Gabrielle Little grew up baking rum cakes with her grandmother. But as an adult, she realized she never saw rum cakes at the grocery or at her local bakery. So she launched her own — The ScRUMptious Dessert, your one-stop shop for gourmet rum cakes.
“I didn’t know I wanted to be a baker when I was kid,” she said. “I’ve always baked things, that’s what the gifts were for Christmas.”
It was her grandmother who suggested she go to school for baking and pastry.
“It sounded like clown college,” Gabrielle recalls with a laugh. “I did not know that was a thing.”
She did know that she always wanted to make her own money.
“I knew I always wanted to create my own time, but I didn’t know what that looked like,” she said. “I would make my own money by selling candy in high school, I cut grass, I did things around the house, anything. As I got older, it turned into trying to figure out what a business would look like. I want our lives to be ours and not someone else’s.”
The first step was letting go and what she imagined a bakery business had to be.
“I had to accept that, I don’t mind making a gorgeous decorated cake, but I don’t have the mental to sit there. The tediousness of it was not me,” she said. “But creating a new rum cake flavor? It was awesome! I can do this all day long! And then people were requesting flavors, so now I had the opportunity to change.”
“That’s why I love it,” she added. “It allows me to just be bubbly and be happy and spread the light when there is so much darkness in the world right now.”
DON’T QUIT YOUR DAY JOB
The biggest surprise for Gabrielle after she launched her business was realizing how much work goes into the back end.
“You can wake up one day and decide you want to start a business, but the desire to stay focused — you have to have a certain drive,” she said. “The part that no one speaks on is the business part on the end, all the paperwork, all the computer work, all the things that make being an entrepreneur or a boss or a CEO not fun.”
But there are things you can do to make putting in that grunt work easier, she said.
First — don’t quit your day job right away.
“One of the things I wish I would have done: pay more attention to the numbers in the beginning,” Gabrielle shared. “I said, well, we have the space, we have these things, let’s just start. The reality is, when you’re starting something from the ground up, it has nothing. It’s a small child. It comes out with nothing.”
Use a day job, or a part-time gig, to supplement income while your business grows, she said. And take on a few small markets to jump start sales.
Her second piece of advice: give yourself grace.
“Every day is not a good day,” she said. “Every day is not the best business day, but be confident enough to go forward.”
UNOFFICIALLY HIRE YOUR FAMILY
Third, build a team. By which she really means, unofficially hire your family.
“People say build a team, and they think of payroll, but build a team of people you can call and say, I need help at this event, or I need help baking today, and I can’t pay you to do that, but they will show up because they believe in you and believe in your vision,” she said.
Gabrielle describes her younger self as a troubled kid.
“I barely graduated high school,” she recalled. “When I talk to my family about it, we’re still in shock that I graduated on time, that I made it out.”
Today, that family is often her team.
“I’m a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend. My team consists of my husband, my kids, my parents, most of my family,” she said. “I had a cousin who I called, I said, the business is growing, and I need help cleaning a whole room in the main level, can you come up? She drove up from Alabama to help us clean.”
And finally, tap into local resources.
“If you have the time, plug into as many free resources as you can. I know for the first year, I signed up for everything. People said, I just saw you — you did. You sure did. So the best way to figure out if it’s something you want to do is to keep doing it, or at least keep showing up. It feels hard, and it is hard, and life is heavy, but you’re going to be okay, and you’ve got this. Just keep moving forward.”
I’m Gabrielle Little, and I’m an entrepreneur.
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