Barbara Rucci – Late Night Cake

Do you ever tell your kids that after they go to bed, you eat cake?  And tease them that everything fun happens late at night when they’re asleep?  Well that’s what Barbara Rucci sometimes tells her three kids who are 11, 9 and 5, when she stays up late and, in reality, comes up with her next new venture. “It’s usually late at night when the kids are asleep and the house is quiet that I get my best work done,” she says. In fact, it was during one of these nights that a venture and a name came together.

Late Night Cake is that euphoric rush when a great idea comes to mind, says Barbara.  She actually started her current idea as an experiment to garner funds to start another venture.

Right out of school with a degree in textile design, Barbara took several creative jobs working her way from the fashion industry to interior design and eventually creating her own children’s clothing line that Barney’s picked up.  Deciding in 1997, that she wanted to work from home and start a family, she took several classes in Photoshop and Illustrator at a local school and put the word out that she was available for graphic design.  “I designed cards and announcements and I went to stores like Kate’s Paperie with my stationary and they carried my line.  It was a very exciting.”

Through word of mouth, her graphic design business grew and she created a niche designing logos and helping people with names.  “People would ask for help with their logos and I would end up naming their venture,” she says.

One late night (probably eating cake) she was thinking about the old fashioned post card and had an idea.  With email and texting, people have forgotten how easily a post card can brighten a day.  Barbara came up with the idea of offering custom Christmas and Holiday photo postcards.  It’s eco friendly, eliminating the envelope, it’s economical with stamps costing less, and its fun!

She already knew of a company that could produce and deliver the postcards so she created a website using Shopify.  She was up and running in a matter of weeks and used the e-mail service MailChimp, to announce her new service to friends.  She was profitable with her first three orders.  “It’s so much more than just dropping in photos. I help clients with the whole creative process.”  Barbara helps her clients choose candid photos with personality that they will remember years from now.

Planning to add to her line of products with a stylish working women’s handbag, she’s funding development with profits from post card sales. She says, “The post card venture started as a plan to fund a different idea.”

Her kids love seeing their mom start something new and Barbara says, “I want to teach my kids that it’s ok to make mistakes and learn as you go.”  In the last month since starting, she’s gotten 30 orders, not bad for an experiment.  And friends loved the simplicity of sending a post card.  “I’ll soon be offering kid’s stationary, moving cards and baby announcements.  I’d love to expand beyond paper products and get back to my roots as a textile designer, perhaps designing fabric and wallpaper.

Showing whimsical colors and suggesting really real photos, the post cards are an alternative to the traditional posed photo card.  She says, “My goal is to bring back the humble post card as a way to send a smile for the holidays.”  With how it’s going so far, it seems Barbara is having her late night cake and eating it too.


VentureMom Tip

Use a current talent to create a new venture and fund a new product. 


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