Secrets to Your Success: Elisa Strauss

Confetti Cakes founder Elisa Strauss grew up making sugar cookies with her grandmother and always loved baking, but she never considered making a career out of it. Instead, she went to college for art, which led to a career in textile design and a job at Ralph Lauren.

Elisa was enjoying her career in design: she was flying to Paris for fashion shows and visiting factories in Italy, and she loved being creative for a living, but she made amazing cakes on the side. One of her co-workers asked her to make a cake for Ralph Lauren's 60th birthday and she responded by making one in the shape of one of his favorite cars from his car collection. Everyone at the party was impressed and suddenly, Elisa had orders from other coworkers and prominent fashion designers.

Looking to build her cake designing skills, Elisa started going to pastry school at night while still working in fashion. She'd work her day job, hop on the subway to school, take her classes, and then head back to work. She describes the decision to leave her day job and take the dive into being a cake designer as scary, but she made the leap because "if you don't try it, how will you ever know?"

Today, Confetti Cakes is wildly successful, specializing in custom-designed cakes that barely look like cakes: from sushi to handbags to a child's stuffed animal, the cakes defy expectations with texture, color, and design -- and what's more, they still taste great! Confetti Cakes has become a celebrity favorite and was even featured on "The Today Show" and on "Sex and the City" as Charlotte's wedding cake.

Elisa also offers cake designing classes and has become well-known as a teacher as well. "I feel lucky that I chose the career I did," she says, "and there's nothing else that I would want to be doing in the world."