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Netflix ‘Is it Cake’ contestant Justin Ellen makes 6-figures in business


Justin Ellen got a direct message from “random”, On Instagram, he asked if he wanted to join a NetflixIt’s called “Is It Cake?” — he thought it was “very sketchy.”

The youngest contestant on the show, who was a baker, realized that there had been an interview when he was told.

After a Zoom interview and a month of waiting, Ellen — who was 18 at that time — was picked to participate.

He admitted that it was overwhelming.

“Because I was super young … and I realized I had to fly and stay in a hotel by myself. It took a month to film. He said, “I’ve never been so far from my family.” CNBC Make It.

Ellen was even forced to forgo his high school graduation in order to record the show.

Is it cake? is a baking contest, where cake artists create edible replicas of everyday objects — such as sneakers and handbags.

It was apparent that the 19-yearold contestant did not have the same amount of experience as other participants. Only two years ago did the young baker start creating super-realistic cakes. He was competing with him in baking long before Ellen was even born.

He was running Everything Just Baked, his successful bakery, even before he appeared on Netflix.

My perspective was not limited. There’s so much you could do in the field … think about every lane you could go into.

Justin Ellen

Everything Just Baked, Owner

Ellen is from New Jersey and said, “Last Year, we grossed $100,000”

“With [the] Netflix [show] coming out, I’ve been getting like a lot more inquiries … my calendar is flooded. It’s amazing.

Failure and hard work are not mutually exclusive

Ellen began baking from the age of seven by his grandmother and mother. They would bake with each other during holidays such as Thanksgiving.

From breads, to pies and cookies, they baked everything — but strangely, “never cakes.”

Justin Ellen began baking at 7 years of age with his mom.

Justin Ellen

He quickly outgrew his role as an assistant, and at 14 he began to explore the world of YouTube tutorials for cakes and was inspired to create his own.

I just watched other people do it. YouTube is a wonderful thing. He told CNBC Make It that you just have to practice hard and learn as much as possible.

“I’ve failed a lot of times … I’ll think it’s such an easy cake and then everything’s going wrong.”

Yet, Ellen was undeterred. He was in high school when he began immersing himself into baking — which was “definitely hard” because he did not have a lot of free time on his hands. He remembers participating in a competition for baking and arriving at school early to get practice.

“I was extremely busy. [But]Ellen said that if you are determined and focused, you will find the time.”

Understanding your worth

The biggest challenge Ellen faced as a young entrepreneur was knowing his worth — he was pricing his cakes like he was shopping with his own wallet.

“I didn’t realise how precious my art was back then. When I asked my mother, my mom said that she was just like me. She’s also very poor. I was like, “I don’t think I’m going to buy a $100 cake.” Today, however, it is easy to get that cake.

Justin Ellen sold a 6-inch cake at $60 in the beginning of his business. Now, it is “easily $150” for the same size.

Justin Ellen

In 1960, a 6-inch cake was $60. Today, it costs only $150.  

After running for a year in January, he began to earn up to $12,000 per month. His business is full-time.

The art is extremely valuable, and many people will pay to acquire it. Honestly, my price slightly goes up every day … depending on my mood.

Justin Ellen

Everything Just Baked, Owner

I realized that people were buying designer purses worth thousands of dollars. Because the cake taste great, you have to let your customers know how valuable your brand is. [I]High-quality ingredients are used

While the price of his cakes has more than doubled over time, it did not stop him from creating a profitable business.

Art is extremely valuable, and people will pay for its value. Honestly, my price slightly goes up every day … depending on my mood,” he said.

When a customer inquires about the price of his cakes, he will be honest and say that it is because he has to pay more. It’s because I improve in my craft every day, which is why the cost of cakes has to rise. You’re paying for someone’s expertise … it took me 5 years to learn how to do that.”

Stop now

Ellen has seen the benefits of dreaming big. What he envisioned for himself came true — he now sells cake mixes and baking tools online. He occasionally holds Classes are also available for those who want to become bakers.

Ellen stated that Ellen takes around six orders per week. These orders have become “larger” in recent years. He would usually be awake at 8am to work on orders from his kitchen.

“Really, my clients aren’t looking for hyper-realistic cakes. They prefer wedding cakes.”

His parents are now “definitely convinced” that he has made the right decision to pursue baking as a career — in fact, Ellen, who started as an assistant in the kitchen, is now the boss.

He laughed and said “My mother works for us now,” “She helps me a lot with the backend stuff … like deliveries.”

He marvels at the accomplishments he made at only 19 years of age, but the young entrepreneur does not stop dreaming.

You will need to put in a lot of effort. It will take a lot of time, but it is totally worth it.

Justin Ellen

Everything Just Baked, Owner

Non-stop I think about my business every day and find new ways to improve it. I want to have an appointment-based studio … but my final goal is to be like Wilton, the cake decorating company.”

Illinois is the headquarters Wilton bakeware and baking supplies are very popular with bakers.

“My goal is to be just like that … [Everything Just Baked]It is black-owned or minority-owned. I believe we should have representation, because there aren’t any major brands for minorities in the baking industry.”