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Gift Idea Inspires Local Artist’s Side Business

By Paul Lonardo

Beth Peltier did not intend to go into business for herself while she was helping to plan a baby shower for someone in her family five years ago, but that’s just what happened. While trying to come up with a gift idea, one of Beth’s friends who was planning the shower with her mentioned seeing something called diaper cakes on Pinterest, and suggested that they should try making something similar. So they looked up the information they needed and put together their own version of this unique gift idea. Beth and her friends made ten diaper cakes as centerpieces for each table as a gift for her niece. What was supposed to be a creative and fun baby shower gift idea turned into something a whole lot more for Beth, and Hush Little Baby Cakes was born.

For those who have never seen a “diaper cake,” and might be rendering a mental image of something else entirely when hearing the combination of these two words, a brief explanation might be helpful. A diaper cake actually looks like a multi-layered cake, but instead of a mixture of baked flour, sugar and eggs, it is made of dozens of disposable baby diapers. They are rolled up tightly and wrapped around each other in a circular pattern, built on multiple tiers. The diapers can be white mixed with color combination of added items that would make for a truly special diaper cake.

“When I first began making them, they were simple; just diapers, colored ribbon, and maybe a toy to top it off. Now, my creations have evolved to include other baby items like blankets, bottles, washcloths, pacifiers, hats, and whole lot more. I see myself as a creative person with a knack for combining colors and themes to make a unique and beautiful gift that is cherished but also practical.”

Beth also makes miniature cakes inside baby hats, and most recently she began creating onesie and sock cupcakes that are packaged in cupcake boxes.

Clearly Beth has the knack for such a skill, and she also has the background. She is currently a visual arts educator at Thompson Public Schools in Connecticut. The former Lincoln resident has taught as a long term substitute at other local schools, including in the Cumberland and North Providence school systems, and she studied art education and psychology at Rhode Island College.

“For me,” Beth says, “this venture was less about the business side, and making money, and more about the expressing my creativity. Making a profit is great, but it really has more to do with the craft and the artistry of collecting items to put together, how the colors work with each other and how the theme creates a little visual story. And in the end making something that people enjoy.”

While Beth devotes most of her time to teaching her students about art, Hush Little Baby Cakes is still only a part-time job, but it is continuing to grow and her designs are becoming increasingly more in demand.

“When I first started out,” Beth says, “I would get a couple orders a year, and now on a typical month I get an order pretty much every week.

The business is doing well, and she has no trouble finding clients, whether it is contacts through people she knows, or meets at the various craft fairs she attends, as well as exposure on Instagram and her Esty store. In the last year, Beth has been branching out more. Besides the diaper cakes, she has been asked to create towel cakes, which she describes as wedding sets for bridal showers that are made from towels that wrap around other items. She also makes cakes for various seasonal and theme parties with different kinds of toys and gifts for kids. As much as her creations are in demand, Beth has no plans of expanding her business into a chain or store front or hiring people to help her.

“I work on them by myself,” Beth says. “How I put something together is very personal. Each item that I select in a grouping and how I assemble it comes from my own vision.”

This hands-on approach makes it easy for Beth to fulfill a custom order for client very quickly if necessary. She has been at it for nearly five years, and if she has the product in stock she could put a piece together in an hour.

You can find Beth’s work on display at Krafty Sisters in Coventry. The store sells their own handmade items, and also sells items created by local crafters on a consignment basis. Beth finds social media to be the best way to reach people and spread the word about her small business.

“Between Facebook and my Instagram, I’m constantly updating. I put new stuff up weekly, sometimes times several times a week. So there is always something new for people to see.”

For more information visit www.hushlittlebabycakes.wixsite.com/cakes or contact Beth at hushlittlebabycakes@gmail.com