Our monthly small business highlight is one that you may be familiar with if you follow our Instagram feed – the lovely Kayla with BeeSweet Bake Shop and Such. She is a sweet milspouse (see what I did there?) who has started her own cookie business, and it is downright darling and delicious. The inspiring Kayla shared her story into entrepreneurship through our interview below.
Tell us a little bit about you – I’m Kayla, owner of Bee Sweet Bakeshop and Such. I specialize in thick, delicious vanilla bean sugar cookies with a variation of royal icing. I’m from a small German Catholic town in North Texas about an hour from Dallas. Growing up, I always loved celebrating Birthdays and making pancakes and brownies just for fun. I have a grandma that has a magical freezer that just produces food, cake, and ice cream on command when guests come over so I’m pretty sure I got my love of cooking and recipe perfecting from her. I remember making funnel cakes and apple pies with her and the sweet smell.
I moved to San Marcos, Texas to start my Family and Child Development degree after high school. Once again, I found myself making brownies but this time I sold them exclusively in quarters in the dorms so that I’d have laundry coins readily available. After college, I got married to Travis who has fond memories of me having a pan of brownies and an inflatable tube in the trunk of my car one of the first times we hung out. He’s been sweet on me ever since. We moved to Pensacola where he started the flight training portion of his career in the United States Marine Corps. I found myself mostly baking and hitting the beach. What else is there to do when you’re only somewhere for 4 months?
We then moved back to Texas. I had a nanny job and, in the evenings, when Travis was studying, I would bake. I started with cakes and had tons of custom cake orders on base in Corpus after I took a Hobby Lobby Decorating Class. I also took a 2-hour cookie decorating class at a local baker’s supply store and my love of cookie decorating started. We then moved to North Carolina for 4 months and my baking supplies didn’t make the cut. After moving to San Diego and not getting many cake orders, I started picking up cookies again. After realizing I moved in next door to the sweetest and best baker in town, I decided to really work on making my cookies a quality product and improving my skills. I have gone from charity events, to custom orders, to pre-sales, to porch pop-ups, to Art Walk Events in Liberty Station and Feast and Craft artisan market in Del Mar.
In the beginning of BeeSweet Bake Shop and Such
Tell us about the start of Bee Sweet Bake Shop? How did you pick your name? – So, I had made my cousin Amy a birthday cake and shortly after, someone had asked me to make a cake for their birthday where they insisted that they would pay me. And it began. I needed to figure out how much to charge, I needed business cards, and more importantly I needed a name. I had a gift tag sitting on my desk which had an image of a bee and the word sweet below it. I decided to run with it and added “and such” partly because “Bee Sweet Bakeshop” was already taken on Instagram and I really wanted to keep my options open since I wasn’t exactly sure where this whole idea was going. So, I decided on a name and ordered my business cards that day. I recently re-branded and got my first actual logo. I absolutely love it!
What made you start your own business? I’ve always been an entrepreneur. I would pick flowers out of my neighbor’s yard as a kid and ring their door bell and sell them right back to them. I’m not sure what that says about my business ethics but I’ve always liked selling. Top Girl Scout Cookie Seller? You bet! Top Cookie Dough seller for FCCLA? Yup!
I initially started as a hobby and then it ended up being some additional income after my nanny job. I like the fact that I don’t have to fill out a new application every time we move and it’s something that goes with me. For the first time in 10 years, I’ve lived in San Diego for the longest period which is over 2 years.
Favorite Piece – My favorite cookies would have to be my niece’s 1st Birthday in which I hand painted for the first time and a gift I did for one of my biggest motivators and supporters. I water colored for the first time and added inspiring words in gold.
The Administrative Side of Business
Did you have to apply for any licenses in regards to your business? Yes, I had to go through the County of San Diego Department of environmental Health to get my Initial Registration Class A permit as well as get a certificate of payment of Business Tax. It was a lot of hoops to jump through and in my opinion, frankly a pain. I’m glad I’m legal and certified though. The Navy program just announced spouse re-licensing reimbursement program so hopefully the next time we move, that will be covered.
Do you find that it is manageable to continue the business whilst navigating the other duties of marriage and/or parenting, life? I make it work, I guess. I can determine when I’m booked or when orders are closed depending on the needs of our family, deployments, and moves. . If I want to take a week vacation, I just plan it ahead of time and stay firm to my policies. So this last semester was very busy. I took the final semester of Professional Bakeshop Skills through San Diego Continuing Education. Chef Sarah taught us the basics of bread making, cake decorating, chocolate making and so much more! I found the class very interesting and looked forward to making the items each week as most of them were for the first time. I enjoyed the free class and was thankful for the opportunity but it was a stressful semester. I was a student, wife, mom, daughter, friend, neighbor, kick ball coach, and cake show volunteer just to name a few in addition to running by business. The daily grind is a juggling act of finalizing cookie orders, washing dishes, cooking, making it to CrossFit classes, getting James ready for school or taking him to the park on Tuesdays and Thursday. I also try to find some me time, collect payments, plan custom orders, late nights, ordering supplies, marketing, personal appointments, holiday pop-up sales, just trying not to eat the dang cookies, and not to mention social media which is a whole separate job in itself. All of this with a husband who has a crazy work schedule and I solo parent a lot especially through the last 7-month deployment. (AKA #military life)
Just for Fun
Favorite motivational quote?
Anything worth having is worth working and fighting for
Favorite thing to do?
Family time, scroll insta, try new coffee shops and sip iced coffees, camp with friends, and antiquing.
Favorite place to live?
Loved the Texas Hill Country, the beaches of Pensacola, and the food in San Diego!
Favorite place you have PCS’d to?
Probably San Diego
Favorite thing to do at your current duty station?
Bake cookies. Just kidding. We love to hit the baseball games, hiking trails, and garden in our back yard.
Number one tip to give to fellow military spouses who want to start their own business? Connect with others in the field and use the resources out there such as the Rosie Network for military spouse entrepreneurs. Community over Competition.
Looking to place an order?
How do people contact you for orders?
I’ve popped up with The Local Bazaar at Liberty Station’s First Friday Art walk and Del Mar’s new Feast and Craft Artisan Market at Flower Hill. I also do porch pop-up for just about every holiday!
If you mention this article, I’ll do a 15% of discount for you! Just mention “MILMOM” 😊