For this week’s Saturday Sweets we wanted to highlight an upcoming event that may very well be the SWEETEST Saturday (and Sunday) of the year - the South Florida Cake and Candy Expo being held April 23rd and 24th at the Miami Airport Convention Center.
This massive convention is happening for the second year and is must attend event for anyone who loves baking or has an interest in making their own sweets. From novice to advanced and professional, attendees can expect highest quality of traditional baking equipment and supplies, as well as the latest tools of the trade. Most vendors offer special pricing for the weekend, which is exciting for those who would like to stock up on new baking equipment and supplies to make anything your sweet heart can dream of. There are also separately priced professional baking classes and demos, and competitions including best decorated Earth Day themed cake.
Natasha and Melanie, owners of Miami’s very own Sweetlife Cake and Candy Supply, are the brains behind SOFLO. Hard workers who have been friends since high school eventually started families and became stay-at-home moms. Both moms began making yummy creations in their kitchens and ultimately started working together to satisfy the sweet cravings around them.
They realized there was nowhere to buy great baking supplies near their Kendall homes and set out to change that. Sweetlife opened its doors in March of 2012 and has been growing rapidly ever since. I have been shopping there for my baking supplies since day one and I couldn’t be happier. Natasha and Melanie have a sweet (pun intended) and knowledgeable staff that can answer any baking question you could possibly throw at them.
I got the chance to ask the Sweetlife Girls a few questions about the upcoming Expo and their favorite sweets:
How did you get your start in the baking world?
We got our start much like several other bakers we know. We were both stay at home moms and began decorating cakes for friends and family. It became popular and the word spread. Before long, we were fulfilling several orders every week. Once we decided to take a big step and open a retail store, everything fell into place and happened so quickly. Four years later, we are in a bigger location and growing steadily.
What was the inspiration behind starting SOFLO?
Trade shows are a large part of the cake industry. There are shows that are organized all over the world. We began attending some of the shows after we opened our store. This gave us the opportunity to meet so many interesting and insanely talented cake artists. We discovered this huge cake community and we were hooked. After one of the shows we were telling each other how much South Florida needed an event like this. We were both raised in Miami and we are raising our families in Miami, so Miami is home for us. We knew that we wanted a South Florida theme and feel to our show. After many hours of brainstorming and planning, SoFlo Cake and Candy Expo was born.
How many attendees, vendors, teachers were present last year and how many are you anticipating this year?
At our 2015 inaugural show we had 50 vendors in a hall that was 27,000 sq ft., there were 15 teachers upstairs doing hands on classes and demos, and we had 3,000 attendees throughout the weekend. For 2016 we have 107 vendors in a hall that is 49,000 sq ft., there will be 46 teachers upstairs teaching hands on classes and demos, and we are expecting 4,000-5,000 attendees throughout the weekend.
What's your favorite part of the convention?
Our favorite part is seeing everyone walking through the vendor hall and interacting with their favorite vendors and cake artists. It's so much fun when someone realizes that the company or artist they have been following on social media is right in front of them. Cake bakers get very excited about their products!
If you could have any baking idol dead or alive attend SOFLO who would it be?
Dallas based pastry and cake decorating star, Bronwen Weber. She is an amazing artist and talent. We see her on The Food Network all the time and she always does such clean work. She's really great!
What's your sweet guilty pleasure?
There's so many! But a moist vanilla cake with a hint of rum, a thin layer of buttercream and a thin layer of a really delicious fondant like Fondx is something we just can't say no to!
Are there any other fun facts or exciting details you'd like the readers of MIAbites to know?
SOFLO is a family affair. Natasha's family drives down from Gainesville to help us for the weekend. Melanie's family drives down from Jacksonville to be there also. Our husbands are both on hand at the event and our children may be spotted around the vendor hall at some point. We have an amazing group of family and friends, who help make the event possible. We appreciate each and every one of them for supporting us during this crazy time!
Whether you are a new baker, just interested in the baking world or already an expert, SOFLO definitively has something for you. With their 90+ demos and classes there are tips and tricks to be learned by all. There are also plenty of giveaways and raffles with some really awesome prizes including a Kitchen Aid Mixer.
Tickets are on sale at: http://soflocakeandcandyexpo.com/. One day admission is $20 and two day admission is $35- and still available. Looking forward to seeing you there!
And you can follow along both Sweetlife and SOFLO on Instagram at @sweetlifecakesupply and @soflocakeandcandyexp
Saturday 4/23- Sunday 4/24
Miami Airport Convention Center at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel
711 NW 72nd Ave Miami, FL 33126