We had the good fortune of connecting with Tai Edwards and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tai, can you share the most important lesson you’ve learned over the course of your career?
The most important lesson I’ve learned from growing Guilty Pleasures is passion and growth. Becoming an entrepreneur was the hardest and most rewarding decision that I have ever made. Especially during 2020’s historical lockdown surrounding the pandemic, COVID-19, there were a lot of obstacles that businesses had to face. Guilty Pleasures was definitely on that list. I am a firm believer of understanding and believing your “why” behind anything that you do. To me, celebrations were never complete without loved ones and a slice of cake. To have the ability to bring happiness, togetherness, and celebration through my treats in a time where people were separated and life as we know it was changed, fueled my passion for baking. Passion takes on many forms for entrepreneurs, for me it took the form of growing my skills and knowledge to really bring my desserts to life. From testing new and exciting recipes, crafting specialty cakes, to even finding out new ways to decorate the treats. I learned how important having a seat at the table of any celebration (big or small) with a Guilty Pleasure. I was able to become adaptable in our “new normal”, and elevate the business as a whole because my passion drove me past any obstacle that stood in the way.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I make homemade, tasty desserts and deliver them to those who are guilty of a sweet tooth. I am mostly known for making incredibly creamy cheesecakes, but everything on the menu has a reason to shine. I am mostly proud of how far the business has come in 3 years. I can see the improvement in the taste, in the presentation, to even the packaging. Whenever Guilty Pleasures was first introduced into the world, it was to help me pay for my Senior year of College and textbooks. Fast forward to now, and it’s a growing bakery. I don’t have children, but this is what I imagine watching your child take its first steps feels like!
It took a lot of effort, support and being able to not only listen to critiques/advice but to find a way to implement it and still stay true to the brand. I didn’t come from an entrepreneurship background, so learning how to build a business from the beginning took a lot of mentorship, researching, reading and trial and error. You have to be able to quickly identify the problems and find creative solutions to combat it. You also have to know your audience! What do they like? What do they not like? Once I was able to understand who my support came from, it was easier to adjust and make changes accordingly.
If you are not constantly growing and being consistent, then your business won’t grow and be consistent. That was one of the biggest lessons that I have taken away from these 3 years, and to this day it holds true. I constantly strive for the opportunity to connect with more people and be able to bring happiness to their life that is only found through a sweet treat. If you know me, then you know that I love to cook and bake for others. The satisfaction of eating something delicious has always been my favorite thing to experience, but it is completely different when you can provide that feeling for other people. That is the feeling that I get every time I deliver an order, see a picture on social media, or receive a “It was sooo good!” text.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There are two things that I love to do. Eat good food and do fun things. Houston is an amazing place to find delicious and unique food spots.
We will start everyday with brunch in Montrose (but lets be honest, there are amazing brunch gems scattered throughout Houston), then go on an adventure! Discovery Green and the wide array of things to do there, go to NASA and tour the facility there, I will gladly drive anyone by the house where Beyonce grew up at, see the animals at the Houston zoo and visit the art district, home to multiple amazing museums.
There are too many amazing food places to even name here, but I will say that there will be multiple stops at food trucks at parks, campuses and throughout the city.
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 am so grateful for the support that I have gotten over the years. It is a lot so buckle your seat belts! To my parents, thank you for creating the foundation of cooking and baking for me. When I brought this idea up, you both showered me with endless love, support and advice.
Thank you, AC & Dana Kantara for being amazing mentors throughout the years and one of my biggest support systems.
Collin, thank you for forever pushing me, getting supplies, running deliveries, and helping me tackle everything that was thrown my way.
Christine Vuu, my fellow boss babe! Thank you for always promoting me, and making my gear. You’re a busy woman, and I appreciate your friendship and how amazing your designs and shirts are! (I will be getting more stuff by the way haha).
My close friends and family who never asked to be my taste testers, but gladly did so anyways. I fully appreciate the brutally honest advice that was given and it has elevated the business to where it is today.
Last but not least, to everyone who has supported me, ordered desserts, given me valuable feedback/advice. You are the backbone to who Guilty Pleasures is and I cannot thank you enough for allowing us to be a part of your table.