We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessica Garcia and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jessica, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
My work and life balance has definitely changed a lot since starting my own business. My business creating custom decorated sugar cookies has the advantage of being home-based but that also has its challenges. When I started I had a 2-year old that of course, like any child, needed her mother’s attention and in the beginning, it was easy to balance both home and work. My first priority is being a wife and mother The second is my business.
Then I became pregnant with my second child and fast-forward to now; having a 6 mo old, a 3.5 old, and a rapidly growing business. With a newborn and toddler, it can get a bit overwhelming in general but I to continue to grow and make my business a priority as well. I also have a very supportive husband and that helps a lot. Having him as a partner definitely makes balancing our home and work life easier.
I used to tell everyone I am a “part-time baker” but now that’s not true, as I put in about 30 to 40 hours a week working on orders, creating content for my page and website, as well as answering quotations, questions, and designing future projects.
I truly enjoy what I do. I love creating unique designs for my customers. I have always been creative in some way or another throughout my whole life and now that cookies have become my business, I’m finding that it is my “Me time.” Creating Basic Mom Bakes is my escape from being a mom, just for me, and makes me feel more like Jessica. I know a lot of parents can relate to this. I also love that my daughters get to watch this process. I want them to grow up knowing they can do anything they set their minds/hearts to.
I follow the philosophy that you make time for the things and people you love. I love my family and they will always take priority, but I also love my business that I continue to grow and learn from.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Becoming a cookie artist was not easy and has its challenges. Cookies don’t sound like they could be complicated but they take a lot of time to create and are a little art piece you can eat. Not only should it look pretty but it should taste great as well.
What I enjoy about being a cookie artist is when I receive orders that are out of my comfort zone or my customers give me creative freedom. My most favorite thing though, is when my customers tell me how much they love the designs of their orders and how delicious they are.
The reason I began making decorated sugar cookies was because I used to purchase them from a friend as party favors.
She moved out of state and I felt I was creative enough to try it out.
Well, easier said than done! There is a lot that goes into learning how to create different styles as simple or as complicated as a cookie can be. I was up for learning more and have enjoyed every minute of it.
I have spent many hours educating myself with different styles and techniques to make my cookies stand out. I continue to learn and want to attend as many in-person classes when they become available but for now I take online courses.
My business did not start with me thinking of this becoming something more than a hobby.
The biggest lessons I have learned along the way are knowing my worth as well as managing my time.
My time is valuable and my pricing has to reflect that as well. Some may think that what I make are “just cookies” but they are more than that. They have taken a lot of time, practice and I have invested a lot to continue to help my business grow.
Like many small business owners, I want people to know that there is a human with a dream behind my brand. I am not a large retail store, nor can I produce large quantities at low prices and quick turnaround time. Everything I make is a custom order to fit the needs and wants of my customers.
I am honestly so excited and happy when I receive an order, and even more happy seeing my customers faces and hearing how happy they are with their orders. I love what I do and dream to create even more in the future.
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.
Anytime I think of doing anything fun, I first think of places to eat. One spot that is definitely a must in my book is to go to The Griddle Cafe in Los Angeles for breakfast.
The best and most creative pancakes, as well as huge in the city!
Another great spot to eat at is in Chinatown that is widely popular is Yang Chow.
For fun I always enjoy a great Dodger Game at the stadium.
One spot I have NOT checked out but is on my list is The Broad Museum.
Since I grew up in Long Beach, we have a lot of great places to visit in our city as well. The Queen Mary for drinks at the Observation Lounge has always been my favorite. Shoreline Village has a lot of cute shops and restaurants and nearby you can take a quick boat ride to Catalina Island.
Heading down to the Marina in Long Beach I would also go Paddle boarding if the weather is nice or just enjoy the weather at Sunset Beach.
There are many great shops and eateries down second street in Long Beach and Fourth Street that also have a lot of character.
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?
My business would definitely not be where it is today without a few special people in my life. I have a very encouraging and supportive group of people which are my family, besties and of course, my parents. They have always been so supportive of my crazy ideas and with this becoming a serious business they are always there to help any way they can, whether it be from sharing my sales, purchasing custom orders or helping to watch my little ones.
I also have a very talented friend that is also a cookie artist. Her name is Ana from PVCookies and we met on instagram last year. She is a huge help when it comes to any troubleshooting, and has been so sweet and motivating to helping me become more confident in my work and seeing my worth. We have become good friends and we believe in community over competition. She is more of a mentor and I appreciate her friendship and wise words.
There is one special person who I want to dedicate this shoutout to and that is my amazing husband. He is the one person that sees the good, the bad, and the crazy. Everything that comes along with juggling my business and our home life would not be possible without his support and help.
We are a team when it comes to raising our girls as well as growing this business.
When I started making cookies “for fun” he is the one who encouraged me to start selling. He believes in my goals, has seen my growth in business, cheers me on, and wants me to succeed as well as enjoy what I do. I am definitely blessed to have him be so loving and supportive.
Sarah Irene Photography