We had the good fortune of connecting with Natasha Rutland and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Natasha, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Outside of utilizing my baking skills, I’m also a registered nurse at a hospital that specializes in eradicating cancer.It’s a 40+ hour job and I also have two small children that are now home more than usual due to the pandemic we’re learning to navigate through. Maintaining the interests of my children in STEM activities is also important to me and it has made for many long nights and early mornings. With the steady increase in cupcake orders, I recently made adjustments to my baking schedule by making deliveries on Mondays and Friday-Sunday for now.This has allowed me time to recover from the physical stresses of working at the hospital and spending time with my children. Maintaining the balance is hard, especially when your children are small and can’t always understand the nuances that come with shuffling multiple roles. I find ways to incorporate them by doing things like giving them the title as my official taste testers. Finding time for myself is also important. The business needs a healthy owner and my children need a happy mom. When the two are in unison, it makes for a fruitful balance

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My initial career started off as a nurse first, and working in a cancer hospital can be very rewarding, but because of the specific niche as a cancer nurse things can also become very stressful and overwhelming. In addition to the life stresses of being a nurse I also have two small children at home. There were no real areas for “me” time. I needed an outlet. Baking was always something that was very therapeutic for me. Being able to put some good music on and create a decadent treat that will forge a smile and feeling of delight in others is the goal for me. Stepping out and actually taking the time to start the business was challenging and scary. I’ve been baking for years and had people asking me to start my cupcake business long before I had the courage to do so on my own. Baking is a form of stress relief for me and transitioning from hobby to career was not THAT fun. The business aspect of owning a business can be very convoluted. Truthfully, there’s still so much more that I have to learn. And so I would say starting has been the most difficult decision thus far because it required me to do the research in owning a business and invoking the actions and time required to have longevity and prosperity. From the inception of starting this business I would always ask God to “hold my hand”. When you make the decision to take that leap of faith, it helps to know someone has your back. As a new person in the field of baking I almost felt like a child with my business knowledge. Envisioning God holding my hand energizes me and makes me feel I have the right person leading me along the way. And as a black woman who heavily relies on my spirituality and faith, I find myself constantly asking Him to hold my hand. These words of affirmation have served as a guidance in many difficult situations and though I’ve learned a lot in this past year, I still need my hand held. Many of the positive memories I have from childhood are attached to sweets. I can recall making cakes and sweets with my Granny as a child. When I think about the important factors of growing my business, quality is a critical portion for me. And quality includes not only the ingredients, but also knowing how to properly mix your ingredients and put them together nicely. My Aunt Stephany would tell me you eat with your eyes first. Making my cupcakes visually enticing is a key portion to my success. The cherry on top is that they taste amazing too.

Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Well… in this level 6 of Jumanji that is 2020, going to local areas is a bit difficult. When the universe allows us to go outside again, I do plan on having a girl’s trip. The places I look forward to would be The Turkey Leg Hut, Sunshine’s Vegetarian Restaurant, and Rollies Frozen Custard. My girlfriends and I love to dance so I would most likely sign us up for a class at InnerMe Studios or really break a sweat with Fenixxfit and the Steppin Sistas. The nerd in me constantly wants to go to The Houston Museum of Natural Sciences and going to one of their adult mixers is always a good time.

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?
I’m fortunate enough to have a phenomenal support system around me. I get encouragement and support from co-workers, friends, and family. I probably have more people to thank than you have time to announce. But today I must take the time to thank two very important people: my first love, my mother Denise and my bonus mom Helen. These two women have supported me in a multitude of ways, from watching my kids while I’m baking in the wee hours of the night, helping my kids with their schoolwork, keeping my house in order, praying for me, and giving hugs when they are heavily needed. I love them and without them I wouldn’t be here.

Website: www.kokoskupcakes.com
Instagram: @kokoskupcakes
Facebook: @kokoskupcakes