Behind The Bakery: Long Story Short(ish)

Many of you know the gist of my “How I Got Here” story by reading my About page, but the real story is a little longer than just 3 paragraphs.

The seed for my bakery was planted waaaayyy back in January of 2009. I was a freshman in college and had recently been dumped (over text) by my first boyfriend. Naturally, I was heartbroken.

Even though I was at college out of state, I still had one of my older sisters at school with me and my twin brother was there, too.

As luck would have it, I went to a small college called Indiana Wesleyan University, so everyone kinda knew everyone. I believe word got around to my sister, Abbi, that I had been crying in the cafeteria, so Abbi invited me over to her house to bake. I think this was because she felt sorry for me, but it was never confirmed.

When I got to my sister’s house, she told me she found a recipe for these things called “cake balls” and wanted to try them out. I loved to bake, so I was excited to give it a shot.

The cake-ball-making process turned out to be much longer than I expected, but later that day we had a batch of our first cake balls!

When I came home for spring break, I actually went over to my ex’s sister’s house for dinner and ended up making cake balls for her. I loved her reaction to them, so I kept making them for every family, friend, or work event over the next couple years.

My family would request them at all our get togethers and work friends wanted them at every Christmas party or bowling night.

Some of my former Kings Island coworkers enjoying cake balls in the parking lot of a bowling alley. We all start somewhere! (And yes, I know my friend is flipping off the camera in the background) 

I had some friends and family who would request a batch just for themselves, but I’d always say they took too much time or cost too much (for a broke college student) to make regularly, but I’d be happy to teach them to make them.

I was always met with the same response: no.

People started offering to buy the cake balls, but I never felt confident enough to sell them.

The idea to start selling started growing shortly after my wedding in 2014.

I was recently unemployed and felt down as job hunting wasn’t going well. I had the idea whispering to me but I kept ignorning it. I would text a friend about it, maybe send a picture of something I saw on Pinterest and write, “Maybe one day!”

I loved the idea of being my own boss and had toyed around with it by selling Mary Kay, which I was awful at. But, the idea that I could control what I made sparked something in me.

Eventually I got a job at the company I currently work for, but the desire to be a baker never left my mind.

In fact, it grew.

In November 2015, I texted my best friend about announcing it on Facebook “just to see who would be interested.” She helped me set some standard pricing and I made a flier on an app on my phone.

I posted the flier and linked it to my Facebook page. Then I waited. And waited. And shared the post. And waited. Toward the end of November, I had my first order!

Those first few orders were nervewracking for me. I still didn’t feel qualified to sell my creations, and honestly, I still don’t.

The bakery was slow to start, but something happened in summer/fall of 2016 that I still can’t explain.

I got my first wedding. Then orders. Then I was booking up weekends.

Christmas 2016 was the first time I felt truly overwhelemed with my decision to work full time AND run the bakery out of my house. I was working 70-80 hours a week between the 2 jobs and didn’t have a chance to stop and catch my breath.

But I loved it.

January 2017 was much slower, but that lull didn’t last long. In the Spring, I was back to working 30+ hours on the bakery some weeks and was booking up even more.

I know I’m not a parent, but I bet I feel the same way about my bakery that parents feel about their child: I made this. I put in the long nights to make it grow.

Honestly, I can’t remember what life was like before I started The Little Pink Bakery and now I don’t want to know what life would be like without it.

I love my little bakery and, dare I say it, I’m proud of what I’ve made.

Alli HicksComment