We had the good fortune of connecting with Caitlyn Labbe Hobbs and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Caitlyn, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Honestly there was no thought process. I never dreamed, or wanted or thought I could have my own business. It all happened very suddenly, took me by surprise, and still baffles me today with what it has become. I started baking one year just to make some extra cash before Christmas, in addition to my 40 hour work week at my real job. It provided a good side income that definitely helped, so I began baking new things, learning as much as I possibly could, and as my confidence grew, it all just really took off. Wonderful opportunities and so many incredible people just happened to show up in my life at the right moments and it has made me and my business what we are today.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The thing I am most proud of is that I am self taught. I’ve never taken any classes or any training, I have learned everything I know from watching countless videos, reading so many articles, trying different techniques that worked for me. Custom decorated sugar cookies are very particular at times, so many factors come in to play and it was definitely a trial by error process. I love to push myself and try new techniques and things that look hard, and look like I might not be ready to attempt them. I try anyway, and most of the time I surprise myself. I also believe that you are never too old or too experienced to learn something new. Since the beginning of this year, I have started getting really in to making logos on cookies. I love being able to replicate someone’s brand on something edible. I do it all by hand, instead of using edible paper or printers. It definitely sets me apart from others in my area. While it is super time intensive, it is something truly special and customers love them. I put my heart in to each one, because I know and understand how important a brand is to a fellow business owner.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There are so many options in this area it is mind blowing! The amount of activities, places to see and things to do could take months! But to start, it would definitely be a wine tour at the amazing Haak Winery here in Santa Fe. The scenery, the atmosphere, hometown feel all make this a must see! And then of course followed by a day at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Then a few days just down the road in Galveston. An entire beach day is a must for sure! Then an entire day hanging out on the famous Strand, checking out all of the local shops, eateries, and museums. A definite must visit is LA King Confectionary for unforgettable treats and dessert. Then back on the mainland, there are thousands of amazing restaurants for literally any cuisine you’re craving. Our favorite is definitely seafood being this close to the gulf. But you absolutely cannot go wrong with almost any place in the area between Houston and Galveston.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There is an incredibly long list of people that deserve credit in my story. I could probably write an entire book to properly thank the people that have influenced, guided, advised, and helped me along the way. Today is not the day for a book though, but some of the most important people on that list truly do deserve to be recognized.
First and foremost, my amazing husband Josh. For not only letting me take this leap of faith, or turning our entire house into a bakery and my business, but for being my biggest cheerleader and not letting me give up (I’ve tried a few times). For loving me on days where I know I’m completely unlikeable. For picking up the slack where I fail on the work/life balance. Not only for taking care of kids, but for taking care of me as well – making sure I eat, get some sort of sleep, and still making sure I feel loved and wanted all at the same time. None of my business would have happened or would be possible without him. I could go on for hours about all of the ways my life is better and more fulfilling with him at my side. I couldn’t have picked a better partner for this crazy ride.
My parents and siblings are absolutely monumental in this as well. They have all had a hand in this business from sharing it with friends, to coming over at crazy hours to help me package, bake, set up for events, and a million different grocery store runs. They have watched me through the hardest and most intense stages of my life, and they continue to offer a helping hand every single day. Running errands, picking up kids, shuffling to different events, and just doing whatever they can to make my life just a little bit easier. I am forever grateful and will spend the rest of my life trying to repay the love and support I’ve been given. They are the best parents, grandparents, brothers, sister, aunts and uncles, and I couldn’t ask for a more amazing family.
My entire extended family, and especially my cousin Amanda (aka my Mandi). My first best friend, and still even at 300 miles away. She is the most talented, fun, creative, quilter, sewing extraordinaire. I can always count on her to cheer me on, give me real life advice, and talk to me at 2am when we are both still up working. I loved life growing up with her, and forever grateful for the love and support and that we still get to continue that relationship even though we are far away.
My closest friends – Nicole, Kim, Kerri, Kaycie and Gloria. For pushing me from the very beginning. Always believing that I could do this, even when I don’t believe in myself. For countless orders and shoutouts and recommendations over the years. For understanding that this season of life is insane for me, and still being there for me even when they have to just see my life through snapchat, text, and late night phone calls for now. I am super thankful for the love, support, encouragement, and understanding that they provide. They are the greatest friends anyone could ask for.
The community that I never knew existed. The love and support for local businesses here is incredible, and I am so thankful. Powered by the dynamite Jennifer Fuller, the Bay Area Houston Food Lovers group has been life changing for my business. Not only are they greatest customers, but they have allowed me to make some incredible connections with other local and small business owners as well. Jason and Kristie Montegut of Chloe’s Cajun Market took a chance on me when they didn’t have to, and it paid off in a huge way for both of us. They have been nothing but kind, offered sound advice, and a space to be creative and let my business take off. I cannot thank them enough and could not have better business people and friends to navigate the world of small business. I am incredibly grateful and look forward to many more years to come.
I also had the pleasure of connecting with Nicole McEhearn and Tahira Christensen of Niche and Scrumptious Catering and Bakery. These are two of the most authentic, inspiring women I’ve ever met. They not only allowed me to use their kitchen, but allow me to be myself and genuine, have a space to share ideas and vent about the trials of small business owners, and have grown into great friends. The business collaborations they have allowed us to do have only propelled all of us forward in these few years, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds. These women will run this world one day, they are unstoppable and I have the pleasure of getting to work with them.
There are numerous other people I could go in to great detail about, but for everyone that has ever shared, liked, commented, ordered, sent words of encouragement, anything along those lines – I am truly grateful for all the love and support. You are what makes small business possible.
Other: Tiktok: @makesandbakestogeaux