We had the good fortune of connecting with Becca Aurich and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Becca, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
What was your thought process behind starting your own business? Ha! There was no thought process. I actually started making cookies as gifts for my daughter’s daycare teachers. I had people telling me that I need to start selling my cookies and it sort of took off from there! I had no previous business experience nor did I have any customer service experience under my belt. I kind of just went with the flow and learned as I went. I am still learning and growing every single day! What’s one thing about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of?
Good cookies aren’t cheap and cheap cookies aren’t good. A ton of work goes into each order. Every order I get, I try and collect info from the customer about the event, person, theme, ect and from there I brainstorm, sketch and design every cookie down to the tiny details. I go back and forth with the customer to plan designs, pricing, pick ups. Once the design is nailed down, I make sure I have all of the cookie cutters. If not, I print on my 3D printer or order online. I have to make sure I have all of my supplies on hand before starting to bake. Flour, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, powdered sugar are staples in my grocery cart when I go grocery shopping. I have to keep up with invoicing so that when it is tax time, it will be easier to deal with.
Risk taking: how do you think about risk, what role has taking risks played in your life/career?
I am not, by nature, a risk-taker. I like to have close to 100% confidence before I go for something. When I started my cookie business, I kind of dipped my toes in the water by starting out with something simple. It really wasn’t a risk. I knew my audience (moms) that I wanted to cater to and being a mom myself, I knew what they wanted. I do a lot of research behind the scenes to get a feel for trends so that when I do put a product out there, it will do well. Now, I will not sit here and say that everything goes the way I want it to. Sometimes things just don’t work out the way I think they will. And that is okay. It is all a part of the process!
Other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the single most important decision you made that contributed to your success?
Learning when to say no. It is so hard to tell someone that you are booked up and cannot help them out. I want to help every single one of my customers every time. But I think knowing my limits and what I am capable of is one of my biggest strengths. I don’t want to get burned out. I don’t want to be so over booked that I start forgetting orders. I want to make sure that I can give each one of my customers the experience and quality they deserve and are spending their hard earned money on.
What is the most important factor behind your success / the success of your brand?
Work life balance: how has your balance changed over time? How do you think about the balance?
Learning how to balance my work with personal life is still a challenge to this day. It is a hard lesson to learn, especially when you learn it the hard way. I went into the business knowing that it was going to be a challenge so I think it was easier to figure it out. But it was still difficult and actually I still have times when I have to step back and say “hold on, let’s just slow down”. It is very easy to get caught up with pleasing every single person that wants to place an order with you. When I first started, I was a little more lenient with my time and allowed people to kind of walk all over me. I would cater to their schedule over my own and now that I am more established, I have learned to set boundaries.
Do you have a favorite quote or affirmation? What does it mean to you / what do you like about it?
Everything happens for a reason and it will all work out in the end. When I was a little girl and something would not work out how I wanted it to, I would, of course, throw a fit, get upset, angry, wonder why this was happening to me. Over time though, I have come to realize that no matter what happens, good or bad, it is always for a reason. We may not know the reason until a minute, day, month, year, or decade later. But everything will always work out in the end. I try to keep this in mind when I am having a bad day so that I don’t get frustrated and make things worse for myself.
Why did you pursue an artistic or creative career?
Decorating cookies is really a win-win situation for me. I have suffered from severe anxiety my whole life. While my first passion is science, I have also always loved arts and crafts. When I decorate cookies, I don’t really have to think about anything. It is very therapeutic for me. I put on a good true crime podcast and decorate cookies and let my mind just wander and relax. Plus I am getting paid for it so it is a great deal for me! Also, being a mom is not a glamorous life. Having my own little slice of the world and getting to show off my “art” and connect with other adults is very rewarding to me as well.
Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I actually do not do cookies full time. My “real” job is in research. My first passion is science. I love it. I love that I can learn something new very day doing research. It really is a rewarding job at the end of the day. I started doing cookies when my daughter was born and give them to her daycare teachers for gifts during the holidays. I kept having people tell me to sell them and I finally caved and dove right in. I started out selling decorate your own kits on my local moms group on Facebook to make a little extra dough (get it? 😉 ) during the holidays. I got a ton of orders and started taking orders for custom cookies the next year. From there I have built my customer base and have a lot of return customers and there is at least one new customer every day! Over all, my journey has been pretty smooth. Sure, it has had it’s ups and downs, pushed me to my limits, made me second guess myself. But all in all I would say it has been great! I think one of my biggest strengths (and my #1 advice for anyone going into business) is knowing what my limits are and learning how to say no to people. Another challenge is balancing work and personal life. Or in my case, “real” work, cookie work and personal life. Finding time for my self is always an ongoing struggle of mine. Even though I know that “me” time is super important, I really do not put myself first very often and so it really is not on my mind to do something just for me. It actually makes me more happy to do something for someone else and make them happy than to do something for myself. Having to learn how to deal with different personalities has been another challenge. Learning that not everyone is the same and knowing how to handle and accept other people the way they are is a good way to go into a lot of situations. I love using my platform to make a positive impact on the world. I love that I can donate my products to amazing organizations to help them raise money. I love that every year I get to use my profits to help other parents with gifts that their kids would otherwise not be getting for Christmas. I love showing my kids that this world is not all bad. There are still good people out there and there are a lot of them. And that they need to do good things, even if they are not recognized for it. I want to leave this world a better place than it was yesterday.
What do you want your legacy to be? What do you want people to remember about you?
I want people to remember me for being kind and making the world a better place than it was the day before. Yeah, it is just a cookie to some people, but to me, it is a connection with another person. It is learning about them and figuring out what kind of person they are and then pouring that knowledge into the design of the cookies. It is having time for myself where I don’t have to think about doing the dishes, grocery shopping, bills, ect. It is receiving a picture of a kiddo holding a cookie I made with a huge grin on his face. I want people to know that a cookie is more than just a cookie to me!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
First, definitely get a hotel that overlooks the downtown Houston skyline. It is breathtaking at night! One of my favorite sights to see, actually. Make sure to grab some lunch at 100% Taquito in Houston. I used to go at least once a week back when I was in college. Yum! Take a short drive to Seabrook and visit one of my favorite places ever-Maas Nursery. You can spend hours walking thru the grounds and even pick up a plant or two to take home with you! Have some brunch at The Seabrook Waffle Company. They have the best waffles! Next, try and spend at least one night down in Galveston in a hotel that overlooks the beach. The water isn’t the prettiest but it is super relaxing! Nothing beats waking up to the sun rising over the bay and listening to the waves crashing. Grab a burger at The Spot while you’re down there! On your way out of Galveston, you have to stop at Buccee’s. It is actually a mandatory road trip rule in Texas. 😉
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My family, friends and my customers. Without them, I would literally not be where I am today!