Network’s “3 Days to Open with Bobby Flay” in 2012. Masi’s local Chamber of Commerce encouraged her to apply and her television appearance gave the bakery a boost right off the bat.

Masi, 46, hopes to bring Confections of a Rockstar to every music city in the U.S., including Nashville, Tenn., and Austin, Texas. (Interview lightly edited for brevity and clarity.)

What does the bakery offer?

When I first opened this, I wanted it to be a full-blown bakery – breads, rolls, pies, all that fun stuff. And then the show with Bobby Flay turned us into a cupcakery. Aside from all those wonderful, crazy funky cupcakes, we also do cheesecakes, cookies, brownies, buns, pastries and regular layer cakes.

Sometimes people are afraid to come to us because they think their cake has to be, like, a $200 cake. But we’ll do a regular sheet cake that says “Happy birthday Bob” with some flowers on it. The business is small right now and there’s not a lot of storage. We don’t bake our stuff a week in advance. We make it the day of. It is fresh and it is made to order.

What is your baking background?

I learned from my father. As opposed to going to school for it, my time was spent working in it. I’ve worked in every supermarket. I’ve worked for Dunkin Donuts. There were a couple of stints I did in mom-and-pop bakeries. I was self-taught. I have that old-school knowledge, but the people I hire now have all this new knowledge. They’re very smart.

I have one cake decorator who went to the Culinary Institute of America for pastry as well as business. She’s somebody I can turn to and say “OK, what do you think we need to do with this?” She brings a lot of great ideas to the table.

How does your location in tourist-oriented Asbury Park affect the bakery?

It’s a musical and super-creative town. It’s a summer town, but businesses are open all year round. Retail-wise, it’s so hard to track and that is the hardest part of being a business owner. Weekends are always good because people are going out for dinner and they’re always in town.

Where does your passion for music come from?

It all comes from my mom’s side of the family. My mom has all the musicians down the line. Before my parents would buy me a drum set, I used to use Avon boxes. My grandmother was an Avon saleswoman. I would line them all up and duct tape them together. I would use pots and pans and all kinds of stuff. I just fell in love with it. It’s unbelievable what you can do with something that truly has no real notes.

Numbers at a glance:

Confections of a Rockstar’s 2016 revenue: $487,000, up 18 percent from 2015

Employees: 10

Startup cost: $250,000

Year the bakery opened: 2012

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