“Oh my God. I just started a business. I have no idea how to run a business. What have I gotten myself into?”
This is exactly what I said to myself when I started my small baking business a year and a half ago. What the hell have I done? How am I going to manage this? Am I breaking even? I don’t know. Because I have no idea what I’m doing.
Cooking and baking always came natural to me. I used to bake all the time when I was younger. Then I discovered boys and makeup and well, fuck baking that pie.
Picture it, the year 2011 and I decided to host Christmas dinner. But what am I going to make for dessert? I chose to make a chocolate cheesecake. Found the recipe in a Kraft Food magazine. I made it and it was perfect. I was proud. I was like yes, I got this.
In 2013, I made my friend a molten chocolate cupcake. I got real fancy with it and put chocolate shavings on top and posted it to Instagram.
Someone commented and asked if I sold them and I was like, nah. I do this for fun.
The very next day, I took the remainder of these cupcakes and some vanilla ones to a Super Bowl party and was asked the same question. “Do you sell these?” Again, I answered no, but in my mind I was like, shooootttt I need to get my hustle on!
I had to determine what would set me apart from the other bakeries around. Since I was small and home based, I decided to just specialize in made to order goods. I make on demand, just allow me 48 hours to prepare your order. If you think of a flavor, I can make it for you. If you want something special for a birthday or any event, I will make it for you and if I can’t I won’t bullshit you about it.
I started making cupcakes, cakes and cookies, all from scratch and mixed by hand, and posting them to my Instagram account. Then I had to find a name for my business that wasn’t corny or pretentious. I remembered that my old coworker would call me Tia Coco. I had no idea why she called me that, but it was fake fancy like me, so I went with that name for my business.
After posting enough pictures to my Instagram page, I got a little bit of a buzz from some of my friends. I would just make cupcakes and take them to local businesses or save them for my friends so they wouldn’t go to waste. I was just self promoting myself so that one person would like what they had and make an order.
I honestly cannot tell you when my business took off, but it did. And I was overwhelmed, yet thankful. I didn’t know how to run my business, keep track of the money I made, if I was running a trap house. Nothing. But I had faith and I kept going.
June 2013, a local boutique that I would take my extra cupcakes to offered me the opportunity to do a cupcake bar. I was so nervous and was like please let these people like my cupcakes.
At my first cupcake bar at Jeanté, summer of 2013
Well the customers did and I was contracted to do all the dessert bars at that boutique for the rest of the year. People would be so excited to see what flavors I would come up with next. That made me feel so good. Like I had finally found what I was good at.
Black and White Cupcake (chocolate cupcake, white chocolate icing)
As always in every love story, there must be an interruption. About a year ago I almost quit because i was financially drained. As I stated, I had no idea how to run a business. I had to reevaluate my business, how I took orders, my book keeping, the value of my products and had to stop giving out the homegirl discount. Making these changes worked and I continued on.
Everyone has a special something that sets them apart. Find what you love to do and make it a hobby. That hobby may turn into something profitable or just give you an escape from life.
I never thought in a million years that making a chocolate molten cupcake for my friend and posting it on Instagram would result in me having a booming business.
I am very proud of my business and one day hope to open my own bakery or just have someone lurk my Instagram page and put me on. I think I’ve worked hard enough for that small break!
*Visit my business IG page, tiacococupcakes, to see more pictures of my goodies.*