What to do with another snow day and no school? The oldest sister, Kate, says, let’s make cupcakes, the middle sister Charlotte agrees, but Kate points out that they don’t have boxed cake mix. Charlotte says, we can make them from scratch and heads to the internet to get recipes. Mom, Kinsey, is thrilled that the girls have found something to do on their day off rather than watch tv.
After trial and error, the girls had baked three flavors of cup cakes – but they wanted someone to share them with and walked over to their neighbor’s house to share their sweets. The response, “These are so good you should sell them.” Tromping back home through the snow, the girls roped their younger sister, Elizabeth, and mom into the act, named their venture Sister Sweets, and made business cards. Knocking on more doors, they went to other neighbors, dropping cards with samples of their new confectionary creations and they were in business.
Garnering a couple of initial orders, Kinsey first got the girls organized. Buying supplies in bulk and gathering the right tools for baking, was the next step. Breaking the hand mixer netted a new KichenAid mixer as a gift from their Aunt Wendy. Kinsey helped the girls determine what to charge and made a schedule. Working around school and the activities of a 12, 15, and 17 year old was a feat.
The girls did more research and added new flavors like espresso with chocolate icing, apple cinnamon with apple cream cheese frosting, and coconut with key lime frosting. Taking their cards to school, teachers became a large source for orders. They began creating cup cakes, regular size and minis, for ladies’ luncheons, kids’ birthday parties, athletic teams and bridal showers. They were even asked to do cakes for a Royal Wedding party and used the British Flag as inspiration.
This summer a local sweet shop hired the girls, through a neighbor’s referral, to do the cupcakes every weekend for store parties. The girls thought, “This is so great.” Kate says, “I always wanted my own business and never thought it would be cupcakes. But it’s something feasible and we’ve made if profitable.”
How did Kinsey feel? Seeing her girls learn to be entrepreneurs, was wonderful, but seeing the girls bond and work as a team was the real gift. Kinsey says, “The business gives the girls a sense of accomplishment. I’m there to help with the logistics, packaging, and financing, but the girls make and ice all the cup cakes.” Hosting a sampling party for friends in town, brought in more orders and broadened the selection of cake flavors and icings.
“It’s a cohesive effort and the girls make their own spending money which is great given the economy.” Kinsey was a retail buyer for a large department store before she left when her third daughter was born. Going back to physical fitness, she is a personal trainer during the day while her girls are in school and in the afternoons, she’s there to help them grow their venture.
Kinsey says, “I love seeing the girls learn to balance homework and other priorities. This is teaching them a valuable lesson that they can carry with them.” The girls paid mom back for the baking tools with profits, and they are in the black now and looking forward to lots of orders for the holidays. Kate says, maybe a pop-up shop is next. With no web site yet, Sister Sweets gets orders come from word of mouth. But when you taste the red velvet cupcake with cream cheese icing or the banana with salted caramel, you can see why they’re already carving out lots of time for baking.
Take a snow day, get creative, and build a venture with your kids.