Today we’d like to introduce you to Liza Abbott.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My business started totally by chance nearly seven years ago, way before decorated cookies were the craze they are today! I was working at a production company doing development on films and had some down time while waiting for projects to green light. During that time, I was asked by a family friend to make some desserts for her daughter’s birthday. I had always baked cupcakes/chocolate chip cookies here and there growing up but never anything like this! The theme was Barney and Friends and with the help of my friend (who is a chef) we created an entire dessert table consisting of a cupcake cake, Barney lollipops made of chocolate, rice krispie treats, brownies and chocolate covered pretzels. From that one party, word of mouth spread faster than I could have ever imagined amongst this tight-knit group of moms. The next mom wanted decorated Sesame Street cookies, something I had never dabbled in before. I turned to google and began researching the ins and outs of decorated sugar cookies. I am a completely self-taught baker. Once I perfected my character cookies (Sesame Street, Mickey Mouse, Paw Patrol, etc.), it was all the moms wanted! For the first year, it was mainly kids parties and private events but that quickly changed when people started taking leftovers to work and I started getting large corporate clients. I’ll never forget the day Maybelline contacted me to make cookies for Gigi Hadid, Christy Turlington, Adriana Lima and the rest of their spokesmodels. We created custom sets curated to each girl and their favorite things. It was an experience I’ll never forget that led to so many wonderful things like working with Christy Turlington’s charity Every Mother Counts making custom cookies for their Mother’s Day collection. Word of mouth has really lead me to where I am today and I am forever grateful for the people who have believed in me from the beginning (even when my cookies weren’t the prettiest yet!).
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Owning your own business always has its ups and downs! For me, I’d say my biggest struggle is trying to manage every single aspect on my own. Even though I have help, I still want to make sure that everything comes out exactly as it should whether it be the decorating, packaging or photographing! I’d say I also still struggle on certain orders, not everyone is a breeze! Almost every order I take is different from something I’ve done before so I’m constantly stepping outside of my comfort zone pushing the boundaries of what I think I’m capable of.
My best advice would be to look to people within your industry for advice or guidance and don’t be afraid to ask for help. The cookie community is the absolute sweetest and I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of others. My other advice would be to always remember to take time for yourself otherwise you’re going to burn out. It’s very hard in the first few years but it’s crucial to find some type of work/life balance when you’re running your own business.
What should we know about Dear Liza’s Custom Cookies & Desserts? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My specialty is delicious hand-painted sugar cookies with royal icing. I’d say I’m most known for my obsessive attention to detail while still making sure the cookies taste good 🙂 I’m a total perfectionist at heart and don’t let anything out the doors unless it’s perfect. Every time someone gets their order they can’t believe the amount of detail in each cookie. I also pride myself on my color matching; I once re-did an entire order for Facebook because I wasn’t happy with the way the shade of blue dried. I have a lot of clients in the fashion industry so I do a lot of fashion based cookies. I also to do a lot of logo cookies and this may sound odd but I get asked all the time to turn liquor bottles into cookies! I also LOVE sprinkles and try to use them as much as possible! My relationship with my customers is the most important to me. I want to make sure I get every detail that they’ve requested correct whether it be a specific type of font, special color or custom saying. My number one concern is making the customer happy so I will go to pretty much any length to make their vision come to life; a hippo in a Santa hat, you got it, the entire Ralph Lauren fragrance line turned into cookies, no problem! What I’m told over and over by my customers is that they never expect something so beautiful to taste so good and they can’t wait to order more!
It would be great to hear about any apps, books, podcasts or other resources that you’ve used and would recommend to others.
Sweet Sugarbelle and Sweet Ambs have cookie blogs that were my savior when I first started! Their advice and online tutorials are the best! The Food Network and anything Martha Stewart related are also huge resources for me.
For Apps, Instagram is, of course, a huge part of my business. Another one of my go-to apps that I use often while baking is Kitchen Dial. It’s a really helpful app that does measurement conversions that comes in handy when making very large batches of dough or icing!
For what I do, getting out into the world is one of the best resources! I look at everything in terms of how it would translate into a cookie. For example the other day, I was at Trader Joe’s and saw the cutest birthday card with 2 flamingos that I ended up using as inspiration for an order of bridal shower cookies!
- Website: www.DearLizas.com
- Phone: (323) 285-3781
- Email: info@DearLizas.com
- Instagram: @DearLizas
- Facebook: @DearLizas