Today we’d like to introduce you to Tammie & Shanie Los.
Hi Tammie & Shanie, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
The story of this business starts with my mother. My mother, Tammie, worked with food all her life. From training with high-end pastry chefs in San Francisco to working nights as a waitress for extra cash, she was always around incredible food and some of the best kitchens in California. So it’s only fitting that she too would go on to create something great, right? And all great stories start at home, whether it’s in a garage, basement, or in this case a kitchen; a really, really small kitchen. A good friend of my mother was opening a small coffee shop and asked if she wanted to make pastries for him. Wanting more than just waitressing she gladly accepted by making him a couple of small batches of cookies and fudge. These were of course a big hit but the owner wanted more. He wanted muffins. My mother had never made muffins before as these weren’t things you made in a high-end pastry kitchen. She gave it a go and they were good but not great. After numerous nights of force-feeding her family muffin after muffin, she stumbled upon what we know today as the South Bay’s best muffin. She went on to later own that small coffee shop, taking the reigns from her friend after her muffins became the main attraction. People from all over would come to try them. And in time the coffee shop grew to be a cafe, offering a few small crepes and omelets, then to a large diner a block from the Hermosa Beach strand.
Yet, no matter how large the menu grew there was always one reason people came. The muffins. After almost 20 years of the restaurant business, four breast cancer surgeries, my entire time in middle school, high school, and college, we made the decision for her that it was time to rest. Everyone knows the toll the restaurant industry can have on one’s body and it had become too much for me to watch my mother put herself through. The neighborhood was crushed but ultimately it was for the best. My mother’s health healed and so did her spirit. We had a huge following from our years in business. People contacted us daily after we closed to find out how they could get muffins. As days went on, I watched these muffins become less of the favorite younger sibling that annoyed me my whole life and more of a success. So I started to get more involved. I knew the potential this product had for our family and I decided to make this my priority. I knew our story wasn’t over and that these muffins had to live on. I started to brainstorm ways of growing. We started with home delivery, baking out of a small home kitchen yet again. This was tough but easier than a whole restaurant for sure. We didn’t get a whole lot of orders right away so eventually, I turned to farmers’ markets.
As expected, we did really well and started to grow to other markets around the South Bay at the same time still offering home delivery here and there. At one point, we had four farmers’ markets a week around the South Bay. Then COVID hit. Home deliveries increased and market attendance went down. We are currently in only two farmers’ markets, Manhattan Beach and Riviera Village in Redondo Beach while still delivering muffins daily to our customers who prefer to stay home. We are in the process of looking for ways to package our muffins for retail space. Our product is fresh and unique in size and so this has been challenging. In addition to retail, we’re working towards getting our muffins to people all over the United States. With the pandemic, a lot of Californians have made the jump to new states and they want to keep us in their routines. We hope to make these steps happen soon. Until then, we’re still at home in the kitchen making muffins for our community every day.
Alright, 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?
COVID has definitely been our biggest challenge. When all the farmers’ markets started to close in March 2020, we lost most of our business. After we reached out to customers on social media for support, our home delivery orders shot up and we definitely were not prepared. People started ordering muffins for their loved ones and eventually, it became a big gift option for the neighborhood. This was great because it spread the word about us to larger areas of LA but it definitely took some long hours for my mother and I to get the process right. I work full time outside of managing this business and thankfully, I had a very understanding boss and company that allowed me to help with the packaging and deliveries when needed. My husband and best friend have also become expert packagers and delivery drivers.
As you know, we’re big fans of Tammie’s Muffins. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Tammie’s Muffins operates out of two local farmers’ markets every week, Manhattan Beach on Tuesday and Riviera Village in Redondo Beach on Sunday. We also offer free home delivery to a large portion of Los Angeles. We offer muffins and other baked goods such as cookies and scones. We currently bake out of our home using a cottage food permit. The muffins are our main squeeze but people rave about our cookies and carrot cake as well. We pride ourselves on using less sugar than most packaged baked goods because a lot of the ingredients we use act as natural sweeteners, such as blueberries and raspberries. My mother and I have a lot of grit. We don’t shy from working the extra hours to build something great and I think that is what makes me the proudest. My mother would probably say something like my creativity as she mentions it almost every day, haha. As far as what sets us apart from everyone is the product. They’re truly nothing you’ve had before as countless customers have told us. They’re also incredibly large. They weigh between 8-10oz depending on the flavor and are the size of a softball. I always say the size is what brings people in but it’s the flavor that makes them stay.
If you had to, what characteristic of yours would you give the most credit to?
Perseverance. For us to continue to succeed and grow there can be no ceiling. I want us to always push to make this bigger and better. It’s taken us some time to get things to new heights each time around but regardless of the situation, we have kept moving. There have been a number of things that have tried to bring us down in life between my mother’s health or a global pandemic but my mother has always taught me to keep going and that’s what we’re doing with this business. There’s something here that will definitely live on in our family forever.
- Regular Muffin (10oz.) – $4.95
- Mini Muffin Packs (4oz. each) – starting at $13.50
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: tammiesmuffins.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/tammiesmuffins
- Facebook: facebook.com/tammiesmuffins