Mixing Magic Bakery
Owner, Charay Williams
I’ve been baking for a long time but decided to turn it into a business during COVID-19 which might seem odd to some people. People need something to lift them up during dark times so, I figured this might be the right time. I’ve been baking since I was young but pursued it more seriously at about 20 years old. When I baked for my coworkers at my job, they would always tell me “you should sell these things” but I just didn’t really think anything of it. Recently I moved away from where I lived for nearly ten years and in my new location, I started baking again. I figured what better way to meet neighbors and get to know my surroundings than to start a bakery. I also knew there wasn’t a bakery in the city so, I figured I would just start one.
I wasn’t worried about it financially [because I have a full-time job] but of course I wanted to make money. At first, I didn’t know how to price my baked goods. I had to look on the Internet to get a baseline. Emotionally, I was definitely nervous because it was something new. My family really pushed me to start. They said “there is nothing wrong with just starting and you can always make adjustments along the way. So, don’t let that hold you back from starting something you really love”. I’ve definitely had a lot of support from my family to keep this going. They’ve really helped me expand my customer base. They’ve helped me via social media by sharing my posts, telling their friends, and telling other family members. They’ve been a huge help in making my business successful so far. In the beginning, I didn’t really know what the state rules were but now I’ve figured out what I need to do to follow the law and I’ve now officially registered with the state. I figured out how to price my goods based on what I’ve researched on the Internet and looking at other bakeries. Long term, I want to make more of a presence in the city and in the state. However, with COVID-19, I can’t really get out and meet people as much as I would like to.
I would say my target customers are anyone who loves desserts plus anyone who wants to celebrate their special occasions. Desserts are not limited to any certain type of group which is great for me in that I can sell to anyone. Greatest impact of COVID-19 on business It’s kind of two parts. One part is incidentals I guess that might not be the right word but it’s the extra things that I have to do because of COVID-19. I spend a lot of my budget on gloves, on disinfecting solutions, lots of soap, I mean it’s a lot more than usual and it’s really difficult to find these things in these times. The other part of it is the people side. I can’t go out and meet the neighbors; I can’t go door to door; I can’t just go and talk to people. However, I’ve made some relations with local businesses where I can sell inside the store, but they also have reduced customers as well. It’s also harder to get my name out there because of COVID-19.
Actions taken to differentiate business
My biggest action is to make sure that I’m baking things that I love personally. I think some bakeries just bake the essentials – what they know people will like, and that’s fine but I chose to bake what I like because I’m going to find more joy in what I do. What I try to do is just focus on what I like and then I can make it to the best of my abilities, with the best presentation possible.
Actions taken to make a difference during this pandemic
What I’ve really done is to try and follow suit with what other home bakers have done. To make sure you’re doing contactless delivery and pickups. I’ve made sure to let customers know it’ll be contactless pickup or delivery. I’ll put it on a table in front of my home so they can just come pick it up, everything labeled, or if I deliver it, I’ll knock on the door leave it and walk away, kind of like what pizza deliveries and other delivery services do. I’ve taken these actions to ensure safety and to reduce my COVID-19 exposure.
Biggest learnings since been in business
My biggest learnings are to do your research; It’s important to know what the rules are within your state; If you don’t know, find out or find somebody who does. Don’t be afraid to look at what other businesses are doing. They can give you a lot of insight and a lot of ideas. Then you can decide for yourself what you like, and what you don’t like, and how you’d like to build your business. For baking, social media is great because lots of people are connected, and you can see what others are doing. You can then put together the best ideas to elevate your business. I think that would be my best advice.
I’m inspired by just the resilience of people. I mean people can do so many great things with so little. I’m also inspired by some of the other people who decided to start businesses during COVID-19 and how quickly they were able to redirect based on some of the COVID-19 rules. There are so many tough things in these times and these days that I’m inspired by the people who pursued their dreams in spite of that.
With 46% more in revenue
I’ll probably use 46% more in revenue to expand advertising. Use some of it to potentially expand to a “brick-and-mortar” store. But probably for advertising as well because it is the biggest thing to get my name out there.
Goals for this year
My goals for 2021 are to have more of a presence in the community. So that means talking to more of the businesses that are in my area. To see if I can provide desserts for any type of event they might be having or if they have special programs with their own clients that I can help with. Just continue to produce great desserts and great content. I think being consistent on social media and continuing to show my skills producing great desserts and content, are my focus for 2021 as well. I have a really strong base and hopefully when things return more towards normal, more people can be willing to see what I can really do.
Location: Midwest / Central Ohio