It’s a passion she shared with her three daughters when they were pre-schoolers, baking with them to keep them entertained when restlessness set in. She later began providing her eye-catching, tasty treats for teachers and staff at Tommie Barfield Elementary School, starting when her son, Benjamin, now 13, was a student there.
Today, it’s an avocation that has morphed into a home-based, delivery only, business, Sanz-Era Timeless Treats Online Bakery, which serves the Marco Island, Naples and Bonita Springs areas.
“I don’t take the easy route at all with my baking,” Sanzera said of handmade cakes, cookies, cupcakes, pies and other oh-so tempting delights she prepares, made to order, for customers. “I really pride myself on making everything from scratch and that it tastes as good as it looks.”Sanz-Era Timeless Treats opened for business last October and since then Sanzera has whipped up and delivered custom baked goods for weddings, baby showers, birthday and children’s parties, anniversaries and as a donation to Avow Hospice. Some clients have even requested thank-you and get-well-soon cupcakes, or as a gift, in lieu of flowers.
The business’ name is a clever play on her surname.
As she explains it, “Sanz is ‘without’ and ‘era’ is within a time or time,” she explained. “So that’s how I came up with ‘timeless treats.’”
In part, the business’ start is rooted in Sanzera’s role as a stay-at-home mom in 2013, when her daughter Alessandra was about 3½ and her twins, Giuliana and Daniella, were then about 2.“They were pretty active and bored easily so I said lets bake. So we would hang out in the kitchen and bake things,” she said.
For about the last five years, Sanzera has also sent baked goods to her children’s school, Tommie Barfield, for holidays and special occasions, something that also prompted her to start thinking in business terms.
“I decided why don’t I try something and market myself since I’m a stay-athome mom,” she said. “So I decided to market myself and to see where I go from there because everyone loves everything I bake. After I trademarked everything and got everything going, everything has expanded really rapidly and it just grew into a full-force business.”The delivery-only business model is a requirement of Sanzera’s designation as a “cottage food” operation under Florida law.
According to the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the law allows the use of unlicensed home kitchens to produce for sale certain foods that are a low risk of food-borne illness. Those foods can be produced and sold directly to consumers without obtaining a food permit from the department, as long as gross sales do not exceed $50,000 annually.
Sanzera said she has received the necessary city and state licenses and permits for using the kitchen of her Marco Island home, which she uses for most orders. For large orders, she utilizes the commercial kitchen at Gulf Coast Deli Provisions in Naples, which is owned by her husband Daniel’s family.
She anticipates shifting production there as the business grows, as required by state regulations, but ultimately hopes to open a storefront on the island.
Sanzera has largely relied upon positive word of mouth, “where people taste the product first before they order it,” to spread the word about her business. To further that process, she used to bake cupcakes and give them away, such as at her hairdressers. She now has a website and a Facebook page.
The business is truly a family affair, with Daniel and Benjamin Sanzera helping with deliveries and their daughters slated to get involved when they are older.
Cauane Sanzera; she’s a native of Brazil and her name means “sister of the moon” in Portuguese, said her business is also providing some valuable lessons for the children.
“It’s important to teach my kids that you can be a stay-at-home mom and run a business and still be involved with their school and volunteering,” she said. “You just have to find the right balance.”