Shannon Shepley Stubbs (JC Class of 2005), is the owner of Slice, a fast growing custom-cake company located in downtown Milledgeville. She recently shared with us how she began her career in baking custom cakes and how her time as a junior college student at Georgia Military College impacted her.
Shannon grew up in Byron, Georgia, and attended Peach County High School in Fort Valley. As a child she was surrounded by people who embraced creativity. Her parents owned a Mustang restoration shop. She grew up in that body shop, where old junk cars were transformed into award-winning show cars.
“I went to GMC with the intentions to transfer to GCSU where my sister was working toward her Biology degree, but instead of transferring as soon as I could, I decided to stay the full two years. I can say with all honesty if GMC had been a four-year school, I would have stayed there the whole time. I loved the military aspect, how the cadets held the door for other students, and the honor code we had to write at the end of our papers and tests, so I decided to complete my full two years there.”
Shannon said her favorite GMC Junior College professor was Coach Sonny Harmon. “I am a very shy person- I’ve never gotten along with people my age. I love people and making them laugh, but I’m not the type to walk up and say hello. I’m an observer, so I got along so well with people older than me and Coach Harmon helped me choose the best classes for me. He was my tennis coach. I was one of the first players the year they began the women’s tennis program at GMC. Coach Harmon was just a really great man, super kind and helpful and I genuinely appreciated him.” Shannon’s one regret from her time at GMC was not taking more art and graphic design classes. She mentioned her desire to join the car club, since cars had always been a huge part of her life. Shannon does give credit to GMC for creating a love in her for art, calling the Milledgeville area home, and placing a drive in her to be the business and artistic woman she is today.
After completing her degree at Georgia Military College, Shannon transferred to Georgia State to chase her passion for photography. With the camera her father passed down to her in hand, she began her journey towards a fine arts degree, but her father encouraged her to a consider different major to have another option to fall back on. She then transferred to Wesleyan College in Macon, Georgia and earned her degree in Advertising and Marketing Communications with a dream of being the head of an advertising firm since Shannon had always loved designing and creating. After marrying her husband Matt in 2008, Shannon started working as a second shooter for the photographer who photographed her wedding.
In 2009 Shannon’s first daughter Bella was born. With a colicky baby in the backseat of her car, Shannon drove to visit her mother in Byron, so her mother could help her out with hew new baby.
A few years prior in 2006, Shannon’s mom decided to pursue her passion and started her own custom cake business. While with her mother, Shannon offered to help with the growing demand of her cake and cookie orders, doing small details like pearls and quilted patterns. One day, her mother went to attend an event and while her baby slept, Shannon worked on the details of a groom’s armadillo cake. She shared, “Later my mother told me that she couldn’t turn me down when I asked to help with that cake because I looked so exhausted. She left with a lot of anxiety knowing she would have to double the work and fix the cakes by ripping off and correcting the work I did, but she knew I needed something to do. Before Bella was born even, I always had a project. As a creative person I needed to build or create and my mother saw need that in me.”
Shannon’s whole life was building up to this beginning moment in her career. When she was a little girl she learned how to make animals and jewelry out of clay. When she overheard her mother needed to complete the scales and circles for the armor, hands, feet, and the armadillo cake’s head, she decided to use her clay molding experience to tackle the face, and the time just flew by for Shannon. “My mother came back and the look on her face was one of shock! She thought my work was amazing, and so after that day, I had this creative outlet to look forward to by driving up to Byron and helping my mother.”
Shannon quickly decided she wanted to start her own cake business in the Milledgeville area, and with her mother’s blessing, she bought her first set of cake pans and inherited a binder filled with family recipes. Shannon began her new career as a private baker. She was self-taught and learned new skills by watching videos of new trends and other baking shows.
Applying the knowledge she gained from her advertising and marketing degree, Shannon knew a person’s first impression of a business is all in the name, so she knew her company’s name had to be amazing. Slice was then born in 2010. In the beginning Shannon was licensed out of a local church and used their commercial grade equipment.
In 2014, she bought and renovated a property where Slice is currently located in downtown Milledgeville, within walking distance of Georgia Military College. With a vision in mind of how she saw her business growing, Shannon knew she needed to start with local moms, so she reached out to fellow GMC alum, Kyle Hitchcock to trade photo sessions that Kyle, a photographer took in exchange for custom cakes. The referrals quickly came in after she created a Western-themed cake, launching Slice into the local public eye.
Proud of the legacy Slice has already created locally, Shannon described her business model: “The price is different at Slice from any other traditional bakery, because my cakes are made from scratch per order, using the finest ingredients with family recipes. I knew early on my clients would want to come back for future orders and each cake would need to be as unique as possible, so I create a quality one-of-a-kind product for the big occasions.
Most of my customers are women who know they want a custom cake and understand that the price is worth it, but sometimes it takes some convincing with their husbands,” she jokes. “What usually happens is once the husbands have a Slice cake at their party and the guests are raving about it, they tend to get really excited about their next orders.” She also says these families have turned into her most loyal clientele. “My favorite is booking a bride, doing her wedding cake, then later on cakes for baby showers, and 1st birthdays, and on and on.” She shares that she treasures the fact that she’s a part of her clients’ children’s childhood memories.
“It’s truly amazing being able to be a small part in such a huge moment. It’s one of the things that makes this business so special to me. I put my heart out there on a cake platter with each one of my creations. My clients’ feedback just fills me up and motivates my love for this business.” Clients drive from all over the state to pick up their themed Slice cakes. Shannon books three to six months in advance, and her cake business is thriving with the rest of 2019 already booked.
Slice’s newest addition, Sprinkles, came about from a scroll through Pinterest one day. “I saw a picture of a little camper used for a kid’s glamping birthday party, and they happened to have cupcakes inside of it for a picture. I thought this would be a genius idea for a non-traditional way to serve desserts at weddings and events, and what a precious photo opportunity for the couple and guests. The idea of Sprinkles, the Cake Camper, came to fruition after finding a little camper I could fix up on Craigslist. I offer what I call CakeCups which is a clear cylinder container filled with a perfect portion of cake and icing layers topped with a little lid and spoon. It works great for weddings because the bride and groom can walk up and take pictures getting their CakeCups and sit for a moment on my vintage gold couch for the picture-perfect moment.” Sprinkles has been spotted at local Bodyplex races as well at events around Milledgeville and the Lake Oconee area, including the Food and Wine Festival. Shannon shared that Milledgeville is where her dreams started, calling this her happy place, and how much she appreciates the small town loyalty.
Shannon’s future looks promising and full of great cakes, but she also has a few other major goals: winning a spot on Food Networks’ Cake Wars and opening her own fully-functioning bakery!
Learn more about Shannon and see many more pictures of her famous Slice cakes on these social media platforms:
Facebook: Slice – Custom Cakes
Professional Photos taken by: Kasie Tanner Photography