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Life & Work with Colleen Hessler

Today we’d like to introduce you to Colleen Hessler.

Hi Colleen, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
My earliest memory of baking was from when I was in elementary school. My birthday is in the summer so I would always miss out on celebrating at school with my classmates. However, I would attend summer daycare and the night before my birthday, my mom would find out how many kids were going to be there the following day and we would buy all the boxes of cake mixes and frosting that we needed to bake enough cupcakes to share and celebrate. Funfetti with chocolate frosting were my favorite and we would mix each batch with her handheld electric mixer…licking the beaters clean after the last batch was made of course! Fast forward to high school, I liked to bake the same boxed cake mixes for my classmates for their birthdays and really enjoyed seeing how happy they were and how special it made them feel. Fast forward again to graduating from college and not knowing what I really wanted to do now that I was done. I saw a commercial for culinary school and thought that looked fun. Signed up for a tour the following day and then called my parents to let them know that was what I wanted to do next! Culinary school ended and I worked on a cruise ship for a couple of months in Hawaii but decided that was not the culinary creative outlet I desired. I then went to Las Vegas which was quickly becoming a culinary hot spot. There I met an incredible group of chefs and a master sommelier who really helped me develop a discipline and education in the kitchen that really set the foundation for my continued growth in my career.

After leaving the restaurant industry and Las Vegas and returning back to the South Bay where I grew up, I got hired at a bakery. I worked for this bakery for six years and grew with the company into an upper management position that fulfilled my desire to train and advance other team members to grow with the company but also left little time for me to actually bake! My next job was being the Store Manager at Cake Monkey Bakery in Mid City where I helped open their first storefront and worked closely with the owners to grow their small business which was wholesale only to retail as well. Working for a small business again allowed me the time to enjoy baking at home for friends and family. Word of mouth continued to grow my business until I was encouraged to finally pick a name for my business. I continued to gain business and repeat clients and finally needed a website! In January of 2021, my father passed away suddenly and that was really the catalyst that convinced me that I needed to be my own boss full-time. That July, I said thank you and goodbye to Cake Monkey after almost 6 years and hello to Mumm’s Cakery forever.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
One main struggle was filing the paperwork to become an official business and licensed properly! I was so worried that I filled it out wrong or that it would be a big hassle. The City of El Segundo is very small business-friendly and they let me know the minor changes I needed to make and then I had my business license. My other main struggle was finding the time to go shopping for all of the ingredients I needed to bake. When I worked full-time at my other job, it didn’t leave much time for me go and get everything. Luckily, my mom was retired and would go with my brother and aunt to get the flour, sugar, butter, and eggs to keep me baking!

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
Mumm’s Cakery is a Home Kitchen Cakery specializing in treats that both taste good AND look good. Just like your Mumm used to make for you! I love to make cakes, cookies, pies, cupcakes but also like to try and bake new things. I really enjoy when clients like to customize their order with a unique design that allows me to use my creative licensing i.e., two cats wearing party hats and wearing masks and keeping their 6ft distance during COVID. I hand-draw everything in buttercream and I very rarely use fondant when I am decorating cakes. My favorite part about what I do is being able to see my treats in action and receiving photos from clients after their celebrations. Also, I am really proud about being able to give back to the community that helped grow my business to where it is today as well as making contributions to help other communities. I have been able to do a few donations and fundraisers that benefited Ed! Gala, Everytown, Save the Children, and The Conscious Kid.

How do you define success?
For me, success is having the balance of being respected both personally and professionally.

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