What inspired you to open Ruth and Dean?
I have spent most of my life working in the service industry in some capacity, be it bartender, server, manager or some such role. I always loved it and reluctantly hesitated to start a “big girl” career path. Working with people and being a part of their positive experience, and purveyor of self-indulgence is a thankful role. It is a hard one to leave. Parallel to that passion, I have always loved to build and work with my hands. In my mid-twenties I began what I thought would be my final career choice, and started an apprenticeship in Joinery (woodworking). At this time I kept a side-job serving to satiate my love for social interaction and customer service. My husband-to-be was a customer, we flirted, and you know how it goes…. He’s a chef and as our relationship grew we spent most of our good time together in our kitchen, lovingly cooking elaborate meals for our friends. At some point it dawned on me that my happiest moments are spent making delicious and beautiful things for people I care about, and thusly followed the resolution to create a job where I was able to do just that. I left the woodworking, we left Vancouver, and we came here and I built Ruth & Dean to house a job I knew I would love. And I do.
How far in advance to couples need to order their wedding cake?
We take bookings as far as 2 years in advance. Most wedding cakes are booked between six to nine months prior to the weddings. That said, we almost never say no to last minute brides. I was one myself, and applaud the elopement or quickly pulled together celebration.
You continue to amaze me with your cake designs, where do you draw your inspiration?
Inspiration for my cakes is in everything, but above all is found in the client, and the occasion for which the cake is for. Before I started my business, I spent a lot of time on Pinterest, fashion blogs, and design blogs, cultivating an idea for the overall aesthetic of my work and brand. Now, two years in, I don’t have to pull from the exterior to find a starting point, and have doggedly manufactured an autonomy in the business’ style. Usually, I have a conversation, meeting, or exchange of emails and inspiration photos, with the client, and from that I glean what their personal tastes are and their value set in terms of the product. This impression of who they are, and what they are desiring, is married to our ability and style and from there, the cake is built.
You also serve coffee and lunch at your store front, what can people expect walking in for a meal?
We do a brisk lunch business at Ruth & Dean. We run what is called a “fresh sheet” menu, which is small, reflective of the seasons, and changes frequently. It usually consists of comfort food of some variety, be it thoughtful sandwiches, sustaining salads, and cozy soups. We always have cake, cookies, and other treats available for our customers and make delicious coffee. Many of our wedding clients come in for a coffee date with a slice of cake to determine what their flavour choices will be for their wedding. It’s a great feeling in here at lunch, chill, cozy and familial.