Today we’d like to introduce you to Jacquelyn Bedford.
Hi Jacquelyn, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I was laid off from my job and decided I wanted to pursue a different career field, so I went back to school. I was in school full time when the pandemic started and took on baking as a challenge to learn a new skill and keep myself busy. I would bake from time to time before this, and I often would give the things I baked to my friends and family. In the fall of 2020, a friend asked me to make DIY cookie kits as an activity for the kids on Thanksgiving. I had never made a DIY cookie kit before, so I did a little research and decided the process looked easy enough, so I said I would do it. I bought all the materials I needed and put the kits together. They were such a hit and so much fun. I had all these left-over materials and did not want them to sit and go to waste, so I decided I would make more kits and deliver them to my friends that had young kids as a fun Christmas-themed activity. I did this and everyone who received a box was so excited, giving me great feedback and sharing them on social media. As word of these boxes got out, I had another friend reach out and asked me if I had any more of these boxes for purchase because she would love to pay me to deliver them to a few of her local friends. I was shocked that anyone would want to pay me for them, but also thankful for the extra income while unemploye. With no social media presence, just a cell phone and word-of-mouth marketing, I made, sold and delivered 25 boxes in less than two weeks. After lots of pep talks from friends, I decided to create The Cookie Trail and give it a shot. The start of 2021 was focused on self-teaching how to decorate cookies, perfecting my cookie recipes and flavors, and licensing my cottage food business. By Valentine’s day of 2021, I had my first presale and the rest is history. Thanks to a series of amazing vendor partnerships and opportunities I’ve been able to create all the custom work you see on my business Instagram page.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The biggest struggles have been trying to balance running this business while working full time, pricing/value, and seeing others like me in the cookie community. Before starting, I didn’t anticipate all the time I would be spending on social media, website maintenance, emails, invoicing, supply & inventory management, design research, baking, and ALL the cleaning that goes with baking in a home kitchen. The beautiful finished product of a decorated cookie is only a small part of what it takes to run my business. I’ve gotten so much better at time management and balancing my business with all areas of my life in the past year. As the year has passed, I have also developed my skill set and no longer feel bad about the prices I charge for my work. In the beginning, I was shocked that people wanted to pay me to make cookies for them because I didn’t have a lot of photos or examples of my work. Despite this, and given my art background and training, I was always confident that I could execute their vision. Now that I have a small digital library of my abilities and range, I feel it validates my worth and value as a cookie artist in this space. When I began learning to decorate and looking at the most popular creators in the cookie space, I noticed immediately that there were not a lot of BIPOC creators in this space. There has been a huge push for diversity and inclusion across many spaces and platforms and I can only hope that sharing my work and face encourages and invites other BIPOC creators to step into their skillset and share their work as well.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
My educational background is in Fashion Design. In early 2021 I completed a program in International Business with an emphasis on Purchasing and Supply Chain Management. During the day, I work for an apparel company that specializes in customized uniforms servicing many of the most known companies in the US. My role is in purchasing and production management for our domestic supply chain vendors. After I sign out of my day job, I run and manage The Cookie Trail which is a licensed cottage food bakery run out of my home in Carson CA, solely by me. I specialize in custom-decorated sugar cookies for all occasions. I have worked with many personal clients on events from birthdays, baby showers, and weddings and have had the amazing opportunity to work with several corporate clientele on custom cookies for releases, corporate anniversaries, and various other celebrations.
I am probably most known for my cookies tasting just as good as they look. I offer four core flavors: vanilla bean, strawberry, chocolate, and lemon-vanilla bean. I am meticulous in my execution of design and like to challenge myself through the use of various design techniques – royal icing, airbrushing, shading powders/dust, metallic paints, etc. I LOVE using lots of colors adding floral 3D touches, and also am known for the character sets I have created.
Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
I was lucky enough to receive free mentoring which served as an invaluable asset to my growth and development as a cookie artist. My biggest advice would be to get licensed in your city/state so you can run your business legally and invest in your business and skill set through classes. Because of the pandemic, I was not able to take any in-person classes until late 2021. In taking that in-person class I was able to learn a skill that added value to my business and got to meet so many other local cookiers at different stages in their business journey. Before this class, every technique that I learned was through youtube or a video/pdf content class that I purchased from another cookie artist. I loved the idea of supporting another person’s small business while being able to learn. Also, when you purchase these classes, you are given access to private groups that are filled with other people who have also purchased those classes. In these private groups, you have access to like-minded people on the same journey of learning and growing their businesses. You can ask questions, troubleshoot baking or decorating troubles, and build lasting friendships. This year, I am hoping to jump into the pop-up scene to connect with other local business owners and grow my local clientele.
- Standard Package – starts at $48/doz (simple royal icing design)
- Detailed Package – starts at $55/doz (includes airbrushing, lettering, florals)
- Elaborate Package – starts at $62/doz (includes characters, logos, hand painting)
- Delivery within 20 miles $30
- Shipping in CA is available starting at $30
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://www.mycustombakes.com/thecookietrail562
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_cookie_trail/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thecookietrail562/
- Other: https://vm.tiktok.com/TTPdhFa7Tx/