Senior turns baking hobby into cookie business
Divy Bose | Staff Writer
Cookie recipes usually do not call for 50-pound bags of flour.
But when you have to bake cookies for weddings, baby showers, and graduations, 50 pounds is just a start.
Mason High School senior Abby Renners started baking cookies at a local bakery. When she discovered baking, she knew she was onto something.
“It was like the best of both worlds,” Renners said. “Getting to work with pastries and learning how they are made while earning money. But after some time I decided to take it to the next level and start something new.”
Renners is now her own boss. She was able to use the skills she learned from her bakery job to launch her own company Abby_Grace_Bakes which took off last year during the Super Bowl when her Bengals cookies went viral on Facebook.
“I distinctly remember not expecting any response at all,” Renners said. “Those cookies weren’t even for sale and people were already asking for orders of them and how much I charge.”
As the demand for her cookies increased, Renners found her days consumed with managing her own business and pleasing customers. Renners said she often finds herself booked solid with months of cookie orders.
“I receive text messages every five to six minutes at night and stay up super late to make every customer happy,” Renners said. “In my eyes, all my customers are first and foremost, so carving out time to manage the overflowing orders I receive is necessary.”
Renners is constantly looking for ways to improve and refine her skills. She even compares her craft to that of an athlete who has to constantly practice in order to perform at a high level.
“It was a lot of trial and error,” Renners said. “I would practice over and over again to refine my cookies to get better at decorating, just like [an athlete] would in any sport.”
Baking two hundred cookies a week and hand-piping each design from home requires an extensive stock of supplies. Renners said that she has to purchase pounds of each ingredient to keep up with her numerous orders.
“I [have to] order from restaurant stores that are stocked with bigger packages of items such as flour to reduce the cost by buying in bulk,” Renners said. “My ingredients go from my pantry all the way to my dining room since it really is better to have more than less [in a business].”
As her business expands, Renners is continuously learning how to make other pastries and more elaborate baked goods to expand her menu options.
“As a baker, being well-rounded in the kitchen is important,” Renners said. “But once I add more options, there is more room for error and [less profit] because I need more ingredients.”
Seeing her hobby turned into a thriving business has opened Renner’s eyes to the inner workings of a small business. Her experience in the kitchen has taught her more than just culinary skills and now has her thinking about a career in business.
“Learning how to rely solely on myself has taught me a lot about how important independence is,” Renners said. “I hope to apply the essential skills I learned as a businesswoman to my future career.”
Photos by Divy Bose and contributed by Abby Renners