We had the good fortune of connecting with Cara Bell-Alex and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cara, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Having my own business has always been a passion of mine. Being able to work on my own and on my own terms has always peaked my interest. Not having to punch a clock at a specific time of day I have found to be very rewarding. But one of my main reasons for starting my business was to be able to spend quality time with my family. Being able to work for myself, has allowed me the opportunity to be attentive to mine and my families needs. Having my own business has given me FREEDOM!
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Being the owner of Sashay’s Goodies has been very rewarding. I am very proud that my baking business has been able to bring joy to people who have ordered baked goods for special occasions or just for their own enjoyment. It really makes me feel good and brings joy to my heart whenever I have someone ask me to bake a specific item for them because it brings back memories of loved ones that may have passed. I remember one time when I made a Caramel cake and I gave my mom a slice, she smiled and said, “my mother use to make Caramel cakes all the time.” A few days later, she handed me my grandmother’s Caramel cake recipe which I cherish till this day. Business-wise, I’m where I’m at today because of my determination to always better myself and to always push my business to the next level. It wasn’t easy getting to this point. Working as a prep cook, line cook, personal chef and caterer took a lot of time and energy. But most importantly, it took me away from spending quality time with my family. And family is everything to me! I had to make some hard decisions and sacrifices to get to where I am today. Because of those decisions, I have become a better and stronger person and I’m grateful for all the opportunities that I have been given to showcase my talents. There are still some challenges getting my business to the next level but I am determined to keep pushing forward to make sure I overcome those challenges. Five lessons that I have learned along the way from running a business is: 1. TO NEVER GIVE UP! 2. STAY FOCUSED AND TRUE TO YOURSELF AND YOUR BUSINESS! 3. DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP! 4. NEVER TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER! 5. ALWAYS HAVE FUN DOING WHAT YOU LOVE TO DO! What I want the world to know about me is, I’m an African American woman from South Central Los Angeles. I have a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Child Development with a minor in Childcare Administration and a Le Cordon Bleu Degree in Culinary Arts. I am the proud owner of Sashay’s Goodies. I’m happily married with a beautiful daughter. I’m a Virgo, yet an introvert. I have a beautiful backyard garden and AUTUMN IS MY FAVORITE SEASON!!!!!!!!!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My best friend and I both love to eat and drink so I would definitely take her to the San Antonio Winery for lunch or dinner and wine tasting (of course several bottles would have to be purchased, lol). A few of my spots that I like to eat at are actually out of the city and two places I would take her to eat are “Pho Thanh” in Westminster and we would take a road trip down to San Diego to “The Strip Club” (get your mind out the gutter, it’s not an actual strip club, lol. It’s a steakhouse). We would definitely go on a Melting Pot Food Tour. I’ve been on several and I know she would enjoy the experience and the history the tour has to offer. My best friend is a nature lover, so I would take her to Rancho Los Alamitos Historic Ranch and Gardens where she would learn the history of the ranch dating back more than 1500 years. Being a homebody like myself, we would wind down our time together hanging out at home by the fire pit, catching up on life, eating and drinking our bottles of wine :).
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?
There are several people who I would like to give shoutouts too. First and foremost is my mom, Deborah Bell. After the passing of my father in 1980 when I was 3 years old, she managed to raise my brother and I as a single black mother. She made sure we had everything that we needed. And she is still till this day, making sure my brother and I have what we need (even though we don’t need anything, lol). To my husband Marc and our daughter Lauren, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for always being in my corner, for always tasting everything that I bake and for always cheering me on and being my #1 cheerleaders. I love y’all to the moon and back! To Tamica B. and the Grant Family (Derek, Edith, Sophia, Hannah and Momma Judy), thank you all for your love and support throughout the years. Thank you for being my taste testers. To Lorraine E. thank you for over 30 years of friendship! Love you girl! To my girl S.U.S.I.E, Susie (Suzanne B.), thank you for over 20 years of friendship. But a BIG SPECIAL THANK YOU for nominating me to be apart of ShoutLA. I truly and greatly appreciate you!
All images were taken by me.