Kristen Von Glahn, founder of Lambie Cakes Boutique, on how the company began and how it symbolizes her growth away from negative experiences.
Lambie Cakes is a local boutique selling polymer clay jewelry. Kristen Von Glahn, the founder of Lambie Cakes, did not start her business only for profit but also to transform personal pain into healing and to be champion empowerment for women in the Chattanooga area.
Kristen’s journey in creating Lambie Cakes began when the pandemic started in the spring of 2020. Prior to the pandemic, she was teaching “English as a Second Language in an inner-city middle school.” When the shutdown forced schools to go online, Kristen often found herself in an empty Zoom Meeting because her students lacked the resources for online schooling or their home lives were too hectic and uncertain to focus on class. Disconnected from her students, and unable to help them from her own quarantine, Kristen felt the hopelessness sink in. To occupy her mind during this period of uncertainty, she began working with polymer clay creating earrings. After receiving positive responses online from friends and family, she teamed up with her business partner Sharon to create Lambie Cakes.
“My students are my joy and without them I was struggling,” Kristen said. “I needed something to do to keep my mind off the what ifs.”
Over the past year, Lambie Cakes has been operating as an online retailer and gaining renown in Chattanooga through its social media presence. The most impactful aspect of this growth has been the “internal glee” that comes from seeing Lambie Cakes earrings worn in Instagram posts. For Kristen, “There is nothing like making other women feel beautiful and empowered through your art.”
Kristen does not believe that Lambie Cakes needs to be considered above and beyond other polymer clay jewelry companies. Sharing her work with the community is a reward for the self-improvement she experiences and the ability to “make other women feel beautiful” with her earrings. Through her work, Kristen also feels a connection to her grandfather who was a jeweler and watchmaker.
“I don’t really try to think about how to set myself apart,” Kristen said. “I just stay true to myself.”
Lambie Cakes’ name has a special personal connection to Kristen. After leaving an abusive marriage, Kristen did not believe that she would ever remarry. Through a mix of “therapy, healing, and time” Kristen was able to find love again with her current husband Ross. While they were planning their wedding, Ross told her about his family tradition back home in Wisconsin where children would receive a “Lambie Cake” from his grandmother for birthdays. Ross had unfortunately never gotten his cake. Kristen made some calls to Wisconsin and on their wedding day, Ross finally had his “long lost Lambie Cake.” While the cake was only a deliciously overdue dessert that day, the lamb being a symbol for “overcoming suffering triumphantly” was a powerful image for Kristen and her own journey overcoming the suffering she had experienced. As a representation of beauty born out of pain, the name Lambie Cakes was perfect for her new business.
“If my divorce and the pandemic have taught me anything, it is that life is short,” Kristen said. “Go for your dreams and eat the cake.”
While Lambie Cakes is still a growing company, Kristen hopes that one day the company will be financially secure enough to be giving back to the community. For Kristen, she counts herself lucky to have a strong emotional support network of family and friends during her struggles. She knows that not every woman has that kind of support, so she hopes that Lambie Cakes will be able to provide “a portion of proceeds back to women escaping domestic abuse” to be that support for women in need. With Lambie Cakes recently acquiring a 3-D printer that can produce unique designs, the dream is closer and closer to being realized.
Kristen said, “It would be incredible to me if this company could somehow, someway be more than just earrings.”