About Bijou's Sweet Treats
Many people ask us about the name of our company. The word bijou is French and originally referred to delicate and intricate pieces of jewelry that one would give to a lover. Since so many of the things that we make are petite and highly detailed, and we can think of no better way to show love than with a little sugar, we thought it was a fitting name for our company.
We are committed to using high quality ingredients in all of our creations since a cake can only be as good as the components it’s made with, and whenever possible to use local products. We make all of our products in small batches from scratch which allows us to pay careful attention to the quality and execution of our creations.
Our wide range of products and services include but are not limited too: Wedding Cakes, Favors, Dessert Tables, Gift boxes and Baskets, Special Occasion Cakes, Cupcakes, Cake Pops, Mini Pies, Gourmet Marshmallows, French Macarons, Decorated Sugar Cookies, Gourmet Drop and Sandwich Cookies, Candied Nuts, and Beer Nuts. In addition to the flavors you see listed on our site for these items we also create custom flavors for our clients.
After graduating from Virginia Tech with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Amy moved to New York City to pursue her life long passion for baking and art. She attended the Art Institute for culinary and obtained her Certificate in Pastry Arts. Over the next 9 years, Amy lived and worked in New York City. During this time, she found her soulmate, managed both large production bakeries and small boutique shops, and worked as a freelance cake decorator and instructor. Utilizing her free time to work for herself taking orders for clients who remain loyal customers even today, Amy’s history and the story of Bijou’s Sweet Treats is as follows.
Amy’s first internship was with James Beard Award Winning Chef, Dave Pasternack. Under his tutelage she learned what it takes to be part of a winning team and furthered her skills of working in a fast-paced pastry department focused on producing high quality products.
Eleni's New York
Shifting from restaurant work, her time at Esca NYC showed Amy that she really wanted to further her skills as a food artist. So, for her first job she went to work with Eleni’s New York, one of the largest high-end decorated cookie companies in the world. At the time, the company was still in one location, where Amy began as an entry level cookie decorator. Not too long into the job Amy rose within the company rank and within a few years she was the production manager and head designer. As she progressed, she began training and managing between 50-100 decorators on the production floor, depending on the season, with the intention to produce 5,000-10,000 cookies a day. While she was there, Amy finessed her design work and learned to do both creative decoration and profitable designs that could fit large scale productions. Additionally, she learned new techniques and was even able to push and develop some of the industry’s icing techniques to help speed up production. During the time Amy was at Eleni’s New York, the company expanded from one location to multiple storefront locations with a cookie production factory and she learned to work in small, medium, and large-scale production as needed for the business.
Moreover, while Amy was at Eleni’s New York the increased production and high-quality cookie artwork meant that she got to work with some of bigger, more well-known brands and celebrities, including Food Network, Martha Stewart, Kate Spade, the PGA, and more.
Smaller Production Company | Wilton Cake Instructor
After many years of working at Eleni’s New York and developing her skills, creativity, and experience, Amy wanted to focus on her love of cake and art. So, she took a smaller job at a smaller production bakery in Brooklyn, NY so she can have free time to work on her own cakes and further her passion and portfolio.
Amy joined Wilton Cake as one of their instructor and started to run a weekly cake class at a shop in Brooklyn, NY. Using this as a starting place, Amy began teaching cookie and other non-Wilton cake decorating classes while at the shop. Thousands of students have learned from Amy over the years and some of them have even gone on to start their own successful cookie and cake businesses.
Moving to Luray, VA | The Birth of Bijou’s Sweet Treats
After years of working in New York City, Amy and Tommy decided to take a chance and move to Luray, VA in 2012 to be closer to family. Shortly after Amy moved to the small community, she officially started Bijou’s Sweet Treats LLC while doing freelance work at a few local bakeries.
A Little Push | Going All-In in 2014
A year after the Chans moved from NYC to VA, things were moving along and Amy’s talents were slowly being recognized by the community, but Bijou’s was still more of a side business and Amy was primarily freelancing for other people. So, one day in 2014, her husband Tommy made a strong push and told her “Amy you need to go all-in and see where your skills can take you. This is why we moved and I’m all-in and don’t care if all we have to eat is Ramen noodles.” After that, Amy stopped freelancing, she brought her years of experience, recipe development, decorating techniques, and creativity and put everything she had into Bijou’s Sweet Treats and has watched the business grow every year since then.
Dr. Who-Van Gogh Wedding Cake
In October of 2015, Bijou’s Sweet Treats was asked to create a unique all-buttercream textured painted cake (what was to become a signature style for the studio) with a very specific vision for a bride and groom. The cake was for an amazing couple that was super laid back, going so far as to pick up cake themselves, who were looking to merge two of their favorite things: Dr. Who and Van Gogh’s Starry Night.
Once the cake was posted to Bijou’s social media, it received a lot of traction and became a super popular cake, even being featured on Cake Wrecks Sunday Sweet, a cake blog that features the best cakes on the internet on Sunday. After this publicity, the cake was pinned and loved by hundreds of thousands of Pinterest users and became the most recognized Dr. Who cake on the internet with many millions of pins, likes, views, and love across multiple platforms on social media.
100 Wedding Season
In 2015, after the first full season being all-in for wedding cake, the next season exploded with over 100 weddings on the books. Though slightly worried about the increasing interest in their wedding cakes and their ability to handle everything, Tommy decided to turn all of his attention to the business. Knowing that the cake studio needed the full attention of both the husband and wife to make it work, Tommy began to learn how to bake cakes and desserts to free up Amy’s time to focus on decorating the cakes.
Sarah Jessica Parker
Bella G., an amazing wedding planner and friend to Bijou’s Sweet Treats, had put together a meet and style event with Sarah Jessica Parker for her brides in 2017. In preparation for the event, Bella G. asked Bijou’s for some cookies for the brides and SJP. Amy decided to create some custom cookie versions of the newest SJP shoe line; which SJP loved so much that she posted an image of the cookies to her Instagram and over 1 million followers.
200 Wedding Season
After an incredible 100-wedding season, Bijou’s Sweet Treats expanded their delivery and service area to reach beyond Luray into other areas that need high-quality wedding cake and dessert services. The 2017 wedding season was one of the busiest season the Bijou’s team has faced with over 200 weddings within 8 months. Fortunately, with Amy’s large-scale production background, she was able to lead the team to success with happy brides, grooms, and families.
Rise of the Social Media | Top Instagram Influencer
Over the last few years, as the wedding seasons got busier and busier, Bijou’s Instagram has become one of the more popular Virginia wedding accounts to follow. With daily wedding cake inspiration, the account has started to become what is known as an influencer account. After a few years working with Instagram as their main social outlet, Bijou’s was named one of the top 100 wedding influencers and has become a major resource for brides to learn about getting married in the area.
Between being featured by big brands and media outlets and later being merged with Shenandoah Valley Bride, Bijou’s social reach has only grown. The inclusion of Shenandoah Valley Bride has provided the cake studio with an outlet to blog, give helpful tips for brides, and help their partner vendors match up with couples that are looking to get married in the local area. At this point the studio has been featured in countless blogs and publications. Over the years, as Amy honed her talents, her work has been featured repeatedly under the names and businesses of other people, but now, she’s finally getting to do her work for herself and her own reputation and that is priceless!
500 Weddings and Beyond
Now, entering the 2018 wedding season, a little over 4 seasons as Bijou’s Sweet Treats, the cake studio can tout that they have done over 500 weddings. Always looking for ways to serve their brides better, from creating the most amazing dessert table to dream wedding cakes, Bijou’s is looking to expand their studio for more space and a more efficient production set up. Moving from NYC to Luray,VA, going from an intern to a decorator to a manager to a freelancer and finally to calling it all her own, Bijou’s is proud of the constant drive for success and the hard work and dedication that has gone into building the business into one of Virginia’s best and they cannot wait to see what is to come.
After surpassing our goal to create 1,000 hand-crafted one-of-a-kind wedding and specialty cakes, Bijou's Sweet Treats is embarking on our own Cake Decorating School! Decorators of all levels of experience can subscribe for a year of the the school to receive monthly releases of themed decorating videos. Lock in your yearly low rate and enjoy all future contents.