Home-based business seeing 'sweet' success
Last updated 3/30/2021 at 3:06pm
While the pandemic has resulted in many people losing jobs, it's also created interesting new side hustles and work-from-home businesses. One good example is sweet businesses selling candy and other treats that customers can have shipped by mail or delivered to their doorstep. Three people who have recently started sweets or treat businesses out of their homes shared their experiences.
Sammie's Sweet Treats LLC is owned by Sammie Lawrence, who started the business in February. While still in its early days, Lawrence said she's gotten a surprisingly wide response from people already. She suspects that one reason Sammie's Sweet Treats is doing well so far is that the home-operated business model removes many of the public gathering problems that conventional stores have to deal with.
"We haven't really had to adjust much due to COVID-19, due to [the fact] we don't have a commercial building for customers to come to," Lawrence explained. "We work out of our home and we don't have customers coming in for face-to-face interaction. We have been doing social distancing by only taking orders by calls, emails, Facebook and text messaging. Every order is made fresh. We sanitize and wear gloves during preparation of all the sweets at Sammie's Sweet Treats, LLC. When orders are made and ready for delivery, we wear masks and follow social distance rules when doing deliveries and having any interaction with our customers."
One thing that stands out about Sammie's Sweet Treats is its diverse menu. Customers can order several chocolate-covered items – Oreos, espresso beans or strawberries – as well as fudge, chocolate candy, chocolate truffles and candied pecans. Specialty cupcakes are also available, and special orders are welcome.
"I want customers to come to my business and have a variety of things to pick and choose from," Lawrence explained. "We use the Finest Belgian Chocolate, and everything is homemade when you order. If it has to do with chocolate, we have you covered."
Lawrence has experimented with Facebook giveaways to raise her business profile, such as giving a half-pound of dark chocolate caramel pecan clusters to a randomly-selected fan who liked the Sammie's Sweet Treats Facebook page and invited a friend to like it as well. She's found the giveaway function very helpful so far.
"It helps me get my name out there, and also they get to sample what Sammie's Sweet Treats, LLC has to offer and how good it is," Lawrence said. "We haven't done many giveaways yet, but we do plan on doing more to continue getting my name established and to keep building a customer relationship with the community. We do our giveaways also to give back to the community that has supported our small sweets business."
To order from Sammie's Sweet Treats, check out its Facebook page (facebook.com/SammiesSweetTreatsLLC), call Lawrence at 719-428-8024 or email her at [email protected]
An even newer business is Rachael's Take and Bake Cookies, owned and operated by Rachael Bofill, which opened on March 23.
"I have always had a love for cookies and have been making homemade cookies for my family and friends for about five years or so now," Bofill said. "I literally woke up one day and said to myself how I would love to be able to sell my cookies to people and share my passion for baking with everyone else!"
Bofill sells four kinds of cookies (chocolate chip, white chocolate chip, peanut butter chocolate chip and sugar cookie). While these may be common styles, Bofill uses her particular recipes, which she described as giving the cookies a homey touch. Customers can buy cookies in assorted boxes or by the dozen, and can specialize the order by adding macadamia nuts to white chocolate chip cookies. Bofill uses a "contact-free" delivery system, where customers can either pick their freshly-baked items from a cooler outside Bofill's home or arrange to have the cookies delivered to them.
While some businesses have struggled with COVID-19 or adjusted their standards for COVID-19, Bofill says the pandemic lockdown period in March 2020 actually inspired her to open this business.
"With all the time spent home, it encouraged my baking and cooking even more," Bofill explained. "I actually started looking for cookie delivery services to get myself and my family through this hard time."
Bofill is in the process of getting her retail license, which will allow her to sell homemade cookie dough that customers can take home and bake themselves. There are also plans for a potential second store in the Austin, Texas, area.
"My family lives there, and my sister is hoping to work on her own store with my recipes," Bofill said.
In the meantime, customers in the Fountain Valley area can enjoy Bofill's homey treats. To order from Rachael's Take and Bake Cookies, check out their website (rachaelstakeandbake.com), Facebook page (facebook.com/rachaelstakeandbakecookies) or email Bofill at [email protected]
Bohn's and Biscuits, which opened March 6, makes tasty yet healthy treats for a different kind of customer: dogs. Owner Ashley Bohn described the project as something she decided to do as a fun project alongside her existing job.
"I currently have a full-time job as a teacher but have always had an entrepreneur mindset," Bohn explained. "I've known for a while that I have wanted to open some sort of a business as a side hustle."
Bohn's and Biscuits sells six kinds of dog treats: Muddy's Mini Cupcakes, Moose's Morsels, Champ's Chews, Dottie's Delights, Fred's Fritters, Brewer's Biscuits and a variety pack called Stewie's Surprise. The treats are made fresh and each kind has a distinct flavor. Bohn is planning to add new items, including a diabetic-friendly treat, soon. She may also expand into selling dog food and dog collars.
"I have a lot of hobbies and 'likes,' with one of them being animals," Bohn explained. "I have a huge heart and passion for animals. That's where 'Bohn's and Biscuits' stems from. I feel that our pets deserve the best! With my last name being Bohn (pronounced Bone) I couldn't possibly have a better name for my business!"
The business has already had a great response, which led to Bohn adding a feature where nationwide customers can pay to have the treats shipped to them. To order from Bohn's and Biscuits, go to their Facebook page (facebook.com/BohnsandBiscuits).