Lessons from the old year…(2015)

When I started this Oklahoma Home Bakery I had no idea what I was doing. I thought I did, but compared to today, I knew nothing. In fact, that is probably why I started it. I am always challenging myself to do something new and baking from scratch just hit the spot. I’ve been in a constant state of improvement and learning since day one. Sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s do or die, but it’s never boring.

Here are some of the lessons I learned in 2015:

  1. When new legislation is introduced, it doesn’t mean that there is ANY one in charge of implementing it or ANY clarification on what it actually means. You can call the city, the state, and the county and get different answers about the same topic and they will all KNOW FOR SURE they are right even though they are directly contradicting each other. I learned this from direct experience when looking to remain a home bakery and when looking at getting a licensed kitchen.
  2. My husband can fix or install every piece of equipment we have so far! He put in our double convection oven, he repaired my KitchenAid mixer, he’s fixed the dishwasher and garbage disposal too many times to count. He can even fix my gadgets, like the cookie scoops that I am forever overloading with cold dough and getting out of whack. I hope he never demands to be put on the payroll. I don’t think I can afford him!
  3. Never take advice from somebody you wouldn’t trade places with. (Yeah, yeah… whatever grammar police… proper grammar schmammer.) Just because everyone thinks I can and wishes I would, doesn’t mean I should. People get really excited to see Sweet Bytes growing and the offers that we are getting to bring deliciousness to new places and bigger venues. Some people become instant business advisors and have a slew of suggestions that they are, so kindly, willing to give for free. I’ve learned to consider the well meaning advice givers as just that. Well meaning. My inexperience used to have me believe that if someone was so free with advice they must be right. WRONG! Unless they have been exactly here, they probably are just excited about what’s happening and looking to join in on the fun.
  4. Science rules when baking. It’s worse than the tax man. It’s right… ALWAYS. You can’t avoid the science when doing the baking. If you think you can’t bake, it’s because you have been avoiding the science. Precise measurements, precise temperatures and times. It’s relentless and if you try to run from it, it will take your dessert and DESTROY IT!
  5. I am a home bakery. 2015 was a year of extreme growth for Sweet Bytes. Orders quadrupled from the previous 2 years. I was so blessed and overwhelmed at the same time. I was hotly pursuing become a full fledged bakery all while filling orders when summer vacation and my kids being home reminded me of how I started on this journey: In my kitchen, with my family nearby, just a holler away from tending to whatever needs arise. Easily going back and forth between home and work. So for now, I give up being able to serve desserts at local restaurants and selling at local events. I go back to pursuing the best desserts I know how to make and connecting them with the people who love them. I come back to being where I’m at, without feeling the need to push so hard.
  6. I will forever be a student! Maybe that is the teacher in me, but I feel like I know NOTHING! I mean, I know more than I knew before… but when I look at everything I hope to learn… I know very little. When I look at all of my internet and library book mentors, there are miles to travel on this proverbial pie path. Not to mention the entrepreneurial path. The good thing is, I’m still excited to learn.

I hope that you will stay with me on this journey and cheer us along the way. I always say it to my husband, but really, who knew? Who knew that all of this would happen if some burnt out art teacher, stay at home mom started baking pies? Nothing is impossible. I look forward to the future!

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About Mikel Ibarra

Mikel Ibarra holds a BFA in painting, is a certified cake decorator, teaches baking and cake decorating classes, and frequently combines her passions for the sake of art. Sweet Bytes is where she shares everything she knows about the art of baking and running a baking business.