It’s a Thursday afternoon in March, and Kristin Peri is prepping her soon-to-be-opened Divine Cakes studio for its television debut on NBC-10’s Foodies. After a few years of renting time at a kitchen in a local restaurant, then working out of her home, Peri finally has a storefront to call her own in Glen Mills.
Thankfully, her previous life as a public defender prepared her for the seemingly endless hours that go into launching a new business. “I worked seven days a week,” says Peri of her stint at the Defender Association of Philadelphia. “I was in court during the week. On weekends, I was at the prisons and prepping cases.”
Peri has always loved the law. “I wanted to be a trial judge,” she says. Her public defender’s job was both rewarding and stressful. Peri would relax at night by baking. “I come from a family of bakers, including my grandmother and mother, who taught me from a young age,” she says. “Every family event we have is centered around dessert.”
While on maternity leave, she took a cake-decorating course. “I knew I could bake a cake, but I didn’t know if I could decorate one,” she says.
It turned out she could. In fact, she was so good at it that the instructor asked her to teach the course. “Everything was self-taught trial and error,” she says, laughing.
After Peri entered a YouTube contest sponsored by TLC’s Ace of Cakes, her creation was selected as one of 12 finalists (they didn’t pick a first-place winner). “I met Duff Goldman, the star of the show, and it was fantastic,” she says. “It was worth staying up all night to finish the entry.”
Peri’s confidence soared, and in 2008, she left law to pursue her second dream job. “It’s been unbelievable,” she says. “It’s been a ton of work, and so much has happened in a relatively short period of time. But I’m so happy.”
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